Transfr VR brings virtual reality to manufacturing plants
In an announcement made by Transfr VR, the company reports a successful series A funding round of US$12mn, that will drive its efforts to bring virtual reality (VR) to the ground operations in manufacturing plants.
With COVID-19 displacing millions of workers in the manufacturing industry, Transfer VR details that companies need to focus on re-skilling their workforce in a measured and sustainable way. Bharani Rajakumar, the founder of Transfr VR, believes that the displacement of workers is the perfect use case for VR technology. The company leverages VR to create simulations of manufacturing plant shop floors and/or warehouses for training purposes. The solution gives workers a safe way to effectively learn a trade, as well as allow companies to mass up-skill its employees.
Starting as a mentor-based VR training program, Transfr VR sold courses relating to a variety of topics ranging from bartending to surgery skills. The shift to displaced worker training was said to come from the realisation that companies had the most to gain from higher skilled workers.
Since the pandemic, VR has gained a better reputation, however it is yet to be massively adopted in the edtech industry. However, Rajakumar believes that the technology will be revolutionary for the industry.
“I can't believe that gaming and pornography are the two big industries for this technology. I don't think anybody understands what this is gonna be for teaching and learning,” commented Rajakumar.
However, one of the core challenges for the technology is the production costs,
Michael Jensen, Labster CEO and co-founder, notes that “it's simply too expensive to build a stable, well-polished VR application still today, and all players, us included, need to think about reusability, testability and scalability to be able to truly succeed.”
Following its successful series A funding round of US$12mn the company will primarily use the money to grow its catalog of VR simulations.
“Before COVID, people would say we’re such good Samaritans for working on workforce development. In a post-COVID world, people say that we’re essential,” added Rajakumar.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.