Total deploys connected headsets using Microsoft Teams for remote collaboration
17 November 2020
Energy major Total is using a range of connected headsets that use Microsoft Teams for remote collaboration and troubleshooting at North America’s largest polypropylene site. The devices from RealWear, which are voice-enabled and clipped onto hardhats, have been deployed at Total’s La Porte Polypropylene plant in Texas.
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By using the connected headsets with Microsoft Teams, workers at the La Porte plant are able to use their hands for complex work procedures while remotely communicating in real time with subject matter experts wherever they are in the world.
Connecting the industrial headset to Total’s technical and engineering experts enables operators to diagnose operation or maintenance issues and provide solutions in real time. The use of this technology speeds up and improves technical assistance to a site such as La Porte, which produces pellets used to manufacture critical healthcare products such as masks and gowns. It also enhances teams’ responsiveness in a safe manner in case of an unplanned event.
“Connecting our field operators to Total’s experts and vendors, down the street or on the other side of the world, is particularly topical at a time when travelling is restricted,” says Eric Duchesne, Senior Vice President Manufacturing and Project Division, Total Refining and Chemicals. “But above all, the launch of Microsoft Teams on RealWear at Total’s La Porte site in Texas is another step in our industrial digital transformation. It makes Total’s operations safer and more efficient by executing better decisions faster. It also allows us to improve our operational excellence over the long run, and create the petrochemicals plant of tomorrow.”
Total’s La Porte plant is the largest single-site polypropylene plant in the North America and produces 2.7 billion pounds of polypropylene per year. In addition to masks and gowns, the pellets are used for food packaging, tapes, carpet yarns, absorbent products, caps and closures, geotextiles, small appliances, housewares, disposables, outdoor furniture and toys.
Outfitting Total’s field operators with ruggedised RealWear headsets has turned field operators into Connected Workers. The set-up is simple. Field operators put on the headset and make a Microsoft Teams call with just their voice. They can have multiple people on Teams at once to look at a problem from all different points of view, sharing screens, displays, data, and more.
The solution has been particularly helpful in recent weeks due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Experts are able to gain an insight into a particular issue without having to visit a site, a significant time and cost saver if the expert is in another country. Experts can also ask questions and receive answers in real-time as if they were on site themselves. This prevents a prolonged back and forth discussion over email and allows for an issue to be solved in a timely manner.
“With its high-resolution camera and noise cancellation, RealWear is able to put eyes on the job from anywhere in the world, saving travel costs while keeping everybody safely at a distance,” said Sanjay Jhawar, Co-founder and President, RealWear. "The ability for an expert to connect to the headset remotely, view the scene on live video, examine small details captured in still photos, and speak directly with the operator enables remote teams to assess the situation as it unfolds as though they were actually on the ground themselves.”
“Total’s rapid deployment of Microsoft Teams on RealWear demonstrates the unlimited possibilities of remote collaboration with RealWear and Microsoft during this 'new normal'," said Mayank Verma, Global Director Firstline Device Product Marketing, Microsoft 365. “The solution is fully integrated, and has quickly become a compelling solution for our joint customers – many of whom require uptime and productivity even when logistical challenges seem insurmountable. Now for the first time at Total, experts can quickly share screens with the firstline, and the firstline can snap photos and share issues with knowledge workers no matter where they are. It’s possible to bring an entire plant back online, by making a single hands-free call.”
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