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Augmented Reality for Manufacturing

Manufacturing may well be the vertical where Augmented Reality (AR) is currently being used and accepted most frequently. That’s not surprising if you consider that so much of the manufacturing process requires a lot of training, engineering and documentation. AR is already assisting production lines to create faster, more up-to-date processes that in the end lead to increased efficiencies and better ROI.

According to Statista, an online statistics and business intelligence platform, the use of AR in conjunction with VR in the manufacturing sector has grown from $5 billion in 2016 to $29.5 billion in 2019. Manufacturers and their employees are embracing the new technologies as evidenced in the 2018 IDC study of AR Use Cases. In that study, 82% of those surveyed responded positively to the use of AR in the manufacturing process.

We’ve already talked about training with the use of AR–and that’s still a large part of the manufacturing use case. According to the IDC May 2018 study, production line training is still the number one reason manufacturers are using AR and for the following reasons:

  • Increased efficiencies and safety
  • Improved training (hands-free) and easier knowledge transfer
  • Better collaboration
  • Easier remote training with lower travel costs
  • Up-to-date documentation

But there are other compelling reasons to adopt AR as part of the manufacturing process, including:

  • Greater team collaboration for product line planning
  • Assisting with product design
  • Faster, more economical product iteration for increased manufacturing efficiency and improved product quality

With the help of AR, product planning teams can address the aesthetics and functionality of a product. Designers, product engineers and other team members will have greater insight with a 3D visual of the proposed product. Multiple prototypes can be created virtually, viewed, tested and analyzed in real-time in real-world situations, from anywhere. The result is a product with improved design and optimized functionality created with fewer iterations–at a lower cost for a positive ROI.

Are you ready to talk about how AR can improve your business processes? Whatever your use case may be, call 800-803-1050 or Contact Us to see how easy it is to get your business AR ready. We are enabling digital transformation for everyday business.

Augmented Reality for Sales & Marketing

In the last blog we talked about the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and the real-world use cases, primarily pertaining to service related industries and industries with a service component, such as appliances, automobiles or electronic equipment. These industries are already adopting the use of AR as part of their training component for reasons that include:

  • Increased efficiency and safety
  • Improved training (hands-free) and knowledge transfer
  • Better collaboration
  • Easier remote training with lower travel costs

The IDC study of May 2018 also found that AR is being adopted for customer facing opportunities in Sales and Marketing. This is not surprising when you consider that most people have a more positive reaction to more engaging visual stimuli such as that provided by AR. In the past, sales involved a lot of brochures and paper catalogs. For companies that have adopted the new technology, products are being digitized as 3D assets and can be served up in AR via a tablet, a phone, or even through AR goggles.

This is a win for the sales people who can’t necessarily haul around or demonstrate the capabilities of large items but who can present that information for the items via AR. 62% of the respondents to the IDC survey chose "product demonstrations without the hassle of transporting the item" as their primary reason for using AR. Another 59% responded that placing a digital version of a product in a client’s environment and offering virtual customizations was an important tool for closing deals.

Not surprisingly, customers were also interested in the digitized instruction manuals offered with the product sales.

Sales people will adopt the best technologies to assist with the sales cycle, and in the May 2018 IDC study 65% of those who responded to the survey felt they saw a positive return on investment with the use of AR as a sales tool. More than half the respondents cited shorter sales cycles with customers being able to visualize the products remotely. Reduced travel costs on the part of the sales person also contributed to a positive ROI.

For those of you who are still skeptical about the validity of AR for business use, it’s beginning to look like a no-brainer. Maybe it’s time to get on the bandwagon and adopt the technology. We can assist with constructing a plan to incorporate AR into your business as well as provide help with your 3D content.

Whatever your use case may be, call 800-803-1050 or Contact Us to see how easy it is to get your business AR ready. We are enabling digital transformation for everyday business.

Augmented Reality Improves Business Processes

In past blog posts we’ve talked about real-world uses for Augmented Reality (AR). The thing is, too many business people are still under the impression that AR use cases are some pie-in-the-sky fantasy and are something to think about in the future. The reality is that the “future” is already here.

Augmented Reality is being used on a daily basis to streamline and improve business processes that save time and money. According to a study done by International Data Corporation (IDC) in  May of 2018, worldwide, spending on AR Enterprise software, services and hardware will increase from $8 billion in 2018 to a projected $19.2 billion in 2019.

According to this same study, the biggest impact of AR is currently in companies with a service based component and companies with specific needs around knowledge transfer and training, sales and marketing, and manufacturing. Waiting to incorporate AR as part of company process is no longer an option if a business wants to remain competitive.

For the sake of brevity, let’s concentrate on knowledge transfer and training. AR is already changing the way work gets done. It’s changing how knowledge is transferred from veteran employees to new hires and how ongoing training is managed. Knowledge transfer and training are logical use cases for AR because they both require a connection with the physical world. Since augmented reality operates by overlaying digital information on top of a real-world physical environment, knowledge transfer and training both lend themselves to positive AR experiences.

In the IDC study, respondents were asked to list the top reasons their company was interested in AR to make them more competitive. Responses related to training and knowledge transfer included the following:

  • Increased efficiency, including improved first-time fix rates
  • Increased safety
  • Improved training and knowledge transfer
  • Enabling hands-free work and training
  • Better collaboration among team members and teams
  • Easier remote training
  • Lower travel costs

Whether for current employees or new hires, there is a compelling case for using AR for training and knowledge transfer. Because content for AR is digital, it can be updated as needed without the expense of printing manuals. More importantly, trainees are displaying a faster learning curve with the use of AR.

