In Case You Missed It: Part I of Augmented Reality for Pest Control Training
Can augmented or virtual reality play a role? One of the value propositions of these technologies is the ability to reproduce realistic scenarios at a relatively lower cost than other training methods or on the job training. The vast scenarios a technician may encounter can be easily replicated and experienced. In place of a video or a picture shared through a webinar, a technician could encounter an anomaly in a realistic scenario and be required to meet a specific standard of performance while adhering to a strict safety procedure.
Here are a few of the top ways a pest control and management service company could benefit from adoption of augmented or virtual solutions:
Onboarding new hires: Often a new hire is exposed to on the job training with an experienced employee. This limits exposure to a variety of anomalies and they could be biased to the performance methods of the more experienced employee and not necessarily the corporate performance standard. Utilizing augmented or virtual solutions, paired with a disciplined instructional strategy, would result in a wider variety of situations and ultimately better, more consistent performance by the technician in the long run.
Rapid response to rare events: These technologies may not be as rapid as snapping a picture and sharing across the enterprise. However, those images can be converted into experiential training, not just short transient lessons that may be subject to faster forgetting. And, once captured, the scenario can be institutionalized or added to a curriculum for further trainees.
On-demand, real-time access to customer data: The realm of augmented reality and head mounted work aids both workers and remote experts in their ability to quickly access critical customer information. Slowly, organizations have adopted mobile devices that provide access to work orders and customer history. Although augmented reality can be implemented on mobile devices, head mounted solutions can leave the hands free and be coupled with voice recognition technology to request information on demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the skills sought after in Pest Control workers are critical thinking, listening and problem solving while trouble shooting is one of the less sought after skills. An AR solution would empower the employees with these traits, as trouble shooting activities can still be done efficiently and effectively through leveraging the technology to consult with the remote expert. This is the subject of an entirely different post, but hands free can mean more efficient performance in the customer’s environment.
Demonstrated adherence to regulations: A virtual solution offers a lower cost compared to building a realistic infrastructure and can mimic a greater variety of scenarios. A heads up solution can be deployed to the workforce similar to mobile devices, and can be distributed amongst the workforce in a variety of ways (e.g. per employee basis, per truck). Adherence to safety regulations, especially after new legislation is passed, can be difficult to address with confidence with a distributed workforce when relying on corporate bulletins or on demand e-learning. Measuring performance in a virtual, experiential solution or through an enterprise augmented or low cost virtual solution (e.g. Google Cardboard) can build greater competence and actually improve the ROI of your training program.
These are just a few areas to consider. There is much more depth and many more considerations to be made within each potential application and within the technology itself and these topics will be explored in future DI blog posts. Next time you see your local provider spraying those chemicals, or a restaurant hit with a health inspection notice, you might have a greater appreciation for the training and operational challenge and consider the possible uses of these technologies for this workforce.
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