Trends, Challenges and Innovation Spaces for Digital Engineering

If we wish to prepare a generation of professionals and experts in the Industry and Energy field to can solve real-world problems, we must give them real-world problems to solve.

chemical plant

One of the greatest challenges of today’s society and in particular the European Union is to develop a more competitive, efficient, productive, innovative and under a high added value sustainable model industry.

An industry, able to lead both strategic and emerging sectors by creating high valued job positions, requires its efforts to focus on R&D+I and knowledge management. And to do this, it is necessary to make an incremental effort in each and every one of the components that directly or indirectly affect the industry. The purpose is to promote new forms and methods for learning and training of professionals that will be drawn into the market, and training and adaptation of existing professionals to be more competitive in their present positions by using more effective digital technologies and processes.

The New Digital Era is beginning to define a new global scenario, which goes further than the simple digitization of objects and things. It is a new context that involves a new way of thinking and adapting the knowledge, processes and procedures to this new backdrop, as well as its transmission to persons and professionals in this field. This is something that is very subtly present in our day to day and that is clearly reflected in digital engineering and in technologies, methods and procedures that are applied to several sectors such as medical, industrial, energy, water management, manufacture and telecommunication, etc.

To speak of digital engineering is to speak of simulation, virtual reality and so forth. Thomas Perkins already in 1985 clearly described this in his work Simulation Technology in Operator Training. Full-scope, plant specific simulators are part of a new reality. In which he explained how in the early 1970s the first simulators to be used in training plant operators in nuclear plants were developed. Many years have passed since then and there have been great changes in this field, both at the conceptual and operational level, which will be examined in detail in this work.

The future framework for training, learning and vocational training of professionals from the industry and energy sectors, leave permanently redefined from the experiences and case studies of working groups and national and international experts from a more global perspective.

Innovation is making headway in this complex world, where the contribution and converge of knowledge and technologies, procedures and interactive learning methods, is revolutionizing the world of e-training, for a more global and qualified professionals.

But in this process, we want to focus on one key success factor: “the use of digital technologies such as advanced simulators technologies, the serious gaming, augmented reality, on-line communication, integrated devices, geometry scanning, or digital interactive documents in order to improve the productivity, the quality, the security and the implementation methodology of these practices”.

The improvement in the development of professional’s activity, performed by digital engineering experts, is a key factor to resolve faster and better complex or critical situations. For this purpose, it is necessary to analyze and manage multiple and heterogeneous information, data, situations, localizations and databases, based on technology, to provide real solutions in a knowledge management environment.

Advanced Simulations, Game Based Training, Gammification, Augmented Reality and Digital Interactive Manuals offer new possibilities in the educational and professional training environment, allowing a greater involvement of students in their own learning context and a continuous digital content and tools evolution.

The teacher / tutor-student relationship is enhanced by the facilities that offer Simulations & Serious Games and Augmented Reality technology when creating virtual communities and tools for the use in the classroom in an effective, simple and friendly community. The efficient new technologies implementation in old organizations needs to adapt methods and procedures in a culture change program. Actions Based Training is the way to success.

Actions Based Learning ®, which is a new Technology Based Training Approach, depending on the organization and training project to address, creates a matrix that meets the requirements for every action, what user profile addresses each action, what type of training program, capacitive or training, the exchange of information and documentation to be used, the format and method to deliver information and the technology to use.

Serious Games, Virtual Reality, Advanced Simulators, Digital Text Books, Augmented Reality…and the integration with brand new devices and Actions Based Learning methods will drive this challenge to a new dimension of interactive training and maintenance and support of risk and critical situations. In which technology convergence, efficient knowledge management, sustainability and time will be the new drivers of Digital Engineering in the Energy and Industry fields.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©

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