Why I want Google Glass for my maintenance team
What follows is a fictional letter, written in June of 2016 – 3 years in the future. I am asking my boss to acquire Google Glass for the maintenance team. If you would like to add to the list of reasons why Google Glass is an ideal solution for maintenance technicians you can tweet us using the links below.
To the CEO, an open letter
I have been at this company as a maintenance technician for many years, and have been recently promoted to maintenance supervisor. I love the progressive culture of this company and our willingness to improve our maintenance techniques. I love your attitude to the value brought about by the maintenance team. I am disappointed, however, that the maintenance department has not yet adopted Google Glass. I am writing this letter to try and speed the adoption of this amazing technology.
In case you are not aware, Google Glass is a piece of wearable electronics. It integrates a camera, heads up display, touch pad, speaker and microphone into a pair of safety glasses. The maintenance guys will love them. They weigh little more than a regular pair of safety glasses, but with their additional functionality they will contribute greatly to the success of our company through improved maintenance outcomes. They will combine with our existing QR code infrastructure to achieve an unbelievable improvement in maintenance practice.
I want to give you a list of all the things I know they can do to help us do our work and to help us record our work for the benefit of the engineers and accountants. Every point adds value to the maintenance task by speeding it up, improving its effectiveness, or improving the communication channels available to the maintenance staff. I am hoping, by making this an open letter, that others will tweet me @jeffreydutschke and add to this list of exciting possibilities.
Before a maintenance job – With Google Glass the plant will be seen with a different perspective
- When an asset needs maintenance we can rapidly scan its QR code with our Glass to report its fault. The built-in camera can be used to record an image or video of the problem. The voice to text function is used to add text to the request. All of this is hands free. With this easy and quick method, problems will now get reported to your planners by everyone.
- The heads up display on the Glass can be used to see and view new work orders, live as they arrive via our CMMS. We can finally push towards a paperless department.
- All Job Safety Analysis (JSA) can be done quickly at the site of the machine and photographs can be added quickly. The JSA can then be forwarded to the supervisors for immediate digital sign-off.
- The camera can be used to help diagnose faults. For example, a high speed process can be videoed and played back in slow motion.
- New employees can use the built in map of the plant to help them navigate to the machine they will work on.
- Perhaps most importantly, we can use the functionality in the glasses to digitally sign into a machine and make it inoperative while it is being worked on. Safety has to remain a key value of the maintenance department.
Quickly access useful documentation – hands free, as we look at our work
- Using Google Glass we can scan the QR codes on the assets and be linked directly to the asset’s page. From there its entire work history is available including previous maintenance and completion notes. This will be incredibly valuable for diagnosing faults.
- Often we need to look at the maintenance manual as we work. Sometimes, when you are upside down, underneath a machine, looking at a maintenance manual is not practical. Unless, of course, the manual is on the heads up display of Google Glass.
- Furthermore, some maintenance manuals are now in video form. With Google Glass we can watch the video at the same time we do the work.
- We have lots of machines with complex cable and pipe paths and wiring patterns. Diagnosing and fixing faults will be so much easier if the diagram was right there in our field of vision as we worked. Google Glass gives us this possibility.
- Google Glass has been working hard to provide enhanced vision. It will not be long before the Glass can provide us with additional information about what we are looking at. Faults, part names, and re-order codes will be there ready for us, right as we need it.
- I would really love to help out our apprentices by filming a video, from my perspective, as I fix a machine. They can then watch it, replay it, and learn from it. We can do that with Google Glass
Communicate with others – While we work
- With Google Glass we can make calls, video and voice, without lifting our hands. This will be incredibly valuable and time saving as we talk to each other for help at our own jobs.
- Why stop with simple phone calls? The Google Hangout means multiple people can meet simultaneously. Our next emergency meeting with maintenance and production management, technicians and operators will happen quickly – they can all join the hangout, regardless of which room they are in.
- The big equipment suppliers now have help desks with technical support via video link. We’ll be able to call them and show them our perspective, and get their expert opinion, immediately.
- I can imagine that we will be able to set up a system where we will scan the part that needs replacing, quickly send the order to the warehouse and they can deliver it to us at the job site straight away. Think of the power and speed of an Amazon.com order, as we work, from our own warehouse.
- With our multicultural maintenance team, many would love to be able to translate work instructions from our language into their native language using some of the translation software that is available.
Record and document our work – The engineers and accountants will love the new analysis they can perform
- We can scan the code of any tools or consumables we use. The accountants will love that they are automatically recorded and priced.
- We can scan the barcode of any new part we install. The engineers will have full access to the location of any individual part in the entire plant. And, when we take photographs of the installation, they can verify that the part was installed correctly. At the same time, the barcode can confirm that the part we are using is the right one for the job.
- We can photograph and upload data from diagnostic equipment directly to the CMMS. The engineers will love the rapid updates that will be available to them.
- Using Bluetooth and other communication standards the data from machines and diagnostic equipment can be viewed on our Google Glass and record in our CMMS.
- And finally, while we still have greasy hands, we can input our completion notes using voice to text conversion. Hands free and grease free.
The maintenance software we use, Maintenance Assistant, has been developing their CMMS to integrate with Google Glass since July of 2013. It is now a mature technology. The time is now right to adopt this technology and integrate it into our normal operating procedures.
I hope you will strongly consider this list of benefits of Google Glass. The roll out will be easy, and the benefits huge.
All Google Glass UI Mockups were created using: