The Digital Lab Serving operations on the ground

Published in the dossier of June 2018

The Digital Lab in a nutshell

Inaugurated in October 2017 in the Paris region, this welcoming and modular 75-m2 space meets three challenges: encouraging the emergence of ideas via collaborative methodologies, exploring and experimenting with new technologies, and diffusing a culture of innovation internally and externally. Brainstorming sessions and design and training workshops are regularly organized there, presenting prototypes and multimedia digital applications.

Designed by Veolia France’s Water business line, the Digital Lab develops digital tools to meet the needs of teams on the ground. It is only logical that it is represented in the regions via the mobile Lab, offering very real solutions… A laboratory where tomorrow’s technologies – augmented reality glasses, virtual reality headsets and virtual assistants, IoT, etc. – reign supreme. Using virtual reality to improve staff training in safety and handling complex, even dangerous, equipment or turning to augmented reality to enhance the effectiveness of system interventions is no longer the realm of science fiction. Virtual reality totally immerses the user in a virtual world, while augmented reality enriches the real world by incorporating virtual elements (images, sound, videos, etc.). In concrete terms, the user wearing a virtual reality headset can go on a virtual tour of a plant, wherever they are. Standing in front of an electrical cabinet or pump, a technician equipped with augmented reality glasses will be able to view an interactive operating procedure or get in touch with an expert capable of remotely guiding them what to do, thereby greatly reducing the risk of error.

Augmented reality can also transparently display kilometers of pipes and underground networks, which are complex to manage. Using the data collected, a 3D model makes it possible to position the pipelines in space, to obtain their exact location, diameter or the materials of which they are made. This advance opens up significant possibilities in preparing and optimizing interventions.