Interviews and Reviews

Meet the Augmented Reality Expert who says we should integrate AI to improve efficiency of Frontline workers within Manufacturing and Engineering Vertical

Dhaval Sahija argues that there is big room for Mid to Large size Engineering companies to enhance field operations.

Dhaval Sahija is well placed to transform enterprises with the next wave of technologies around HCI headsets. He is Enterprise Solution Manager along with Independent Researcher; doing research as to how integration of Machine Learning and IoT with Augmented & Mixed Reality can solve some of the critical problems that engineering companies are facing.

And though his work leaves him occupied with various HCI headsets; he has been spending last few years working with Operations Managers and IT Engineers to understand more about challenges faced by them in terms of developing synergy between Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT).

We did meet Dhaval to learn more about what he has discovered, as well as challenges with the user adoption of immersive technology, he has been trying to solve; and solutions that he sees for challenges that Manufacturing and Engineering vertical are facing in current age.

What are the areas that you have been recently working? Can you tell the readers what you learned from that experience?

My recent focus is around understanding more about how manufacturing operations are automated; what are the gaps and scope of further optimization of those operations; and what more can be done by integration of immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, IoT and Data to take the transformation of these operations to next level. Based on my experience I understand that, if we are able to create synergy between various systems and establish real time connectivity; than a lot more can be done, and digitization can be definitely taken a step ahead.

One of the areas that you did research is about Impact of IoT integration with Mixed Reality on Manufacturing Operations; can you tell us more about the broader impact and how IoT Integration and can transform industry as whole?

Manufacturing operations have become quite sophisticated due to systems such as PLC, Scada, MES and so forth, that support in high end automation. While all these systems work great in silos; there is scope of further enhancing the productivity of manufacturing operations. My research is focused towards understanding how all these systems can be integrated together using IoT & Mixed Reality; and what impact it may have from operational standpoint as well as work methodology of front-line workers.  One of the outcomes of Real time operational data availability achieved due to IoT Integration; was that it empowered the Floor managers to be more decisive and supported to them manage step procedures more effectively.

You also did research around Machine Learning integration with Augmented Reality for Discrete Manufacturing. Last few years has seen lot of interest around Machine Learning among businesses; can you tell us what caught your attention in Machine Learning and how its implementation along with Augmented reality is key to disrupt current technology ecosystem in Discrete Manufacturing vertical?

Augmented Reality technology was initially used in Space Research, Gaming & Entertainment, Military Operations and so forth. I have seen that in recent years manufacturers and engineering companies are trying to integrate Machine learning and Augmented Reality to enhance the productivity of factory shop workers and discrete manufacturing operations.  In many cases, I know they faced challenges in integration, due to difference in the nature of data produced by different systems. My attention was caught when I was able to convert the data source into uniform format and blend it with ML Algorithm; my research shows enormous possibility wherein integration of both technologies can be disruptive in areas such as plant operations, defect detection, failure prediction, inventory mgmt., and so forth. One of the findings of my research is that, post integration of both technologies is that; if we can take the experience to mobile or tablet, instead of AR glasses; than it can disrupt the entire IT ecosystem; since large size engineering and manufacturing companies have hundreds and thousands of shop floor technicians and field engineers that are already using legacy mobile devices that can be enabled with these technologies.

Apart from your research work; you also are associated with quite a few Journals and Research Associations in different roles; can you tell us more about it your contribution?

Based on my research work and accreditations; was invited in ICECTACSET 2022 conference as keynote speakers to talk about Current challenges in Industrial Training and impact of Mixed Reality on modernization of training procedures. It is International Conference on Exploring Colossal Technological Advances of the 21st Century in Science, Engineering, and Technology; organized out of Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Also have been part of Scientific committee for Institute of Engineering Research and Publication (IFERP) for various International conferences on Engineering & Technology, Business Management, Digital Transformation & AI, etc. organized across various parts of South East Asia. My role involved proposing research areas and scientific subtopics that add value to conference.  Review abstract and papers submitted to the conference by researchers and industry experts. Also suggest speakers for conference sessions along with providing guidance & leadership to ensure success of committee and conference.

Dhaval you recently have been award by IACRD and in past also have received recognition from SRA; Can you tell us more about these awards to our readers?

That is very true, it was pretty exciting moment, as we were coming out of pandemic and I got recognized with ‘Most Innovative Corporate Expert of the year 2021’ Award by SRA (Scientific Research Association for my paper ‘Critical Review of Machine Learning integration with Augmented Reality for Discrete Manufacturing’. I mean people have been quiet critical about pandemic, but it has been one of the best phases in my life as I was able to collaborate with many like minded people including industry experts to take my research and innovation to next level. Recently I got recognized by IACRD with ‘Universal Young Researcher Award for Research in Augmented and Mixed Reality in Field of Manufacturing and Engineering Vertical’. It feels honored and pleased that finally the industry as well and fraternity is able to understand the impact that these technologies can make from operational as well as process standpoint.

You also have been working as Solution Manager with a Digital Transformation agency based out of Texas; you have written quiet few publications, been keynote speaker and advisor for various Journals; so what is next on plate for Dhaval Sahija?

Yes that is true, I have had worked in various roles including Business Consulting, Solution Development, Technology Evangelist and so forth for practices around Digital, Machine Learning, AI and Immersive experience including AR & MR.  As of now Augmented reality and mixed reality experience are restrictive towards head mounted devices and glasses; which is hammering its adoption due to high cost of such glasses. My next area of focus it to research around cross platform experience, so that users can have similar kind of experience in user interface of mobile and tablets; and don’t have to end up investing such amount of money of HCI and glasses.

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