Updated: Jul 29
When you think "augmented reality," you may immediately think about the summer where everyone was catching pocket monsters in Pokémon Go, or that period in 2014-2015 when people were checking emails and notifications on the futuristic but odd-looking Google Glass. What you may not know, however, is that AR has since transitioned to a different market, with AR developers instead focusing on industries like healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing.
Where AR excels is at what these three industries have in common. Each one has established procedures for different problems or situations, but their complexity raises a need for streamlining. Augmented reality has the potential to fill this gap, whether through remote experts, location-based guidance, or visual overlays that display essential data.
Take Thyssenkrupp, for instance, an elevator company that elected to supply technicians with Microsoft HoloLens headsets. Software on the headsets is able to identify the type of elevator being repaired, offer instruction guides on the process, and point out which parts will be needed, and any relevant data. With this technology, Thyssenkrupp was able to cut down on the time needed for elevator technicians to conduct maintenance services by 80 percent.
Similarly, AR company Fieldbit teamed up with Mekorot, Israel's national water company, to introduce AR implementation designed to save technicians time when performing maintenance in the field. On average, technicians with AR smart glasses were able to complete their maintenance tasks about 15-20% faster. In addition, they were able to record their process, without the need for bulky backpacks or helmets, which they had previously used to record footage. Not only did this make maintenance work easier, but it also has the potential to save companies money, by reducing the amount of equipment needed for tasks.
Not only can AR revolutionize the way maintenance tasks are performed, but how training is conducted as well. Dynamics 365 Guides for HoloLens 2 are the perfect example of how this can be done. With this software, any enterprise user can easily create in-depth, location-based guides to train or guide anyone operating the headset. These guides are not necessarily just for new trainees either. They can be completely customized, enabling guides to be created for even experienced employees who may run into an uncommon issue.
There are also a few ways that augmented reality can prove useful to logistics operations. The first way is that AR smart glasses, when paired with camera-equipped drones, can be used to inspect large warehouses. While traditional methods of warehouse inspection may take longer, require specific equipment, or may even be dangerous, augmented reality drone piloting can reduce the time and resources to perform inspections.
The other case that could help optimize logistics is through AR-supported picking. A software called xPick has been created by AR developer TeamViewer to help streamline inventory management, order picking, and managing incoming and outgoing orders. Rather than having to memorize inventory locations, or return to a central computer, warehouse staff can simply have the location of relevant items broadcast straight to their vision.
This article is not all-encompassing, and there are many more augmented reality solutions that can suit any business. If you are interested in purchasing tech for your business, feel free to contact us for a consultation.