Demand for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is increasing exponentially as pioneers explore the business significance and roles AR / VR can play in workforce enablement, client experience and interaction. This developing innovation holds enormous value for changing the manner in which these organizations work. By enlivening products that buyers can purchase with only one click, AR / VR, in its relative early stages, can help drive and enhance customer engagement as well as provide an extreme increment in an organization’s bottom line. AR and VR are redefining what’s possible in healthcare, as well as other sectors.
Defining Augmented Reality –
Augmented reality is a technology that blends real-world elements with virtual ones. For example, a person might visit a trade show and aim their smartphone at a display to activate an AR experience that allows them to see a computer-generated version of a product.
Defining Virtual Reality –
Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment and educational purposes. Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality.
Augmented reality and virtual reality are used in several sectors and contexts, from healthcare to retail to manufacturing and engineering. Yet, it’s in manufacturing that augmented reality offers greater value in myriad applications, in combination with several other technologies such as digital twin, internet of things, analytics, data science, cloud and edge computing to name a few. The use of AR and VR in manufacturing and other industries for which the term Industry 4.0 gets used is not fiction. Manufacturers are increasing their digital transformation efforts on the strategic and staged path towards the realization of Industry 4.0. It is happening as we speak (or read) and is poised to accelerate as the benefits become increasingly clear, infrastructure mature and move to the next level.
A few of the use cases where AR/VR augmented with Industrial IoT is transforming the manufacturing space are:
Use Case #1 – Designing and Prototyping:
In the initial stages, VR can simulate or demonstrate how a product would look like without creating a physical prototype. Ford Motors used its own FIVE (Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment) virtual reality technology before it was considered cool. It helped their engineers create virtual representations of yet non-existent vehicles in the tiniest detail. Transmission of these designs into virtual car environments enabled the engineers to see what it is like to be inside of the future car. We are already aware of how consumer Oculus and HTC headsets had hit and disrupted the market. These headsets also have a use in training internal employees or service engineers.
Use Case #2 – Real-Time Training and Employee Instruction:
AR and VR are widely used for training employees or providing instructions to service engineers during repair and maintenance. The technology can also be used for employee instruction and education as it can simulate every possible process and environment. A worker gets virtual instructions projected into his device or AR glasses as he proceeds with his work. The data in real time helps the personnel with quicker learning capabilities and helps them fix the issues swiftly. Such training help the organization save weeks or even months and accounts for eliminating the notorious human factor and avoid mistakes. We recently built a Virtual Reality (VR) based technology solution to increase the effectiveness of training for one of our clients. Learn more, here.
Use Case #3 – Manage Inventory:
Even though the complex process of managing inventory databases has already been streamlined by AI algorithms, the task of picking a product from a warehouse shelf and arranging as well as organizing it still involves manual labour. AR technology with wearables makes this process quicker and more precise. A warehouse worker holding an iPad or wearing Microsoft HoloLens (or any other headset, for that matter) gets instructions about the exact location of a particular item and is guided to the very aisle and shelf where it is stored. This not only helps in saving time but it also helps in getting the products faster to the end users. We recently built a Virtual reality enabled real time Order picking and Sorting Solution through Order picking with a vision. Learn more, here.
Use Case #4 – Preventing Physical Damages and Disruptions:
VR is helping to predict and potentially evade the hazards and disruption risks associated with the use of an assembly line. Manufacturing companies can indicate potential threats and eliminate them long before they even arise by simulating a production environment. This helps reduce downtime as well as repair and maintenance expenses. It further helps in enhancing employee security.
Benefits of AR/VR:
- Better Time-to-Market:-
Access to training courses helps save time and cost required to get training from experienced coaches. This leads in increased agility and quicker response for the organizations.
- No Downtime or Disruptions:-
Simulating key processes and performing virtual tests helps in minimizing/reducing mistakes that could otherwise lead to possible disruptions.
- Increased Security:-
AR/VR solutions help in increasing predictability of failures thereby helping in increased security.
- Better Quality:-
AR/VR brings increased precision and quality not just in the manufacturing processes but also in the manufactured goods.
- Reduced Expenses:-
By eliminating the costly trial and error phase, AR/VR solutions help organizations ensure bottom-line growth.
It’s important to remember that the cases discussed here are just a small handful of the true potential this technology has to offer, especially in manufacturing and product development. Pratiti Technologies is a leading digital product development company specialized in digital technologies such as AR/VR, analytics, digital twin, data science, cloud computing, edge computing and internet of things. Using our digital product development expertise, we have successfully delivered several projects of varied size, shape and complexity ahead of schedule. We have our own accelerator program that aids in delivering solutions even faster to reduce the go to time to market for our customers. If you need expert advice on AR/VR implementation or a solution or have a unique use case, please reach out to us.
After successful 5 years stint in a corporate role, Nitin is back to what he enjoys most – conceptualizing new software solutions to solve business problems. Nitin is postgraduate from IIT, Mumbai, India and in his 19 years of career, has played key roles in building a desktop as well as enterprise solutions right from idealization to launch which are adopted by many Fortune 500 companies. As a Founder member of Pratiti Technologies, he is committed to applying his management learning as well as the passion for building new solutions to realize your innovation with certainty.