Duke Energy teams with ITS to offer customized virtual reality training programs for energy company workers nationwide

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  • Courses can be tailored to meet each utility’s specific needs.

  • Training modules available for natural gas, electric, other energy companies.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) today announced it is offering virtual reality training services branded “Virtual Crew” to energy companies and contractors nationwide.

With Virtual Crew, Duke Energy can customize simulated field training and qualifications to meet each company’s specific needs, as well as offer existing virtual reality (VR) training modules. Industrial Training Services (ITS) will collaborate with Duke Energy to pair interested clients with the service and provide a compliance-tracking solution.

“The benefits of VR training are clear. With our experience in this area, Duke Energy now is uniquely positioned to offer informed, customized VR programs tailored to meet the needs of energy companies both large and small,” said Brian Weisker, chief operations officer of natural gas at Duke Energy. “ITS, with its history of providing innovative service dedicated to the energy industry, is the perfect choice to help us expand this training to energy companies nationwide.”

In addition, VR training completed in Virtual Crew will be documented just like any traditional written exam, performance evaluation or training record, thanks to integration with ITS’ learning management system, OnBoard® LMS.

“Virtual Crew is a natural extension of ITS’ history of innovation, using technology to simplify and enhance worker training,” said Stephanie Balmer, president and COO of ITS. “ITS is thrilled to work with Duke Energy to add virtual reality to our portfolio of industry-leading training and curriculum, and we look forward to future product enhancements that continue to meet the needs of the energy industry.”

Existing VR modules include natural gas leak detection surveys, line purging, joining plastic pipe and electric substation inspection. Programs also can be created for non-utility scenarios, such as active shooter response.

“Since introducing the Virtual Crew program to employees in our natural gas business unit in 2020, Duke Energy has continued to develop engaging, immersive virtual reality training,” Weisker said. “Building on that success, we’ve expanded the program to include training for the company’s electric employees.”

Duke Energy’s natural gas business unit will realize savings of approximately three hours in training time per technician per course through the use of VR, and forecasts annual savings of more than $500,000 in operational costs, including travel and instructor expenses.

Technicians trained through VR were able to perform tasks three times faster than technicians receiving classroom-based training.

Other benefits of VR training include:

  • An immersive and interactive experience: The user can interact with the virtual environment in lifelike simulations.
  • The opportunity for sensory reaction: Immersion triggers the user's emotions in addition to multiple senses, giving the sensation of reality.
  • Real-time feedback: Users can experience the real-time consequences of their choices in a safe environment.
  • Increased focus: VR uniquely focuses the user's attention on the training experience.

To learn more about the development of the VR technology behind Virtual Crew, visit Duke Energy's illumination site. Companies interested in Virtual Crew can email VirtualCrew@duke-energy.com for more information.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,500 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to operate or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2021 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.


Industrial Training Services, a woman-owned small business headquartered in Murray, Ky., has provided innovative training products and best-in-class support to the energy industry for over 30 years. ITS is dedicated to maintaining lasting customer relationships by providing groundbreaking and industry-proven compliance tools, training, and products to streamline complex operations and help meet safety, regulatory, and qualification standards.

ITS has been the first to market for a variety of digital products to support the pipeline industry, helping to replace cumbersome, outdated paper processes and give business leaders the peace of mind their employees are well-trained and records are secure. ITS is also approved as an Accredited Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), demonstrating compliance with ANSI/IACET Standards and authorized to offer IACET CEUs.

ITS clients are found in all 50 states and are among the largest energy compliance providers in the nation. For more information or to contact a member of the ITS team, visit its-training.com. Follow ITS on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Media contact: Jason Wheatley
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