SINGAPORE — Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd partnered with M1 Ltd. to implement a 5G augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) smart glasses solution at its yard in Singapore — the first in Southeast Asia’s maritime industry. The pilot project is part of Keppel O&M’s strategy to leverage digitalization and virtual technology to enhance the efficiency of remote operations for its tech-enabled workforce. The project received a grant from IMDA’s 5G Innovation Programme for the development of virtual platform solutions.  

Smart glasses have multiple applications. They can be deployed in different phases of a project’s construction and optimize the use of resources in shipyard settings. Versatile virtual platform solutions, such as smart glasses, can help to improve the overall efficiency of production processes in the maritime industry.  

Equipped with a camera lens, microphone, micro speaker, and cellular or Wi-Fi reception, smart glasses are powered by leading-edge software that can perform real-time analyses and provide data to the wearer. The device also enables the wearer to communicate seamlessly with a receiver or control room. Smart glasses are also equipped with a micro projector, which can project a digital overlay of text and images within the wearer’s field of vision.

“As a provider of leading-edge solutions for the maritime industry, Keppel O&M is pleased to partner M1 in leveraging digital technologies to enhance yard operations and safety,” said Chris Ong, CEO of Keppel O&M. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, when safe management measures limited physical inspections and site surveys, we were the first to officially conduct remote inspections for a newbuild vessel with a classification society using smart glasses. 

“Today, we are further expanding its use to not only improve the efficiency of delivering projects and enhancing yard operations but also widening our capabilities to provide digital solutions for our customers’ assets,” he continued. “This is part of Keppel O&M’s Yard of the Future initiative, which harnesses digitalization to transform our products, services, and operations.”

Keppel O&M worked with M1 to test-bed applications for smart glasses, harnessing M1’s 5G high-speed and low-latency connectivity to enable quicker and more effective responses.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Keppel O&M to pilot 5G-enabled wearables, such as smart glasses, which can help solve critical challenges in Singapore’s maritime industry,” said Manjot Singh Mann, CEO of M1. “Through M1’s robust 5G network, smart glasses can provide a high-bandwidth, immersive AR/VR environment that enables highly detailed representations and real-time information to be relayed to users and control centers. The successful introduction of the smart glasses solution at Keppel O&M is a useful test case that can be scaled and replicated to boost operational efficiency and safety across businesses and industries.”    

Through partnerships with IMDA, M1, and other technology experts, Keppel O&M aims to develop and commercialize 5G-enabled solutions for the maritime sector. The smart glasses are being test-bedded in the following areas at Keppel O&M.

1. Site inspection
The smart glasses are used to digitalize the process of inspection and asset maintenance. Inspection personnel wearing smart glasses are able to view work instructions that can be controlled through voice commands via the display headset. This replaces labor-intensive manual check sheets and drawings. Remote expertise and coaching can also be provided via the platform. This application can reduce the manhours required for on-site quality inspection by as much as 50%. 

2. Digital twin virtualization remote monitoring
This AR application allows the monitoring of equipment performance and onboard system parameters via real-time sensor data. Using AR-enabled smart glasses, field engineers will be able to capture and stream live data to their main office to receive real-time remote guidance.
Sensor data can also be overlayed on the site engineer’s field of vision, displaying key information, such as the equipment’s real-time critical performance and condition during operations. This will also provide a common platform for field engineers and office-based support to troubleshoot and rectify issues. This application aims to improve field engineers’ efficiency by 40%.

3. Remote virtual walkthrough
Using smart glasses to conduct remote virtual walkthroughs of a vessel will allow Keppel engineers, clients, and classification societies to perform preconstruction feasibility assessments simultaneously, and this will enable potential engineering design issues to be identified earlier, which helps to mitigate preconstruction risks. In addition, during the construction phase, engineers can use smart glasses to validate that the project is being constructed to the correct specifications. The solution can also facilitate collaboration across different yards and locations where various vessel components are being constructed.