More and more we hear (and read) that augmented reality is on a rise and it will be a billion-dollar market soon1. Pokémon Go has proven that in the world of gaming a lot of opportunities present themselves for using augmented reality. Also marketing and retail companies are discovering the benefits of using augmented reality.
But what about industry? In general, we can say that most industrial companies are playing the waiting game. Of course there are always the exceptions but in general it takes some time to see new technologies available on the market at work in industrial companies.
Augmented reality is among the new technologies that enter industrial companies at a very slow pace. But is it a good idea for industrial companies to wait and see whether augmented reality is only a hype or whether it becomes the next big thing?
Here are 7 reasons why industrial companies need to adapt augmented reality much faster than they do today:
1. Augmented reality is not a hype
There are various market evolutions and study reports that support this statement. For example, all big tech companies (Google2, Apple3, Microsoft4, …) are developing hardware or software related to augmented reality. And then there is Magic Leap, an augmented reality ‘start up’ that raised $793.5M Series C funding at a $4.5B valuation5. And their commercial product has not even launched yet.
Also, following to a Beecham Research6, while a lot of hypes are focusing on consumer technology, in the case of augmented reality it will be enterprise applications that will be the driving force behind the growth of augmented reality.
So, make no mistakes, augmented reality is a technology that will stay and evolve.
2. The era of Industry 4.0 has already started
Industry 4.0 is defined by McKinsey as the “Digitization of the industrial (manufacturing) sector”7. According to this definition we already are working in the Industry 4.0 era. The use of enterprise software is almost common these days and (big) data collection and analysis are not so unfamiliar anymore. We see a digital transformation that is the foundation for Industry 4.0 technologies. Augmented reality is one of the technologies that are mentioned in the context of Industry 4.0. Augmented reality has the major feature of making data visible for the user in real time while it’s interacting with the real world.
3. Real time information exactly where you need it
With augmented reality we add virtual information by means of a smart device to the real world. For example, we can add virtual 3D objects like tools and spare parts, but also equipment status information, technical plans, data sheets, etc.
The advantage is that we can provide this information in real time on the spot where needed. For example, when performing pump maintenance, a smart device is used to display a step-by-step work instruction. Every necessary piece of information is projected on the smart device and virtually ‘attached’ to the relevant component in the real world. Additional information is only one ‘click’ away.
4. Digitized instructions
Using Augmented reality demands your data is digitized. Digitized instructions have a lot of advantages compared to paper instructions. You don’t need a ‘physical’ storage place anymore. You can have access from anywhere at any time and no more copy work when more than one person needs access. History can be searched faster. And of course it’s a simple solution to integrate in your enterprise software which makes it easier to perform data analyses and to continuously improve and adapt.
5. Independent and personalized training programs
With augmented reality you can train people individually or in group in their own pace on an interactive way. A smart device shows step-by-step training instructions. A faster learning curve will be the result, people can train independent from others and a physical trainer don’t need to be present all the time.
6. Less skilled technicians/operators performing higher skilled tasks
Not only becoming an expert by upfront training with augmented reality applications has his benefits. Also being supported by augmented reality applications on site during task executing is one of the benefits of augmented reality. Being supported by a ‘digital companion’ ensures that less skilled technicians and operators can perform tasks that today are mainly being executed by higher skilled colleagues. A big advantage knowing that within a few years a large number of skilled experts will leave the labor market, mainly through retirement.
7. Gaining efficiency = gaining competitiveness
Providing upfront training, providing support and making information immediately available where needed with the help of augmented reality finally results in a faster task execution, less execution errors, less damaged equipment due to execution errors, more equipment uptime, in short a higher efficiency. And let this be the biggest challenge of industrial companies today: gaining efficiency to gain competitiveness or at least to stay competitive.
If you want to know more about this technology or you would like a demo, don’t hesitate to contact us.