EDF Energy challenged Make Real to create a VR awareness experience around the installation of smart meters

Overview

EDF Energy set themselves a target to install 2M smart meters in customers’ home in 2018. Whilst they can train installation engineers the practical steps to carry out a standard meter replacement, they wanted to ensure that the environmental and risk assessment awareness was effectively covered as part of the process.

We set about our standard design process, which involves our senior designer attending the current, real-world training programme to become a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and gain a better understanding of how the training is delivered and the expected end-user profile. This allows us to create more meaningful and impactful immersive training experiences that meet the learning and business objectives.

Challenges

The main objective of the training experience is to raise awareness and highlight the surrounding potential risks and hazards of entering customer’s houses and how best to carry out the meter replacement, using the rugged tablet software to track and update progress accordingly.

This is something that’s difficult to achieve using traditional training methods since learners are not placed in a realistic, real-world environment until they have the theoretical training completed.

Following on from our earlier integrations of virtual tablet devices and learner on-the-job toolkits, the Click Mobile VR application required the full real-world software running as a simulation within the experience. This is a complex multi-faceted piece of software with lots of information conveyed and dialogue boxes to interact with. By creating a virtual stylus and laser pointer tied to the virtual touchscreen, learners were then easily able to select and interact much more efficiently. Similarly, building upon the earlier virtual toolkits, the radial menu provides a simple and straightforward interaction and selection mechanism.

Impact

So far the application has been rolled out across EDF Energy in small-scale testbeds and for upper-management internal reviews mostly, prior to the large-scale rollout across the SmartMeter installation engineer training planned for 2019.

One unexpected use case and overwhelmingly positive impact of the application has been within the Customer Support Agents teams, raising awareness among the telephone support team of the field engineer roles and responsibilities, bringing the two departments closer in the understanding of risks, hazards and tasks related to the installation requirements.

Furthermore, interactive video versions are being created to be hosted on the EDF Energy MyCampus learning management system for widespread training.

Initial feedback from the client has been positive, however, the VR application is currently undergoing embedding and internal testing. More feedback and impact results will be provided here in the near future.

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