When searching for the best remote inspection technology, 360° Video Conferencing needs to be at the top of the list.
Remote audits and inspections have become a popular, cost-effective alternative to an in-person visit. It allows inspectors and stakeholders to examine, evaluate, and document conditions remotely, with the use of different types of communication tools.
Today, we’ll explore why 360° Video Conferencing is a far more effective tool than standard video conferencing and similar technology when deploying remote inspections.
What is 360° Video Conferencing?
360° video conferencing is similar to standard video conferencing, but with a 360-degree camera on one end that captures the entire room or space. Remote participants can join the meeting as they would with any traditional video conferencing tools via their smartphone or computer.
Why 360° Video Conferencing for remote inspections and audits?
1. Larger Field of View
360° cameras capture the entire surrounding view, and provide a more complete picture of the inspection area.
This is especially helpful when inspecting large areas like factories, warehouses, or construction job sites, and so on. With standard video conferencing, you’re significantly limited in what you’re able to see and observe.
For example, say you’re performing a remote audit of a supplier’s manufacturing facility. With the 360° view, not only are you able to observe and evaluate the conditions of the equipment, but also the overall conditions of the facility, working environment, body language of employees, and more. This information is often vital for making decisions about whether to do business with that supplier.
2. More Complete Visual Records
Another big advantage of 360° Video Conferencing is that ability to easily record and capture high-resolution videos and images in 360°.
This is crucial when conducting remote audits or other types of inspections that require a high degree of accuracy.
Every inspector has had the experience of returning from a site and discovering that the one picture or video you needed didn’t get captured. With 360°, you always get the full picture.
3. Control your Point-Of-View
Standard video conferencing is not only restrictive in the field of view (FOV) but also in the ability to control one’s point-of-view (POV). Often what’s most frustrating about the remote audit experience is the back and forth between remote participants and the person on site to direct the camera in a certain direction.
360° Video Conferencing provides an immersive experience, where every remote participant has the ability to look around as if in-person. It provides visibility to each subject matter expert or remote inspector in the areas that they need to observe, and give them the ability to direct the inspection more effectively.
4. Features Built for Remote Inspections
360° Video Conferencing is designed to make remote communication and collaboration around physical spaces easier. Built-in tools and features allow both the person on site and remote participants to be fully engaged, making gestures, seeing where other people are looking, taking snapshots and more, which are all essential components of a successful remote assessment.
Ineffectiveness of remote audits and inspections can be attributed to the use of less than ideal tools and software. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducted a study on the costs, benefits and effectiveness of remote audits for international food safety. This study found that 60% of respondents felt that remote audits were “less” or “much less” effective than in-person audits but almost all respondents were using standard video conferencing tools like Zoom, MS Teams, WeChat or similar.
5. Easy-to-Use Hardware
Innovative inspection solutions like remotely operated drones and other RVI solutions typically require specialized hardware or an individual with specialized training.
360° Video Conferencing simply uses an inexpensive, off-the-shelf 360° camera that can easily be operated without any special instructions or training. And because the video captures one’s entire surroundings, there’s less opportunity for error or missing an area of interest.
360° Video Conferencing offers many advantages over traditional video conferencing technologies and similar tools. With the combination of an immersive experience that delivers better visibility and the ability to interact and engage more effectively, it provides all the tools necessary to complete a remote audit or inspection with confidence.
There are certainly varying types of audits and inspections where 360° video conferencing is not suitable. However, for assessments and evaluations of large areas, sites, and facilities, it’s emerging as one of the best remote inspection technology available.