Many industries, including the Energy Industry, are leveraging virtual world based technologies to enhance training and situational understanding. The phrase "a picture is worth 1000 words" is implicitly understood because "seeing" helps crystallize concepts making more transparent the ambiguity of the spoken word.

Virtual Worlds are 3-D immersive environments, which allow workers to perform tasks and collaborate within a virtual representation of their normal work environment. Virtual world technologies represent a step forward in understanding work process complexities within a collaborative environment providing workers with the ability to be active participants, through their avatars, within a virtual representation of the world in which they work.

Achieving operational excellence requires a broad, holistic view of all operational aspects. Current state-of-the-art methodology calls for assembling various data feeds into complex dashboards, which may not bring clarity to operational situations. And, dashboards do little to help one understand the implications associated with various work processes behind the data feeds. While dashboards are a step in the right direction and are certainly better than having to find the information in different isolated systems they still fall short in providing operational awareness for complex multifaceted work processes. This is especially true in our facilities, which are large complex environments. New facilities and major capital projects present their own opportunities. Our challenges are further complicated by our multinational workforce, which does not have a single common first language. Work done at Harvard University has found that virtual world technologies offer advantages in these circumstances for learning.

Operational excellence is brought about by operational awareness. Operational awareness is brought about by seeing and interacting with the data within its proper context. This paper will present how virtual reality based technologies can reduce ambiguity and enable contextual operational awareness which helps achieve operational excellence, illustrating that seeing and doing within the work process context increases understanding. The digital oilfield and digital plant can be intelligently exposed with virtual reality technologies.

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