Training has always been mission-critical for companies of all types, and especially those that develop physical systems – from irrigation solutions to jet engines, and everything in between. The reason? Product development, sales and marketing are crucial, of course – but companies rise (and fall) based on how their products are used in the real world. Training puts human hands on the product, determines how (or sometimes even if) it will be used, and lays the groundwork (or not) for follow-on orders.
Like so many aspects of life and business, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted training, too. It has accelerated changes already well underway, yet also led us to rethink some very fundamental and long-held principles. In this post, we’ll take a quick look at where training was, where it is, and where it’s going.
The Good Old Days – Frontal Training
In the good old days (meaning 2019), training on physical systems was largely conducted face-to-face. Cadres of technical specialists crisscrossed the globe, conducting live training sessions on actual physical products, which were shipped over, too.
This system had tremendous advantages – the most notable being the personal touch it enabled. Trainers were the face of the company – mingling, networking and (ideally) laying the groundwork for future deals.
But there was one massive and overriding disadvantage to face-to-face training, even before the pandemic: its price tag. The costs for airfare, lodging and food – for both trainers and trainees – was staggering. How high? In the US alone, total training expenditures were almost $83 billion in 2020. That said, these costs – once considered just another “cost of doing business” – were already being reevaluated before the pandemic hit – especially among larger companies.
Then, COVID-19 came along.
Today – Training via Video Conferencing Platforms
Even though global travel ground to halt last year, production and work did not. More than ever, employees, distributors, and customers needed to get up to speed on new physical systems, or refresh and deepen their knowledge on existing ones.
With no possibility of frontal in-classroom training, many companies turned to training via well-known video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts. These platforms had the primary advantage of low cost – just a fraction of in-person training. Using them, companies could bring together groups of geographically remote trainees quickly and efficiently, and with reasonable communication quality.
The primary problem remains that training via video conferencing platforms is just not very effective – especially for hardware products or complex machines. The options for collaboration and hands-on trial-and-error – some of the most crucial aspects of training – are simply nonexistent via traditional video platforms.
Luckily, long before anyone had heard of the Coronavirus, another option was developed…
Today & Tomorrow – 3D Virtual Training Platform and Digital Twinning
Even before the pandemic, companies were seeking viable remote training solutions for physical systems as a way to raise productivity while lowering training expenses.
Advanced systems (like frontline.io) were already on the radar of many large-scale producers, owing to their unique market advantages. frontline.io is an all-in-one platform that increases training and service performance while greatly reducing costs. By linking 3D models with interactive procedures and tutorials, frontline.io seamlessly joins teams across operating systems and devices including PCs, mobile devices and AR and VR headsets.
A key advantage of a system like frontline.io is that it feels familiar. It acts like an old-world video conferencing tool – but offers infinitely more powerful capabilities. Built specifically to facilitate remote manipulation of 3D models and digital twins, frontline.io is totally interactive – enabling trainees to “play” with models, take them apart, put them together and share their experiences with the instructor and the class. Moreover, digital twin modelling enables Frontline.io to present layers which are not visible via any other method (including face-to-face) – for example, examining the inside of a working engine.
The Bottom Line
If effective remote training was becoming important before the pandemic, today it is clearly mission-critical. Even with travel coming back online, companies are still rethinking their training strategies and tools – with the aim of maintaining absolute training efficacy while eliminating the need for travel. To meet the training challenges of today and tomorrow – systems like frontline.io are the right choice.
Don’t just take our word for it – book a demo or request a free trial of frontline.io today!