As the oil and gas industry undergoes a digital transformation, the massive volume and variety of information being ingested at increasing velocity necessitates new methods of data interaction for decision making. Additionally, effective management of safety risks and flawless operational execution in an evolving oil and gas industry requires innovative applications of digital technology. By superimposing contextually-relevant digital information on the physical world, augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR) technologies have tremendous potential to meet these challenges by providing a more intuitive way to interact with data, train personnel, and ensure process safety.

However, a major challenge with AR and MR technologies is the limited processing power and capability of available hardware. A cloud-based software platform has been developed to overcome computational limitations of AR and MR devices, enabling interaction with significantly more complex 3D content. Additionally, this enhanced AR/MR software platform enables real-time connectivity across different hardware architectures – such as smartphones and Microsoft HoloLens devices – creating powerful new capability for remote collaboration. This unique software platform transforms consumer-grade AR and MR devices into powerful industrial tools useful for a variety of oil and gas applications.

This study will illustrate the functionality enhancements provided by this software platform and how it greatly increases the application potential of AR and MR, including a case study on adoption of this enhanced AR/MR technology for process safety using threat response drill (TRD) scenarios. Enhanced AR and MR provides full-scale virtual TRD scenarios that enable practical demonstration of operational readiness and proactive risk management. Crew response capability and human performance can be collaboratively evaluated with gamified AR/MR techniques, allowing for multiple outcomes based on user inputs through multiple interaction modalities, enabled by the underlying software platform. Enhanced AR/MR enabled by this software platform can drive major improvements in process safety and ultimately help reduce CAPEX, increase efficiency, and mitigate risk across the oil and gas industry.

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