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Woman using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist in a manufacturing setting.The pharmaceutical industry recently stunned the world by developing multiple COVID-19 vaccines faster than anyone thought possible. Intensive collaboration using advanced technology made it possible. 

Pandemic-driven changes in how people work create new hurdles—but also new opportunities. For example, restrictions on in-person work often made it impossible to have experts on site. Microsoft HoloLens and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist helped manufacturers get back to work by enabling highly skilled professionals to work together and guide others remotely. Companies ready to take advantage of digital speed, scale, and collaboration are reaping the rewards. 

Mixed reality has played a key role for pharmaceutical research and manufacturing organizations looking to achieve that kind of rapid transformation. Discover how combining digital information with physical reality opens new ways to manage collaboration, upskill staff, and keep manufacturing chains up and running by downloading the Remote service in pharmaceuticals: modernize operations with mixed reality eBook.

Getting talent up to speed with immersive training

More complex therapies and faster timelines mean more sophisticated skills are required of manufacturing personnel. Pharmaceutical companies need to find, train, and retain skilled technicians to deploy advanced processes. Using HoloLens and Dynamics 365 Guides, they can provide training in context and get employees ready in hours instead of weeks or months.  

This speeds learning and helps drive consistency. New employees gain new skills and self-service access to information so they can solve issues independently. Trainees can also practice complex or hazardous procedures virtually first, helping reduce risk and improve safety.  

Knowledge obtained over many years by master technicians can be recorded and used to train new employees at scale anywhere in the world. Recordings of training sessions provide valuable insight into areas of improvement and speed the deployment of best practices.  

Ensuring uptime with efficient maintenance

In addition to minimizing onboarding time and maximizing the productivity of their talent, pharmaceutical manufacturers need to keep equipment running at peak efficiency. Breakdowns can result in millions of dollars in lost productivity.  

With global facilities, scarce skills, and limited ability to travel and congregate, preventing downtime requires making the best use of field service capabilities. Dynamics 365 Remote Assist empowers technicians to collaborate without needing to be onsite. They can solve problems more efficiently by working together regardless of physical location. 

The individual performing the service can stay hands-on, accessing instructions and guidance in a hands-free, heads-up display rather than switching to a laptop or physical manual. Lead technicians can see everything that’s happening in real time from anywhere. 

By reducing time and travel associated with on-site maintenance, HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist enable issues to be resolved in minutes or hours rather than days or weeks. They can also dramatically reduce costs. A Forrester study on the Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist highlights the possibility of millions of dollars in savings for a typical large manufacturer.  

Exploring the frontiers of possibility  

Training and maintenance are only the beginning of mixed reality in the pharmaceutical industry. At every step of the innovation value chain, the combination of physical and digital collaboration opens new doors. 

Mixed reality helps manufacturers scale the deep technical knowledge possessed by senior employees. Scientists working in different locations can manipulate molecular models and explore data in new ways. Clinical trial managers can help participants maintain compliance without having to visit them in person. Even marketing teams are using mixed reality to understand customer needs.  

Enabling highly secure innovation

Of course, all of this is only possible using devices that comply with the industry’s stringent security and safety protocols. Microsoft understands the needs of regulated manufacturers, which is why we developed HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition. It meets particle-emissions standards for entry and operation in clean-room environments, so pharma companies can bring digital capabilities into their most sensitive processes. 

We’re also working closely with the pharma industry and key customers to help them meet their requirements under Good Clinical, Laboratory, and Manufacturing Practices (GxP) regulations. These include regulations enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as recognized guidelines for computerized systems in the EU. We offer extensive documentation about using Microsoft services, including Dynamics 365 in GxP-regulated scenarios.  

In a world where hybrid work has become the norm, a hands-on industry like pharma must adapt quickly. Leaders have shown great resilience and are now seeking ways to build on the value they’ve created. Learn more about how you can make the most of your talent, optimize operations, and innovate without limits using Microsoft mixed reality solutions by downloading our free eBook