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The Evolution of a Workforce

We have reached the point in many industries where we have a new type of worker—one that is very visual, more visual perhaps than previous generations. The question now becomes: How do we train them? We need to give them the right knowledge—information—to get the job done, but we also need them to have the expertise, which is a skill that comes from particular knowledge.

Building on one of my previous blogs, where I talk about assisted-reality for frontline workers, with the example of RealWear’s RealWear Navigator 500, assisted-reality wearables will evolve in the future, and could potentially help train the next generation of workers.

Sanjay Jhawar, cofounder and chief strategy officer, RealWear, and I discussed how people who are operational, who are helping their business units go a little faster, are identifying the use cases. “We do see mid-career people, in their early forties, late thirties, that are experienced enough and influential enough in their organizations to make things happen. But, also frankly, young enough to be comfortable with technology.”

He recommends presenting training with a device that’s instinctual with your hands free, which is a much more engaging way of learning than doing it in the classroom. Think about it: Today’s younger generation doesn’t learn from traditional practices like manuals. If they want to learn how to do something new, they go to YouTube. Perhaps this needs to be brought to the workforce more often.

Jhawar has a long-term vision for how this might look in the enterprise. He tells me there will come a time when it’s right to go into the holographic style, but there needs to be a lot more contextual information to be built before it’s going to be useful outside of training.

“As the workforce turns over and more of these demographics represent the majority, then I think it naturally goes in this direction,” Jhawar says. “But that’s also why I think it’s a 10-year transition. So, you’re graduating technical school now … and instead of doing your five-year apprenticeship to become a journeyman, you’d do three months in the classroom. Then you’d go out and do real work, and you are being supervised by someone who’s watching you through your camera that you’re wearing on your head, and you can actually complete your apprenticeship and your certifications while doing real work that generates real revenue for the company.”

While that is in the pipeline, how exactly do we train up today’s workforce? There are two ways to think about technology, Jhawar suggests. One is there are some enterprises that want this to essentially become a human robot being driven by instructions, but that is not his philosophy. “Our view is it’s empowering,” he explains. “It’s like if you need assistance, there’s someone there available to assist you. You can talk to an expert. If you need a manual, we’ll serve it up to you. If you need guided work instructions, we can give it to you. If you don’t, just go ahead and do it.”

He suggests when deploying a large number of devices, the best practice is to find your champions early. “Start with the enthusiast and then they’ll spread the word and eventually the later adopters will adopt because everyone else is doing it.”

The future sure is bright, especially with assisted reality helping to train up the next generation of young workers. What is your vision for the future? But as we are quickly learning the younger generation will be using AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality), and even the Metaverse and we will say YouTube what in the not-so-distant future. We may not all agree on when this educational transition may occur, but I am certain we can all agree it is taking hold faster than we ever imagined and that it certainly very exciting for us all.

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