Apr 11, 2019Small Business

Meet the Virtual Reality Company Improving Worker Safety

Australian businesses are at the forefront of helping natural gas companies transform their working environments using immersive virtual reality technology.

Interactive virtual recreations of natural gas sites are now being used by the industry to improve decision making, enhance collaboration, reduce on-boarding issues and give access to data in a spatial context.

Gas companies are ‘simulating’ their work environments, creating an immersive interactive environment which allows teams to scope their project site before physically travelling there. The benefit of this means teams can get a proper understanding of what work needs to take place in advance.

Perth-based company Sentient Computing is currently working with companies such as Shell to work more effectively by leveraging their sites in a virtual environment.

“These platforms are great way for teams to familiarise themselves with their remote sites, especially complex gas plants,” managing director Doug Bester said.

“The virtual environments we create allow teams to simulate their tasks before going to site so they are immediately productive when they arrive. They will know exactly where everything is and how to get there – from the permit office to the lay down areas.”

The company has a team of 28 staff and contractors who have deployed over 250 solutions to clients globally since 2000.

“Virtual reality and gaming software and hardware is changing the way the industry conducts their operations,” Mr Bester explained.

“They are able to plan better and make better decisions. Employees in multiple locations can train in the one virtual location, reducing travel costs.”

The relationship is mutually beneficial. Work with the natural gas industry has enabled Sentient and other companies like it to build on their existing portfolios and expand their operations. It’s part of the on-going story of natural gas supporting small businesses in the supply chain around Australia.

Read more about Sentient Computing on their website.


Income from natural gas doesn’t just benefit those directly employed by the industry but does a lot to support the local communities that host gas projects. Small businesses and local economies in host communities and around the country benefit from this income.