Ericsson - VR training offers efficiency, safety and sustainability

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A VR training programme enabled Ericsson to staff and open its new US smart factory to the target timeline and be operational from day one, without the need for new employees to travel to other locations for face-to-face training

Quick read

➨ Staff training for the new smart factory, which began production of 5G base stations in March, actually started a year earlier
➨ They trained in VR from a classroom in Dallas, with colleagues in Estonia guiding them through a pre-recorded 360° virtual tour of their production site
➨ The initial success of the approach saw virtual onboarding sessions for new employees at the US smart factory being held monthly

The story

Ericsson workers operating its new US smart factory in Lewisville, Texas, where the telecoms company is producing 5G base stations, were trained in VR by their colleagues in Estonia—some 8,000km away.

The multinational telecoms company revealed that staff training for the new smart factory, which began production of 5G base stations in March, actually started a year earlier.

The approach enabled Ericsson to staff and open the complex to the target timeline and be operational from day one, without the need for new US factory employees to travel to other locations for face-to-face training.

Anna Cau, head of people for group supply at Ericsson, said the telecoms company turned to VR because “the challenge lay in how to onboard new colleagues to a factory that had yet to open”.

“We have a 5G-enabled smart factory in Tallinn, Estonia, which has been operational for quite some time. We realised that the most efficient and productive onboarding of our colleagues in the new US facility could be done through virtual collaboration and knowledge sharing with our peers in Tallinn. It was time to put VR-enabled onboarding into action.”

They instead trained in VR from a classroom in Dallas, with colleagues in Estonia guiding them through a pre-recorded 360° virtual tour of their production site.

Ericsson said that the initial success of the approach saw virtual onboarding sessions for new employees at the US smart factory being held monthly.

To date, more than 60 professionals have been training in this way. Ericsson plans to develop the programme through 5G connectivity, and is already using VR at other smart factories.

“Immersive learning and knowledge sharing just ticks so many different boxes—efficiency, safety, sustainability,”

Anna Cau, Ericsson

“Immersive learning and knowledge sharing just ticks so many different boxes—efficiency, safety, sustainability,” Cau explained.

“We are proud of having staffed our 5G USA Factory with highly skilled professionals who were able to facilitate 5G product manufacturing from day one thanks to the innovative VR approach we took during their onboarding. Those professionals are now helping to meet the 5G needs of our customers in North America.”

Cau added: “We were able to provide our new employees with training for a physical environment that at the time didn’t even exist without having to get them on a plane and fly them long distances, all because of the power of connectivity and virtual reality.”

Image: The initial success of the approach saw virtual onboarding sessions for new employees at the Ericsson US smart factory being held monthly
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