May 2, 2019 – King County in Washington, USA, has announced this week that it has earned a CIO100 award. The Annual CIO 100 Awards celebrates 100 organizations and the teams within them that are using IT and technology in innovative ways to deliver business value, whether through creating a competitive advantage, optimizing business processes, or enabling growth.
Following a system failure in 2017 at King County’s West Point Treatment Plant in Washington, USA, which landed the company a USD $361,000 fine and saw untreated wastewater flow into Puget Sound, King County Wastewater Treatment Division partnered with Microsoft and spatial computing solutions provider Taqtile to assist with employee training.
Taqtile has been providing the firm with its flagship ‘Manifest’ product, which uses Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset to train employees with hands-free mixed reality instructions. Experts are able to create tutorials that can be digitally overlaid on real-world physical equipment, allowing those wearing a HoloLens headset to access information whilst carrying out a range of tasks and learn by seeing in real-time any necessary steps required. The same information can also be displayed on a digital twin, which allows employees to train without needing direct access to physical equipment.
“Training plant operators through the use of mixed reality promises quicker, better and more economical results for the county, and better protection of our environment,” said Tanya Hannah, Chief Information Officer at King County.
Using Taqtile’s Manifest platform, King County captured knowledge from its most experienced employees, who helped author digital instructions for the facility’s equipment, creating learning materials in the form of videos, photographs and annotations. King County now also uses Manifest to instantly make maintenance operating procedure updates available to all.
King County plans to continue its use of augmented reality software, and outlines in its 2019-2020 business plan that it aims to launch a proof-of-concept for augmented reality using Microsoft HoloLens and Taqtile’s Manifest software in order to incorporate real-time review of IoT sensor data into its workflows. Furthermore, the county is also looking at increasing safety by implementing the ability to prevent its operators from moving forward to the next step in a standard operating procedure until meter readings are within acceptable levels. The county has outlined that having this maintenance capability more broadly available to additional staff is also a key safety feature related to emergency overflow situations that occur during significant storm events.
Commenting on the technology, John Klein, Manager of Strategic Technology Planning at King County said: “We’re just starting off in the wastewater area, but I think there’s a lot of ways to use augmented reality, and Manifest software, throughout King County”.
Video credit: Taqtile/Vimeo