Learn the benefits of AVEVA cloud-based training system
Written by Douglas Nunez, Sr. Infrastructure and Utilities Marketing Manager, AVEVA & Tony Lighty, Senior Lead Consultant, AVEVA
AVEVA has been delivering operator training simulators for the power industry for over 30 years. As software and hardware technology changes, AVEVA continually modernizes its software and hardware platforms to provide the power industry with the latest technological advances as well as a better return on investment. Years before the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly forced everyone to work remotely, AVEVA had already made significant efforts to provide a cloud-based operator training solution. By the time the pandemic arrived, AVEVA had the know-how in place to enable clients to transition from on-premises courses into mainly self-led, cloud-based courses. Trainees could receive most of the instruction on their own time, allowing instructors and other plant personnel to focus on new procedures to respond to the COVID protocols.
An AVEVA cloud-based Operator Training Simulator (OTS) offers five direct benefits over customer site server-based OTS:
1. Reduction in initial project costs. Customers don’t need to buy new hardware and software, which reduces their project setup and equipment costs.
2. Reduction in long-term maintenance and costs. AVEVA’s cost for maintaining and updating the cloud server is included in the online service’s subscription fee. The customer doesn’t need to worry about onsite IT or the travel costs required to bring AVEVA technicians to the site to maintain hardware and software.
3. Full-time, global access. The OTS is always available and can be set up in cloud-based servers around the globe, allowing for training at all customer sites. This ensures consistent training fleet-wide. Also, when new emergent training must be given, it can be easily updated and uploaded into the cloud, making it available to the entire company.
4. Enable self-study, non-instructor training. Trainees and operators can connect to the service on their own and complete necessary training however suits their work schedule. This added flexibility ensures training happens when the time is right, not when time must be made. This also frees up time for the training staff and supervisors to concentrate on other projects or urgent issues without compromising training.
5. Assure training continuity: In pandemics or other events that require social distancing, a cloud OTS enables individuals to connect from a remote location and still have combined group training while remaining safe.
When weighing the benefits of a cloud-based training system, you should take the following considerations into account:
1. A learning management system (LMS) is key: The success of an OTS system is dependent on the ability to provide a good training program once the OTS is delivered. AVEVA recognized the value of a learning management system (LMS) even before developing its cloud-enabled platform. That’s why Unified Learning, our cloud-based learning hub, integrates multiple technologies into a scalable industrial learning solution that addresses all four stages of the learning cycle:
Learn: Acquire knowledge through targeted eLearning and video content on process understanding, relevant procedures, policies, and references.
Practice: Learn by doing with simulator activities (OTS and XR) and repetition on operating procedures, abnormal conditions, start-up, shutdown, and more.
Assess: Integrated evaluations score procedural compliance, execution quality, operations time goals, and knowledge retention all within an easy-to-use learning management interface.
Reinforce: Sustain competence and drive behavioral change with short, frequent reinforcement sessions that fit into the daily workflow.
2. Subscription fees. Some early adopters have expressed concerns about the recurring subscription costs and whether this may end up costing more than a server-based solution. While every situation is different, the considerably lower capital investment at the beginning of the project combined with the elimination of maintenance and update costs throughout the OTS lifecycle normally result in the same or lower overall net present value for the cloud-OTS investment.
3. Internet connectivity issues. Sometimes, during bad weather or in remote locations, internet-connectivity issues can arise, preventing or interrupting training. We advise customers to analyze their existing internet infrastructures to ensure secure and reliable internet connectivity.
4. Cloud server maintenance. AVEVA’s cloud server does have to undergo periodic updates and maintenance, which will cause the system to be temporarily unavailable. These updates are very infrequent and usually very brief. AVEVA notifies clients of these programmed outages with ample time to minimize training disruptions as much as possible.
5. Reduced person-to-person interaction. Individualized training often creates a personalized connection between trainee and instructor. Some immediate mistakes or questions may go unaddressed if the training is exclusively self-led. However, this can be offset through a blended approach of instructor-led and self-taught training or by ensuring an instructor or supervisor is available to answer questions promptly. Additionally, cloud-based OTS activities allow an instructor to connect to an active trainee session using a view-only screen. This way the instructor can see what the trainee is struggling with or has questions about and give real-time instruction.