What is the potential for virtual reality (VR) when training people to work at height? How are the latest generation of simulated Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWPs), also known as AWPs, changing the way people learn to safely operate at height? Will VR ever take over from real-life practical training?
These and other questions were the hot topics under discussion in Upping the Game: The Evolution of Virtual Reality Technology in the Construction Industry, a webinar hosted by Engineering News-Record (ENR) in the US earlier this week.
Tim Whiteman, CEO & MD of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), joined Thomas Kramer, Principal of LBJ Inc and Russell Gschwind, Head of Training and Apprenticeships at Ironworkers International, to discuss the current capabilities and future potential of VR and simulators in assisting training for safe operations while working at height.
The Webinar was hosted by Aileen Cho, Senior Transportation Editor of ENR, and sponsored by construction technology solutions provider Procore, and attracted over 1,000 registered participants, ensuring a lively question and answer session once the main presentations had concluded.
Upping the Game: The Evolution of Virtual Reality Technology in the Construction Industry is now available on-demand for the next 12 months, and can be viewed by visiting the ENR webinars website or by clicking on this link.
Tim Whiteman comments: “The issue of VR and MEWP simulators has been really capturing people’s imagination lately, which is why IPAF has been conducting an industry-wide consultation on the issue since the beginning of this year.
“As part of that consultation, IPAF has taken a sophisticated MEWP simulator to shows from Miami to Malaysia over the past nine months or so, and everyone who has tried it has been seriously impressed by the capabilities – it really feels like you are moving the platform into the air, or traversing over rough terrain, depending on the scenario. Perceptions have been shifted and the simulator has proved a great way to engage people on the subject of training and safety instruction in the powered access industry.
“One of the main benefits of VR technology is that it allows trainees or experienced operators alike to rehearse specific scenarios or environments that it would not be safe to recreate in real life using MEWP equipment at height.
“It was very interesting to hear what my fellow webinar presenters had to say on the subject; there was certainly a lot of common ground between us and I think it was very useful to get some interesting new perspectives on where this technology is at and where it might go next.
“I urge anyone interested in how this technology may develop to take a look at the webinar while it is free to view online; also I urge people who have views to share on the topic to please take a look at the short online survey that IPAF is running as part of the ongoing global consultation, as this will close on September 30, after which IPAF will share findings and recommendations.”
To view the webinar Upping the Game: The Evolution of Virtual Reality Technology in the Construction Industry, please click here. To give your feedback to IPAF’s ongoing global consultation into VR and MEWP simulators, visit www.ipaf.org/VRconsultation before the end of September.