MSA rolls out VR experiences

MSAVirtual Reality (VR) is transforming business for global safety company MSA, as well as enhancing the customer experience, delegates at a press briefing in London heard

The company has teamed up with VR agency Render to develop VR experiences in fall protection in the areas of construction, aviation and confined spaces. These allow users to experience MSA’s fall protection products in context in an immersive, virtual environment.

Mark Miles, Render outlined the benefits of VR in driving customer engagement by bringing products to life and offering customers a full sensory experience. “It is experiential and creates a context around what you are seeing,” he explained. 

“Immersive technology now allows us to work with design data to bring things to life. It can enable businesses to harness the value of their design data to drive efficiencies, production and sales while reducing risks and costs. It allows them to use and visualise their data in a more meaningful way – for example to see whether a fall protection product needs servicing and checking, and it can transform product development, by allowing designers to experience the application of their product in context.”  

When used with AI and other technologies immersive technology can be used to explore how a product can be used or will behave in a variety of “what if” scenarios. 

He added that it can play a particularly valuable role in training employees in process and HSE. 

“Immersive technologies have been a gamechanger for the business,” commented Eve Webb, MSA’s global customer marketing communications manager.

“VR gives us an opportunity to let prospective customers experience, rather than merely see, our products and how they work together to provide a comprehensive safety solution, whilst empowering us with an incredibly efficient real-time content pipeline.

“Safety products are by their nature used in hazardous situations,” she explained. “With VR, customers can experience the hazards without the risks. VR for fall protection simulates the feeling of being exposed to a hazard at height and the sensation of falling.”

Through the VR experience, prospective customers can scale a high building and carry out maintenance tasks safely using MSA’s personal protection equipment combined with engineered lifeline solutions. 

“Put on the headset and you’re up on a roof, and you can understand why a harness needs to have the features it does, for example,” said Webb. 

So where is the company going with VR in the future? “There is the potential to develop this across many business streams,” said Webb “For example, an oil rig experience could involve climbing a flare tip stack.” 

VR has driven engagement across the business, she remarked, and has had a huge impact on product innovation, internal training and sales, helping staff to understand why safety products are so critical and why MSA products are the products of choice. The company is looking to build it out across training to drive further internal engagement, she added. 

MSA’s acquisition three years ago of Latchways, global engineered fall protection specialist, has strengthened the company’s PPE offering, said Alastair Hogg, the company’s director for fall protection sales and business development.

MSA is investing significantly in this product line with plans to expand its global reach and to continue to roll out innovative products, he added. 

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