3D Inspection Solutions

Transforming Front-Line Training in Manufacturing and Engineering for Industries of the Future

Despite the hype surrounding Industry 4.0, a global skills and labor shortage is hampering progress. This shortage has particularly impacted manufacturing, where an existing skills gap was exacerbated by the pandemic. According to Deloitte, U.S. manufacturing alone is expected to have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030. Further, a study by the Institution of Engineering Technology (IET) cites nearly half (49%) of engineering companies experience difficulties with a lack of skills available in the external labor market and 45% face skills gaps or limitations within their internal workforce. 

Luckily, advancements in generative AI, the industrial “metaverse” and other emerging technology are growing and evolving every day. Many of their applications have the potential to help alleviate today’s most pressing challenges in the industrial sector.

LG Electronics is an example of a company that is investing time and resources into harnessing the power of new technology to support industrial manufacturing and engineering processes. Launched in 2021, LG Electronics’ North America Innovation Center—LG NOVA—is exploring new concepts and creating new businesses focused on solving real-world problems across a variety of industries. 

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Smart tech to the rescue

If investments and developments in smart technologies, such as generative AI and AR/VR/XR, continue to increase at the current rate, we’ll quickly see the next phase in the digitization of the manufacturing sector driven by these disruptive trends. 

This includes the rise of data and connectivity, analytics, human-machine interaction and improvements in robotics.

Technology and process innovation, however, is only part of the Industry 4.0 equation. 

To truly adopt and thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, companies need to revolutionize their upskilling, reskilling and overall training processes to elevate their workforce to meet the requirements of the new technology-enabled landscape. 

Upskilling, according to McKinsey, refers to employees learning new skills to help in their current positions as the skills they need evolve, and reskilling is when workers are retrained with new skills that will enable them to fill different positions within their companies.

Upskilling and reskilling will be no easy feat, as the workforce’s demands and needs shift. In an age of social media and the Internet, traditional training manuals and long-form video or training sessions are no longer effective. The average attention span of the millennial is 8 seconds, and with millennials anticipated to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025 (TeamStage), the need for an upgrade of existing training will never be higher. 

In the near-term, the benefits of smart technologies will be most realized in terms of training, upskilling and reskilling. In the long-term, we hope to see a 180-degree shift in how engineers and manufacturers train their workforce, with immersive, intuitive and personalized safety, compliance and best practices modules to advance training and guidance to the needed levels.

Four companies tackling the problem

While these applications might seem to be decades away, some startups are already tackling the next generation of training with their new technologies, including Nakamir, Fabrik, Talespin, and iQ3Connect, all of which have been selected for the LG NOVA “mission for the future” program. 

The Nakamir Augmented Reality Assistant allows its end-users to instantly retrieve instructions in any real-life situation via an overlay of contextual information. Fabrik is a no-code interface on the web with a fully integrated suite of tools that allows businesses to easily create XR experiences and perform reliable digital twinning making XR creation easy for businesses with its no-code interface. Talespin is developing a spatial computing platform to power talent development and skills mobility for the future of work. And iQ3Connect provides a no-code platform to enable enterprises to create, deliver and consume complex 3D enterprise applications in the metaverse in a web browser on any AR, VR, PC or mobile device.

By revolutionizing training to be more intuitive, the hope is for a stronger and upskilled workforce that will have a trickle-down effect for overall innovation. As these technologies mature and the industry prepares for adoption, current and future generations can be better prepared for more efficient and skilled work while spearheading ongoing business challenges such as employee retention and satisfaction.

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