At the heart of every business is its people. As a manager, you want to build a trusted team who are ready and able to deal with whatever the job throws at them. This is why getting training right is a critical part of doing business.

So far in The Future Is Now, we’ve looked at how 5G and the Immersive Classroom can enhance learning. But how, specifically, can technology like this help your team improve their skills? We wanted to find out.

Working with our customers the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, we ran an experiment to discover how 5G and mixed reality takes employee training to the next level. Above, you can watch a video showing how the technology fared when competing with traditional instructions.

The tech behind the test

HoloLens 2 is a revolutionary new smart glasses system made by BT’s technology partner Microsoft. As you look through the lenses, the system overlays digital information on top of the real world. When connected to a reliable and fast network such as 5G there is no lag, so the information is provided in real-time. 

For example, it could point you towards a specific shelf in a warehouse. Or it could display real-time sensor readings for the factory machine you’re fixing. Or it could show a surgeon a diagram of where to make an incision.

“Mixed reality is perfect for training,” says Brent Poynton, a technical specialist at MTC, “Your team can be hands-on with their work without needing to down tools and refer to paper instructions.”

“5G is the game changer for exciting technology. It eliminates lag so the information on the display always matched the actions we were carrying out,” explains John Vickery, Enterprise CTIO at BT,. “It’s easy to imagine how important this would be when working on something that is safety critical.”

“Mixed reality is perfect for training,” says Brent Poynton, a technical specialist at MTC, “Your team can be hands-on with their work without needing to down tools and refer to paper instructions.”

 

The result

The results of our experiment were striking. The team following paper-based instructions found them confusing and hard to follow, they all relied on extra support and none completed the task within the time limit. By contrast, everyone on the mixed reality team was successful, and immediately understood the advantages of the technology.

“It was like having a buddy with me to help,” one participant commented. “As I followed the on-screen instructions, the headset spotted and helped me correct any mistakes I made as I went along. This gave me the confidence that I was on the right track.”

“This is a game changer. The task was very similar to my real work, and if I could use it every day it would make my life so much easier.”

“You only have to try it once to understand how immersive it is. It’s more engaging, more fun, and will get your team up to speed much more quickly than the old-fashioned method,” says Poynton.

“But it isn’t just about fun. Unlike paper and pen, technology tools can offer feedback at each stage of the training process. So your team learns new skills to a much higher standard.”

Transforming businesses big and small

“Since we launched our 5G network, we’ve seen an explosion of innovation in the businesses we work with,” says Vickery, “Mixed reality is just one example of the impact new technology can have on business.”

“From electricians to manufacturers, tech can benefit all businesses of all sizes,” says Vickery, “And it’s not just in the future - this is a reality now.”

“I think it could be particularly useful for small businesses. You don’t need to hire an in-house expert or pay for expensive training, as mixed reality will support your team during every step.”

At the foundation though, is 5G. This gives the centre an extra layer of security, and even more reliable connectivity as it does not have to share the connection with anyone else.

“We’re really excited to see where mixed reality and other emerging technologies go next,” says Vickery, “And this is why 5G is so important. It makes cutting-edge technologies accessible to every business.”

Find out more about how 5G can transform your business.

In this experiment, 5G is not used with the HoloLens technology. The MTC is currently having a private 5G network installed that will enable the development of future manufacturing use cases