Turning big data into information through visualisation
Virtual Reality (VR) presents an environment for ‘immersive’ experiences destined to change the face of education, research and design in mining and beyond.
In a first for Africa, the University of Pretoria Mining Engineering Department with the visionary support of Kumba Iron Ore, a member of the Anglo American plc group, has created a world-class Virtual Reality Centre that enhances education, training and research in operational risk across industries through an innovative approach to information optimisation and visualisation.
We envisage that the VR Centre will revolutionise the way industries create solutions to complex challenges.
The VR Centre strives to be an innovative resource for bringing real-world scenarios to learners to enhance their exposure to their chosen industry; and allowing technical and other practitioners to simulate plans and designs in a risk-free environment with minimal time and resource allocation. There are numerous operational benefits to be gained from interpreting and portraying actual data in the high-quality and realistic visual format offered by the VR Centre:
- Operational productivity and overall effectiveness can be achieved by playing out different scenarios before committing resources to a particular course of action.
- Engineers, planners and other stakeholders are better placed to make choices that take into account the long-term and socio-economic consequences of their financial and technical decisions by first considering these in a virtual environment.
- Incidents impacting operational risk can be minimised when one can simulate activities without actually exposing people or equipment to harm.
- VR allows multiple data sets to be converted into strategic business information. Once decisionmakers are exposed to an immersive experience which portrays their data visually, it becomes easier to make decisions and improvements on their project design and other activities that operationalise their strategies.
By introducing this level of innovation into the educational space, faculties can differentiate by offering unique learning opportunities. Companies and consultants in an operational environment can visualise activities, guiding decision-making and allowing them to be more competitive on the basis of cost and efficiency.