Tips for Working From Home During Coronavirus Pandemic

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March 31, 2020

Around the globe, people are being forced into self isolation. It’s all happening suddenly and people are upset and stressed out. Unfortunately corona-virus lock downs are going to last a while and we need to adapt to a new way of life.

To work remotely means different things to different people. It can involve undertaking various work tasks from home that can be done online, such as sending emails, data entry, working on spreadsheets and video conferencing without being physically present in your workplace.

More and more people are having to work from home. Kitchens and dining rooms and other spaces are becoming work spaces, filled with computers, papers and other work related materials. Childrens bedrooms are becoming places to learn, which can be upsetting for the child. It can be hard for children to adjust leading to boredom and unsettled behaviour which is taxing for parents. Less space, more clutter, confusion and frayed tempers lead to less productivity.

When you bring work home it can create stress and mess, not knowing where and how to set up. It is a good idea to introduce a new structure of when and where you do your work tasks, this can minimize stress and make the environment fit for work purposes. Also important is to consider the people you live with and their needs. It is always a good idea to have a clean and tidy space to work from. 

Ways to improve things, optimize your at home work space:

Firstly it is important to be organised. Create/Give members of your household their own workstation. The workstation should suit the members needs and the requirements for their tasks that are being undertaken. 

Work or education activities like video conferencing can be loud and disruptive, assign those to a place where noise can be dampened or a good distance from others so it will not disturb their work.

If someone needs quietness and concentration, they could be provided with earplugs or noise canceling headphones or a quieter part of the house. White noise also helps.

Consider where traffic is going to be and choose and create workspaces accordingly. For example don’t set up next to a door or hallway or other thoroughfare that is frequently used.

Have set spaces that are ‘work-free zones’. Choose and allocate zones to yourself and other household members. It’s best to keep work out of places of leisure such as living rooms and home theaters where possible. Dining rooms, kitchens and laundries do not make great work spaces either. If you have children, try not to set up a workspace in a place where they like to play as those places will be quite distracting. A workstation in the right place will aid in concentration and comfort and over all make it easier to achieve a good work-life balance.

Having a break schedule is a good idea as it adds structure. Generally the motivator for your work will be the task you are trying to achieve and wanting to put in the same effort you would in your regular work place. Scheduled breaks help keep the mind crisp and on task and are very important for healthy and well being. Also this shows other house members how work life should be.

A healthy lifestyle is always important, make time for exercise and outside activities. Find other, fun activities other than working, eating and sleeping. Activities like drawing, arts and crafts gives you something to have fun with and keeps you healthy both mentally and physically. Activities should, of course, adhere to current social distancing guidelines

If you need to self isolate, it’s still Imperative to maintain physical activity. Go outside, if the weather allows. Find an indoor activity you enjoy, like table tennis or an interactive video game if that is your thing.

Take some time to create fun activities for all members of the household, important that it fits in not only with yours, but other household members' schedules. If it’s noisy like a children's play area, don’t have this near someone who is working.

Create a timetable that has set start and finish times. Children are used to following timetables at school, they have set recess and lunch times. Setting up routines will help make us feel more in control.

Taking these above measures, and staying calm can help us cope in these challenging times.

Connect with iTRA to discuss your next project.

Improve Mine Productivity with Augmented and Virtual Reality Technologies

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November 12, 2019

Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies have been around for a while. The potential for these technologies are endless. Mining companies have embraced VR/AR for some time and are always looking to do more. Currently these technologies are, for example, reducing equipment maintenance costs and offering their personnel a safe way to train.

AR and VR technologies are being used widely at both the consumer and commercial levels. Companies like Microsoft and Google are developing their own VR/AR technologies and are competing for their market share. The VR/AR industry is predicted to be worth more than $150 billion worldwide by 2020.

Mining industries utilized VR/AR quite early, as the potential for training is ground breaking. Using these technologies for training not only saves companies money but has been proven that it can be a better way to train employees.

Mining operators have realised the potential to address many issues with VR/AR technology, with improvements in productivity, safety and machinery uptime to name just a few. For mining companies, AR offers training in the real world with helpful overlays. VR replaces the real world with a simulated training environment.

EMIMSAR, an EU funded project, is a system that allows miners to be able to view AR versions of complex equipment on helmet mounted displays. Using sensors to record and analyse temperatures, rates of acceleration and sample noise from sprockets. This allows staff to assess heavy duty components like gears and chains. This data is then given to a knowledge based maintenance system. When combined with background data on components, it creates real time virtual visualisations on the machinery which can be viewed by other miners while working on the same machine.

The EMIMSAR AR system has been developed and used to great success by Germany’s largest coal mining firm RAG, which used it for maintenance planning, loaders and belt conveyors.

Kumba Virtual Reality Centre, which opened in August 2015 has incorporated a 3D stereoscopic theatre and a 3D, 360° cylinder theatre. The 3D simulation creates true to detail mining conditions and creates scenarios such as underground rock falls, that is truly immersive experience for the user.

Rio Tinto has now partnered with New York based Bravo Media to custom design the Oculus Rift experience. It features a computer generated environment that allows the user to fly above the coast of Canada, before taking you for a tour down the Diavik diamond mine.

Grey Properjohn from Australian company Vix Technology wrote in a newsletter "The ability to mix virtual content with reality will provide countless opportunities to improve operational safety and efficiency, as well as bringing the corporate offices even closer to the operations on the ground by connecting people in ways never imagined before,"

He goes on to write "Imagine standing in an underground development heading and becoming visually aware of all the adjacent headings, slopes and declines in the immediate vicinity, or being able to virtualise the trends in ground features like fault-zones or stress-zones… Extend this to drilling from underground and you can virtually eliminate the potential to inadvertently intersect other existing openings.”

"The assessment of mining an open pit through underground workings takes on new meaning if you could actually 'see' the workings. Even from an office environment, users can be immersed in the underground operation tracking the locations of all people and assets within the mine in real-time."

These are just a few examples of how mining companies are using the VR/AR technology. Many more projects are in development that are sure to excite.

Connect with iTRA to discuss your next project.

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