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ABB drives energy sector safety with augmented reality

Swiss-Swedish multinational ABB recently unveiled the launch of ABB Ability augmented reality tech to digitalise the field operator experience

Swiss-Swedish multinational ABB recently unveiled the launch of ABB Ability augmented reality tech to digitalise the field operator experience.

Envisaged as providing next-gen capabilities, ABB Ability Augmented Field Procedures will facilitate seamless integration between control systems and the field of operation, thus allowing for enhanced worker safety as well as increased energy efficiency and cost reductions. 

Estimating that 20% of industrial downtime is resultant from avoidable human error, the company states that its new tech solution will replace paper-based procedures with mobile-device applications which guide operators through linear, controlled steps. 

Mitigating human error

Safety should always be of paramount importance to the energy industry, making its operations fertile ground for automation and digital innovation.

“Human error continues to be a significant contributing factor to safety issues, as well as production downtime, said Chris Naunheimer, Digital Lead at ABB. 

“Engineers spend considerable time using and interpreting data. With this solution, we intend to address these challenges and truly transform the future of work.”


Taking the form of a specialised visor made from Microsoft HoloLens glasses, the Ability Augmented Field Procedures equipment streams data in front of the engineers’ eyes in real-time, allowing them to gain critical insights fast and seamlessly collaborate with others via live updates.

Other associated features include:

  • A procedure editor to manage complex workflows, including conditional logic and parallel tasks.

  • Rich illustration library and bank of popularly used workflow frameworks.

  • Manual and automated data capture.

  • Online and offline work available.

  • Voice-recognition.

Designed for the industry

ABB designed the concept specifically with workers in the oil, gas, chemical, power and water sectors in mind; the visor gives workers a hands-free digital working experience, although the software can also be utilised on industrial tablets and smartphones.

“Our solution ensures these procedures are in place for field workers performing tasks when and where they need them,” Naunheimer continued.

“ABB is committed to supporting both: protect people, while enabling business continuity and continued running of essential services, through providing remote access and digital tools and solutions.”

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