As the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers momentum in mining, companies are faced with a myriad of digitisation and automation choices.

One technological standout is Accenture’s Extended Reality digital operational management system.

This article first appeared in Mining Elites in Africa 2021
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The Accenture Smart Operations System integrates best-of-breed technology with components of XR (Extended Reality), including augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality.

It’s an end-to-end overview of any mining company and all its units and mines that are widespread across remote locations, via an interactive 3D visualisation dashboard.

“A quality management tool that enables better understanding and management of an operation. Safety and cost improvements will follow.” – Jim Pooley

More importantly, it enables hands-on monitoring and management of the entire business’ network capability and operations from one central point, in close to real time, which in turn optimises business processes and ultimately results in a notable positive impact on the bottom line.

The four key business benefits that are realised through this intelligent platform are real-time monitoring, performance optimisation, a ‘smart workforce’ and immersive training.

Realtime monitoring includes instant notifications and detection of faulty network components that enable swift corrective action to decrease downtime.

“Accenture has embraced the new normal that COVID-19 demands of organisations, and they have done this through a technological innovation Extended Reality that allows operations (including faults) to be monitored remotely.” – Marcus Courage

Performance optimisation accelerates performance through humancentric product visualisations and demonstrations. This focuses on elements such as throughput uplift that increases tonnages, operational cost reductions, and time-to-value which improves productivity across the entire value chain.

The ‘smart workforce’ component of the system leverages elements of extended reality to empower the workforce to utilise innovative technologies to resolve day-to-day issues that are experienced on the ground, such as troubleshooting, fault location and maintenance.

In addition, it enables management to gain a clear view of the productivity of the workforce.

For example, augmented reality can support a technician when looking at any piece of equipment, through wearable headsets or mobile devices.

In addition, the system uses live video feeds which enables the IT expert to supervise and guide the onsite technician throughout the process, verify and check that it is installed correctly, and immediately close the job card upon completion.

The insights gained from the ‘smart workforce’ component are compounded through the fourth building block of the solution, namely immersive training, which enables knowledge capturing and sharing to reduce future errors and defects in processes.

Another benefit that is derived from this online training platform is that it reduces downtime and travel costs for staff to attend training at remote locations.

Right through from decreasing waste of time and resources to optimising business processes and maximising profits, Accenture’s XR system is poised to break new ground in the mining arena.