The issue with keeping track of relevant information in the digital age
Many industrial companies have spent the last 5-10 years trying to become more digital. They were (or still are) chasing Digital Twins on their journey, and thus created and gathered an increasing number of data and information about their processes and products. As I argued in my post on Digital Twins, data and information are key to becoming more efficient and sustainable, but it turns out that this chase for data and information is a two-sided sword. While data will facilitate any process and product management, the challenge is to have the right quality and quantity of data, and to make it available to the right group of people. In the end, information is worthless, if it's not available.
Information management can lead to frustrating moments, and we are addressing two of them:
the frustration of knowing that a piece of information is available but you are unable to find it, and
the exhausting feeling of being overwhelmed with too much information at the same time, as described in the cartoon below:
3DVisualizr addresses these two issues by providing a visualization technology that allows our customers to utilize context as the main criterion for organizing information, and introduces a capable 3D engine to manage data and information from different management systems at the same time and with different aggregation levels.
Context makes the difference
3DVisualizr provides a powerful 3D engine to render any kind of industrial representation in 3D. In doing so, our engine releases the user's subconscious task of imagining the environment in which the respective piece of information needs to be placed. Thus, by providing the information's context, 3DVisualizr facilitates the interpretation of data and information. This is also the reason why so many people naturally prefer a 3D view over a 2D view: the 3D view releases their brain from doing the "rendering" work.
3DVisualizr utilizes the context of the 3D views to organize data and information around its respective origin. Our standard approach to populate data into a scene is our engine's data label feature:
capable to show both numeric and text information supported by a range of visualization widgets
can carry status information with color-coding and a supporting icon
supports various behaviors (e.g. always full, Title only, collapsed...)
This makes our data labels a powerful and flexible vehicle to manage both high-level information (show status only) while maintaining the possibility to drill-down and navigate to the respective management dashboard with all the details.
The more data sources are visualized through our engine the more powerful an information management tool it becomes. As presented in our reference case our customers typically introduce the 3D view as the main visualization to receive relevant information from the shop floor. Data filters will ensure that your users will only see the information that is relevant to them. Again, while the visible data changes, the context stays the same and makes the interpretation for the user easier.
Example of a simple yet informative visualization
Let's have a look at the demo screenshot. You will notice three things:
Even though you are not familiar with this facility, it's easy to tell from the 3D information that we are monitoring a discrete assembly
From an aggregated view, Assembly Station 2 seems to be in good health, so probably no deep-dive into the details is needed
On the other hand, it is apparent that the Pre Assembly station requires our attention
This information is conveyed simply by combining context and established visualization elements (such as color coding and visual widgets).
And the same effect will be achieved when switching to the warehouse status view:
As you can see, we are able retain the same look & feel throughout the different management roles. The same holds true even if the underlying software stack changes, e.g. if you want to create monitoring views for production sites with different IoT backends.
We aim at saving time to find and interpret information on our customers' end. Our customers build an information hub with our tools, that serves as the go-to user interface to receive information from the shop floor. Thus, 3DVisualizr relieves them from searching for information, and helps them save time for interpreting the information, as we also provide the information's context.
3DVisualizr clearly started as a tool that supports the management in staying on top of information coming from the shop floor. As mentioned earlier, we have the capability to offer different management views at the same time. The more data is fed to the engine, the more powerful an information management tool it becomes.
This ensures that managers will have both an aggregated view of the current shop floor, while maintaining the possibility to drill down into detailed views in order to tackle certain issues in the production system.