Mining major BHP has adopted Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 technology to give remote employees the ability to instruct on-site workers at the South Flank iron ore operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia (WA).

Workplace restrictions put in place to keep public safe from Covid-19 mean that BHP hasn’t been able to fly people to and from its mine sites.

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According to Microsoft, BHP adopted HoloLens 2 technology to enhance equipment maintenance, services as well as inspections that are conducted under fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) restrictions.

HoloLens 2 enhances “mixed reality” capabilities through a “head-mounted computer and see-through display”, which enable BHP remote employees to coach workers on-site.

BHP Digital Products manager Alex Bertram said: “Our people on the front line are empowered to try new things to safely get on with the job.

“During Covid-19, I expected the pace of innovation to slow, but we’ve seen the opposite. People really rally together and are open to trying new things to safely get the job done.

“Given many of us were working from home due to Covid-19, the first device was delivered to my house to test and by the following week, we’d undertaken trials in our workshop environment in Perth.”

The HoloLens2 technology was already trialled and proven in the Pilbara region.

BHP is now planning further trials at its rail workshops and with maintenance teams in Perth and the Pilbara, as well as at other locations in Australia, the US and Chile.