This post is the second of a 3-part series. Check back in next week for the conclusion of this series.

In the first part of this series, we looked at the fundamental ideas behind what has been called “Industry 4.0” – and how a host of new technologies are helping companies transform themselves to become true digital industrial enterprises.

One of the key underlying technologies for Industry 4.0 – identified  in the PwC 2016 Global Industry Survey that we referenced in the first part of this series – is Augmented Reality (AR).

In this second part of the series, we will look at how AR technologies integrate with many of the other key components of a digital industrial enterprise strategy (including Internet of Things (IoT) devices and Big Data) to enable a complete change to the way industrial enterprises do business.

The first thing to recognize in the development of a digital industrial enterprise strategy is just how interlocking all the pieces are. In an Augmented Reality scenario, the first interlocking point may be predictive maintenance.

Framework from PwC 2016 Global Industry 4.0 Survey

A digital industrial enterprise in manufacturing, for example, will have a lot of historical data about the reliability of its elements and processes – and will use that data to establish a predictive maintenance schedule. If you have data that tells you that doing maintenance on a given part of a manufacturing line every six weeks will lead to fewer breakdowns and failures than if you do that maintenance every two months, you will learn the lessons the data has to offer and make that change to maintenance schedules. That data may also reveal to you why it is that the line needs so much maintenance.

Similarly, if you use IoT sensors to provide even more data about what is happening throughout the manufacturing facility – and get a real-time, holistic view of where the problems lie – you’ll be able to have much more information to tackle those problems quickly and efficiently.

Then, when you bring Augmented Reality solutions into the picture, you will have an even clearer picture of the issues you’re trying to resolve. In this scenario, you may have a service technician wearing smart glasses equipped with Atheer’s AiR Enterprise application who is sent in to fix or maintain some part of the manufacturing line.

So the service technician will be able to pull up historical reliability data, information about previous system breakdowns – and any data available from relevant IoT devices throughout the manufacturing facility – right from within the smart glasses and use that information to troubleshoot the problem.

If all that doesn’t provide enough information to complete the repair or maintenance task, the technician can also use the smart glasses to do a “see what I see” video conference call with remote experts who can provide further insight.

 

In the third part of our digital industrial enterprise series, we’ll take a closer look at the kinds of future capabilities that augmented reality solutions will enable as organizations continue their journey to becoming digital industrial enterprises.