If you haven’t already considered AR for your business, it’s probably time to think seriously about it. Depending on the scope of the project, it’s important to factor in a development time line for incorporating the technology into your business. From constructing a plan to incorporate AR or providing help with your 3D content, we're here to assist.

Whatever your use case call 800-803-1050 or Contact Us to see how easy it is to get your business AR ready. We are enabling digital transformation for everyday business.

This Changes Everything

VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), mixed reality, spatial computing—this is technology that is changing the way we do business. Companies are rapidly adapting to and using these new digital technologies to create better brand experiences, enhance training, and to collaborate and communicate.

Until now, creating content that works with these advanced platforms has been an obstacle to implementation for many. Most businesses do not have access to the knowledge and skills or software expertise to produce viewable and engaging content for this type of platform nor do they have any idea how to implement it for their business. That's all changing with the development of online tools designed to assist with the conversion of your content for use in the 3D spatial computing environment.

First, a little history about the evolution of VR and AR. According to the Virtual Reality Society, VR is considered to have begun in the 1950s with early elements having roots as far back as the 1860s—long before it became a new form of digital technology. Today it is used extensively in cinema, gaming applications, the military, healthcare and sports and many more industries.

Whereas VR immerses the user in an artificial world, AR—the next logical step in this evolution of the technology—is an interactive experience of the real-world environment overlaid with 3D computer generated information and images which interact together and can be digitally manipulated. The viewer perceives this information as part of the real world. AR is sometimes referred to as spatial computing or a mixed reality environment.

AR is rapidly becoming a tool for use in all industries. For example, in retail sales, customers can now try on virtual clothing in every size and shape without inventory as an issue. Or a client can compare products, colors, and design options for furniture, appliances, flooring, countertops, new car interiors and more. Retail brands can introduce new products at a trade show without physically having the item at the show—reducing shipping costs and space limitations for previously prohibited large equipment items. Moving forward, AR technology will be prevalent in new cars, identifying things like hazards ahead and frequently used lanes.

In the construction and design industries, AR is being used for everything from visualizing current pipe configuration in a remodel to imagining a new build on a property to picking out and placing appliances, cabinetry, flooring in a new home. Architects and designers can create life size 3D replicas of their designs, and remote clients can walk through 3D structures without leaving their office or home. In addition, AR can help architects and clients discover any problems or design flaws prior to the build, giving them time to work out a solution before beginning construction, saving on time and costs. Changes to plans can be made in real time and viewed instantly by all for approval or revisions.

For training purposes and even as a teaching tool AR is proving to be valuable. Visual learners benefit from the visualization capabilities of AR that can bring concepts to life as 3D objects or renderings. Visual learners are more engaged and retain more knowledge. Information provided in a digital format and viewable using AR can be updated rapidly and in real-time, decreasing risks, errors and transfer of outdated information and the costs associated with those issues. By providing real-time updated information and training a company can potentially eliminate or lower risks for injury in dangerous settings such as power plants or manufacturing facilities. It also decreases training costs by presenting hands-on relevant training without costly dated printed materials. With AR, information and data can be passed to a student or employee in real-time.

For those looking for a way to launch AR for their brand or company, the makeSEA platform makes it easy to generate unique 3D visuals from existing files of any format and gives everyday businesses the ability to wow their customers, enhance their offerings and differentiate themselves from the competition. The makeSEA professional services team can assist with diligence and strategy for a successful implementation and a positive ROI.

Utilize the makeSEA platform to implement Augmented Reality for your business:

  • With no barriers to entry.
  • No barriers to development.
  • Automatically convert your existing 3D content into AR content. makeSEA leverages the models and data you’ve already created.

Whatever your use case call 800-803-1050 or Contact Us to see how easy it is to get your business AR ready. We are enabling digital transformation for everyday business.

AR as a Reference and Training Tool

Augmented Reality (AR) is poised to bring dramatic changes to everyday life, so its not hard to imagine that it is already impacting the workplace. AR technology dates back to the mid-1990s, but now it isn’t considered just a tool for gaming apps–it's proving to be an ally for the work force. AR, and the mixed reality environment it offers, has the potential to improve employee productivity, as it enhances training and skills.

Because this technology provides the ability to overlay information in the context of the real world, let's think about the possibilities for training and repair manuals. Mixed reality devices can allow a worker to view an updated repair manual while performing repairs with their hands, free from a required controller or a manual. Training would also benefit from the same scenario, as workers can participate with hands-on training rather than observing a procedure. And the possibilities for collaboration are endless by enabling remote teams to see exactly what someone is working on in real time so that they can provide suggestions and direction.

Because the information in use for the AR device and the mixed reality experience is a digital version it provides the opportunity to have the latest, most accurate information available, when and where it’s needed most. As workers learn how to use the digital reality hardware, less time will be spent in off-site training so productivity increases. In addition, experienced workers can continually contribute to the knowledge base, preserving valuable skills over time.

As an example, a maintenance worker, engineer or mechanic could look at a specific make or model of a piece of equipment and be safely taken through the diagnostics and repairs in real time with the use of updated digital content. The expense of retraining a work force is considerably less since employees have access to a system that is continually updated with the most current information. Businesses also have the potential to eliminate the enormous expense of creating and printing new manuals to replace outdated versions. This is truly digital transformation at work.

There are so many possibilities for embedding this technology into employee and business processes and workflows. If you are interested in exploring the possibilities, makeSEA and the Magic Leap technology are available to assist with your transformation. Contact Us for a demonstration or free trial.

Check Out the makeSEA Mash Market® for a collection of useful designs related to this Wiki article.

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