The Fourth Industrial Revolution, first described by World Economic Forum Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab in 2015, is gaining speed. The digitization and automation of industrial and manufacturing practices using smart technology, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and virtual and augmented reality is blurring the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds. While a lot of industrial work can never be done remotely, more and more of it can be over time. (As is the case with digital twins in manufacturing, remote training, or process management.)
RemSense, an industrial technology development company based in Perth, Australia, is building its business model on this foundation, specializing in platforms systems engineering and smart software solutions that improve productivity, efficiency, safety, and training processes from remote locations. Since 2019, it has been a Matterport Platform Partner that uses Matterport APIs, SDKs, and digital twin technology as the engine for its own proprietary platform for remote training, inspections, measurements, and hazard analysis in energy plants, mining operations, factories, and other large industrial enterprises. It has enjoyed more than 100 percent growth every year since its founding in 2018.
Partnering on 3D Visual, Spatial, and Asset Data
Matterport Pro2 cameras can create a digital twin by capturing a work site in 3D at 4K resolution and measure everything it scans with millimeter accuracy. Since early 2019, RemSense has used this technology as the backbone for its own platform called Virtual Plant, which is capable of reading asset numbers and cataloging and geotagging every piece of equipment at even the most complex work sites.
“We chose Matterport rather than developing something ourselves from scratch because it already does so much of what we need,” says Steve Brown, CEO and Managing Director of RemSense. “It's so easy to use, and the ability to write our own code using the APIs and SDKs Matterport provides enable us to turn it into something even more powerful.”
Remote Viewing Any Time from Anywhere
RemSense began creating its first Virtual Plant when a client, Woodside Energy in Western Australia, wanted to give all employees a way to easily access and understand Woodside’s facilities. The company has an offshore training school where new employees can learn how to run its energy platforms, but there are no beds at the facility, which made training logistically difficult.
To give Woodside Energy employees a way to remotely access facilities that would mimic the experience of visiting in real life, RemSense used Matterport Pro2 cameras to capture digital twins of the site, then used the Matterport APIs and SDKs to add sound and video. These assets are incorporated into the Virtual Plant, which provides a fully immersive and interactive virtual reality experience. Woodside trainees wearing VR headsets can walk through the environment, hear what everything sounds like, and understand how everything works.
From Asset Capture to Asset Recognition
RemSense created the first version of Virtual Plant for training, but the product can also be used for inspections, hazard analysis, inventory management, and other use cases. The digital twins render imagery in 4K resolution even when users zoom in. RemSense exports that imagery and data into its asset recognition software that can read and catalog the text strings and numbers on cable and machinery ID tags, providing clients and their contractors and service providers with the granular level of detail they need to manage processes remotely.
“We do the scanning ourselves,” says Brown, “then the client uses the system. We’re engineers, so we know what needs to be scanned in greater detail and what doesn’t.”
In one facility, RemSense identified 540,000 text strings with numbers or words, then automatically compared them to the client’s asset list for validation, then culled irrelevant text captured on signs, notebooks, nametags, and phones. Every piece of equipment verified as a true asset with existing client data was then geospatially tagged. From there, RemSense brought in maintenance data, asset data, operational information, and live IoT data. And it used Matterport as the spatial visual fabric to tie everything together into its first Virtual Plant.
Cataloging All Data in a Single, Three-Dimensional Space
Virtual Plant is now a mature product, and it’s delivered prepackaged to clients. Because it’s built on Matterport, users can navigate Virtual Plant in 3D, zoom in on even the tiniest details, extract precise measurements without visiting the site in person. They can now access training materials, installation and user manuals, and historical information that is often stored in disparate, siloed platforms. Before, inventory databases often included out-of-date information about which parts were installed where since maintenance workers didn’t always update the spreadsheets. Now, clients can simply access the Virtual Plant to get an up-to-date view of their inventories.
Using Matterport capabilities built into Virtual Plant, everyone can get what they need. Those who need a quick measurement can get it rather than traveling to the site with a tape measure, saving money and time."
"Using Matterport capabilities built into Virtual Plant, everyone can get what they need,” says Brown. “Those who need a quick measurement can get it rather than traveling to the site with a tape measure, saving money and time. A team in an office also has all the information to do a complete remote hazard analysis, and dispersed maintenance crews can see exactly what’s installed to ensure they’re ordering the right parts.”
And if an inspector uses a wearable camera, it can be linked live into Virtual Plant. An engineer in the head office can see the same thing the inspector sees as changes are made in Virtual Plant in real time. Teams can better explain and even show problems to management.
Virtual Plant started with a single use case for one client, but RemSense quickly understood that it had no reason to stop there. “We realized that the solution we came up with could be used for any customer—a water infrastructure company, a mine site, or a factory,” says Brown. We had every reason to commercialize this, and it would not have been possible without Matterport.”
RemSense is a Matterport Platform Partner that leverages Matterport APIs and SDKs to build and commercialize their apps and integrations with Matterport’s market-leading spatial data platform. As a Platform Partner, they gain access to a range of commercial benefits, such as Matterport’s distribution network and enhanced support as well as co-marketing and co-selling programs to help them successfully monetize their applications. To learn more about the Platform Partner Program and apply to join, visit https://matterport.com/platform-partner-program
RemSense is a technology development and systems engineering services provider based in Perth, Western Australia. It began as a pioneering commercial drone operator named Altitude Imaging in 2012 before expanding to include software platforms, fire suppression systems, and high-tech telemetry.
Matterport APIs, Matterport SDK