Manufacturer Overcomes COVID Disruptions with Augmented Reality

Business Situation

COVID-19 completely disrupted how Systems Control differentiated their business. Their single biggest selling tool is having customers onsite for a Factory Tour or a Factory Acceptance Test to ensure their panels and buildings are being built to their specifications.

“Not having customers onsite limited our ability to differentiate from our competition. If you can’t see the environment where your buildings and panels are being produced, you may think we’re all the same,” said David Chiesa, Vice President of Business Development at Systems Control.

Systems Control invests a lot in their factory, and it instills confidence in their customers. But with COVID curtailing travel, they needed a remote solution that replicated their onsite tours and tests – or they risked having projects paused or canceled.

"This has been an unmitigated success. Being able to get customers back in the factory (virtually) with the HoloLens 2 has made an incredible difference. Core’s HoloLens solution has become a key differentiator for us to increase customer loyalty and nurture relationship with clients – even at a distance"

Brad Lebouef | CEO Systems Control

Our Solution

Since they had to replicate the in-person experience – including support, troubleshooting, and system checkout – we deployed an augmented reality (AR) expert to create a solution using Microsoft’s HoloLens 2. It was an ideal fit because it’s a hands-free and light head-mounted unit with hours-long battery life.

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Most importantly, its Dynamics 365 Remote Assist application lets Systems Control’s customers join a Microsoft Teams meeting from their device and experience everything the HoloLens wearer is experiencing. Since the HoloLens contains a built-in camera, speaker, and microphone, their customers can see what the wearer sees, talk with the wearer, and tell the wearer where to look and what to do.

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This lets Systems Control seamlessly collaborate with their customers like they were in the factory with them. Plus, it allows both parties to take screenshots to capture engineering changes for follow-up actions.

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The Results

Systems Control piloted the HoloLens solution with several customers, and they all enthusiastically embraced it. Now they believe it’ll become the standard for all tours and Factory Acceptance Tests.

“After every virtual tour, I ask our clients to rate their experience and they almost always give it 8 out of 10,” says Chiesa. “After one of our first virtual Factory Acceptance Tests, a customer said it ‘absolutely exceeded my expectations of what this could be. There’s little difference watching you do it in person vs via the HoloLens.’ Beyond being in person, this is the next best thing.”

On a recent Factory Acceptance Test he did with the HoloLens, Chiesa had 31 people on the call. He’s never had more than four people in-person from an out-of-state client because the costs would be prohibitive. Now, their customers can shave a 3-day trip down to 3 hours, and they can have more of their staff attend - adding far more depth and value than sending a fraction of their team onsite.

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Due to their success with the HoloLens, Systems Control also uses it to virtually walk customers through 3-D holograms of what they’re building so they can see it constructed before welding the first joint. “Customers are wowed by that,” says Chiesa.

As more and more companies embrace remote work, Systems Control expects their HoloLens solution to become the preferred method for Factory Acceptance Tests, tours, design meetings, and product reviews and testing.

System Control

Systems Control is a leading fabricator of electrical control panels and control buildings for the utility power and controls industry.

Technologies Used

HoloLens 2

Dynamics 365 Remote Assist

Microsot Teams

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