Published on May 9, 2021
Assistance from a distance
The use of mixed reality technology in Hypor locations around the world offers the potential for fast, efficient, and biosecure collaboration during the pandemic and beyond.
Within Hendrix Genetics the project “Assistance from a distance” was initiated to start application of mixed reality technology. It fits our Vision 2025: Growth through Excellence to provide more digital services and support. The project shows that we can benefit within our organization from using this technology. In any location with an internet connection these devices offer the possibility to make expertise from elsewhere available quickly and with no travel time and expenses. For Hendrix Genetics additional benefits are the increase of biosecurity, efficiency, and the possibility to continue important tasks and projects during any type of lockdown.
The reality of COVID-19 has forced companies to find new ways to collaborate during travel restrictions. It can be a challenging task, but working under these restrictions has also brought some exciting new opportunities. Several use cases were tested with the Microsoft HoloLens 2, smart glasses that that have the possibility to add information to what the wearer sees. It also enables hands-free remote assistance. The main benefit of mixed reality smart glasses compared to other remote support solutions via tablet or smartphone, is that the wearer of the smart glass has its hands-free to perform tasks on the farm.
The use of the HoloLens for Hypor in particular, has been a success. The technology was used for selection in several locations, including Bon Accord and Hock ‘n’ Ham in Canada, Sichamps in France, and Spain. At the end of last year, a new client in the Philippines was successfully remotely trained from an expert in France using the device.
The use of the Hololens on Hockn’Ham was to full satisfaction, our Japanese partners directly hand pick one by one the best boars available. With the established internet connection this is a powerful tool, the quality of the image is amazing. We will continue to work with the HoloLens at our units, to be used for selections from a distance.
Recently Prifoods Co Ltd, a division of Hypor in Japan, used this technology to make selections from a distance. They import a number of animals every year from Canada, and normally this involves a Prifoods employee to travel overseas to assist in the selection. The process can take up to a week in order to follow biosecurity protocols. This year it was not possible to travel to Canada, and the HoloLens provided a suitable solution.
Prifoods Co Ltd, Hypor Division has been our Japanese distributor for more than 40 years. Hugues Six, the General Manager for East & South East Asia, commented on the importance of Prifoods’ selection process, “The maximum genetic progress in our Japanese customers herds (BioHypor) is ensured by a yearly import of top quality Hypor Kanto, Hypor Landrace and Large White Top GGP boars from our Nucleuses in Canada. Those top Boars semen will be distributed throughout Japan. The import of pigs for this distributor is therefore absolutely strategic.” He added that in Japan, the phenotypical selection of boars is very important and criteria specific. This year and despite of the traveling restrictions, it was possible to continue this using the HoloLens which was highly appreciated by Japanese selectors.
This new technology offers us a new possibility which is efficient, low cost and contributes to maintaining a high biosecurity status.
Using the Hololens example as a compelling business case, we continue to look for new opportunities to integrate mixed reality technology for enhanced efficiency, resource management, and biosecurity, all leading to a more sustainable future.