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Remote support with augmented reality

03 September 2021

ABB ELECTRIFICATION'S Service business has announced the launch of pioneering solutions to provide interactive remote support using immersive extended reality.

With increasing demand for remote assistance and more interactive customer experiences, the global augmented reality (AR) market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 43.8% between 2021 and 2028. Adapting to today’s rapidly changing world, AR technology is at the heart of the latest global solutions – ‘CLOSER’ and ‘RAISE’ – from ABB Electrification’s Service offering.

CLOSER enables interactive troubleshooting using step-by-step guides, while RAISE facilitates remotely guided repairs or maintenance support for ABB solutions. Available as downloadable applications from Google and Apple stores, both platforms use augmented reality and overlay the instructions on real equipment to expertly assist customers quickly and efficiently.

Stuart Thompson, head of service for ABB’s Electrification Business Area said: “By giving customers access to the latest immersive technology, we can connect ABB experts to customer issues, wherever they are in the world, re-shaping the way we interact with them and enabling self-learning through first-rate support. While the demand for remote assistance has been compounded by COVID-19, the significant benefits of these digital new solutions are compelling beyond the pandemic.”

ABB has already supported customers in more than 20 countries using this technology. CLOSER and RAISE simplify maintenance, reduce downtime, and increase equipment effectiveness by improving the quality of repairs and speed of resolution. RAISE will cut the time – typically between 24 to 72 hours – and cost involved in visiting a site. For business-critical installations such as data centers, replacing physical support could equate to $8 to $24 million in the case of support for an issue which led to an outage. Using RAISE will also save approximately 332 tons of CO2 emissions per year by reducing up to a third of customer site visits by field service engineers.

An industry-first, CLOSER (Collaborative Operations for electrical systems) provides first level support via operational and troubleshooting guides for ABB’s Electrification solutions and products. CLOSER can be accessed by customers 24/7, providing fast, easily accessible and interactive guidance through the different steps of key troubleshooting procedures.

If further assistance is needed, or in the case of replacing critical components, the customer can connect directly with an ABB technical expert through RAISE (Remote Assistance for electrical systems). A new live video sharing service solution, RAISE reduces time to repair and maintain electrical equipment by allowing ABB experts to use extended reality to remotely guide field operators on their Android or iOS smartphone, tablet, or via smart glasses and other supported wearables.

This speed of resolution is vital in minimizing potentially highly disruptive and costly downtime, especially when critical systems such as data centers or hospital power systems shut down.

In addition to using live on-screen annotations and digital overlays in the engineer’s field of vision, RAISE also allows taking pictures, as well as audio and video sharing capability and guidance via live text chat. During a remote support session, the customer interacts with an ABB expert who provides remote guidance easily and with accuracy – whether it’s repairs and troubleshooting, maintenance support, technical information on equipment operation, spare part identification, monitoring and diagnostic KPI analysis or installation and commissioning support.

David Barragan from SAICA, a European leader in the development and production of recycled paper for corrugated cardboard, commented: “We contacted ABB when an Emax breaker was tripping at our site in Zaragoza. Using RAISE, we resolved the issue safely and eliminated travel time by removing the need for a site visit. The speed, agility and functionality of this innovative technology is really impressive.”