How Companies Are Using Augmented Reality Software and Hardware Today
As a leader in Augmented Reality (AR) hardware and software technology, we respond to many inquiries regarding when to deploy AR in the workplace alongside questions about when ROI from such implementations will be realized. Many companies already have deployed AR and have calculated their ROI. This piece discusses some of these use cases.
There are a lot of great reasons for your company to begin using AR technology. Perhaps the most compelling of these examples come from field services. Repairing complex, mission-critical machinery more effectively yields massive payoffs for enterprises. For example, one of our airline customers faces costs of up to $50,000 per hour when one of the company’s airplanes is grounded and not in service because of a mechanical problem. Put yourself in the shoes of an airplane mechanic trying to fix an extraordinarily complex, often customized, airplane. This is where smartglasses help a great deal with fixing things: the information that the mechanic needs in order to repair the plane appears literally right in front of his eyes. How? Smartglasses help mechanics fix grounded airplanes in three key ways:
If the mechanic needs manuals, documentation, or other information, these tools are readily available and accessible on virtual screens right in his field of vision. This helps the mechanic do his job better and faster, and the information provided can be fully contextual. In the case of Atheer’s AiR Glasses, information can be accessed and manipulated hands-free, even while wearing gloves. Gestures made in the air in the visual field are what enable the wearer of the smartglasses to navigate through virtual screens of information.
The mechanic can use collaboration software such as Atheer’s AiR Suite to collaborate with an expert in another location. Through his smartglasses, the mechanic can share what he sees with a remote expert. He then can interact with the expert, viewing drawings on one of his virtual screens or receiving specific guidance overlaid onto the area in need of repair. This is the significant benefit that Augmented Reality delivers: taking something in the real-world visual field and using computer-aided technology to overlay information onto it.
Step by step instructions can be established, followed, and navigated via voice or hand gestures. Directions can be made richer, contextual, and conditional based upon the completion of prior steps.
At $50,000 per hour, using AR technology saves airlines a great deal of money. Existing technologies, like looking things up on a laptop, aren’t practical when a mechanic has his hands full of tools, is wearing gloves, or has to be in an awkward position. With smartglasses, the mechanic works smarter, faster, and collaboratively if needed, reducing expensive ground delays. The cost-savings as well as quality-control and error reductions are significant.
Large and immediate cost savings are not available to airlines alone. We hear similar and even larger numbers for customers in industries like utilities, oil & gas, and heavy machinery. When a transmission line is broken or when an oil rig is not producing, the cost of downtime can be dramatic, and so are the savings that smartglasses offer. For example, addressing needed repairs oftentimes requires that experts travel to very remote places. We hear this, for instance, from a mining company with operations in Chile that often requires U.S.-based experts to visit with great travel and downtime costs. Travel time and physical presence is no longer an issue when expert consultation involves any field worker donning a pair of AR smartglasses and conferencing the expert into the situation through AiR Suite software.
The possibilities for completely re-engineering processes thanks to the capabilities of smartglasses are momentous. For instance, think about an all-new approach to customer support that involves empowering your customers to do some maintenance with smartglasses under the supervision of remote experts. Anyone who sells complex machines that are distributed, like semiconductors, electronics manufacturing, construction equipment, or large-scale printers can reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction using the technology available today through such smartglasses.
While the focus of AR right now is in the enterprise arena, its value in homes will be known soon, too. These same techniques referenced above for fixing an airplane easily could apply to repairing a car or a dishwasher as AR technologies and smartglasses become more available, lighter and economical. Even though the cost savings will be smaller in economic value, they will not be insignificant, especially when factors like flexibility and convenience are considered. Can you imagine never waiting for a repairman again? AR stands to improve our everyday lives.
The many use cases for smartglasses will continue to unveil themselves as AR technologies continue to be adopted at a rapid pace. It is likely that the biggest upside of AR may not be about doing jobs quicker and eliminating trouble, but, rather, about rethinking the way that the work is done altogether. Instead of having scarce experts traveling all over the world to fix things, companies will be able to put people in a central location and then rely on the customers themselves or on less-skilled local personnel to do critical, time-sensitive work. The expertise of a remote expert will produce incredible results at a fraction of the cost. This is why using smartglasses for field services is among the most valuable use case for AR today.
If you or your team would benefit from talking through the ways you seek to innovate your enterprise through AR solutions, or if you have questions, please let us know. Atheer has a Customer Success Team that would be glad to share their insights. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.