ExxonMobil uses new technology to better train workers to handle the real world

Workforce |  2 min. read

(Simulation from ExxonMobil.)

An Oculus VR headset — that’s a cool toy.  It might even be on your Christmas list this year.

At ExxonMobil’s Digital Garage — Virtual Reality headsets are also pretty cool.  But they’re cool tools, not toys.

And what is ExxonMobil doing with virtual reality?  Prepping its workers to handle real reality.

Instead of learning their jobs by reading a manual, refinery workers learn their jobs by doing them, virtually.  And because this “on-the-job” training is virtual, new operators can practice over and over and over again — on the exact procedures and problems they’ll run up against in the refinery — until they’ve got it down cold.  Which is cool.

Cool also if you’re on the team working in the Digital Garage.  Kyle Daughtry is one of them, an Immersive Technology Studios System Architect (don’t try saying that five times fast):

“This tech is always changing.  Every day there is a new device, new headset…we’re in a growing industry, that is there to learn and help each other.”

So an industry that’s been turning oil and natural gas into fuels and raw materials since before any of us were born — turns out to be an industry that’s also using the high tech tools and techniques that are just being born.  That’s cool too.

VR headsets aren’t the only “toy” in the toolbox either.  Also at work — AR (Augmented Reality, projecting another layer onto what’s actually present), wearable tech (think Google Glass), Intent of Things (aka IOT) sensors, even smart hard hats.

And when you bring all that tech out to the workers in the field?  Eric Johnson, the AR guy at the Digital Garage, says…“I call it the wow moment.  When I can put something on someone they’ve never seen before, never experienced, and they just say ‘wow’.”

So maybe those cool tools DO still have a little cool toy in them.


Up Next

Yarelis Hernandez is a chemical engineer at one of the world’s largest refining companies

Her dad used to say "engineers don't know anything." Find out how she became one.