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 have already deployed AR and have calculated their ROI. Here we discuss just of the ways they are using AR.

There are a lot of great reasons for your company to begin using AR technology.

Perhaps the most compelling of these examples comes from field services. Repairing complex, mission-critical machinery more effectively yields massive payoffs for enterprises.

For example, one of our aviation industry customers faces costs of up to $50,000 per hour when one of the company’s airplanes is grounded and not in service due to a mechanical problem.

Put yourself in the shoes of an airplane mechanic trying to fix an extraordinarily complex, often customized, airplane. This is where smart glasses 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?

Smart glasses 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 interaction software, 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 smart glasses to navigate through virtual screens of information.
  • The mechanic can use collaboration software such as Atheer’s AiR Enterprise™ to collaborate with an expert in another location. Through his smart glasses, the mechanic can share what he sees with a remote expert. He can then 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 or her hands full of tools, is wearing gloves, or has to be in an awkward position. With smart glasses, 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 such as utilities, oil and 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 smart glasses offer.

For example, addressing needed repairs often 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. This typically means significant 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 smart glasses and “conferencing an expert in” to the situation through AiR Enterprise software.

The possibilities for completely re-engineering industrial enterprise processes, thanks to the capabilities of smart glasses, are almost limitless.

For instance, think about an all-new approach to customer support that involves empowering your customers to do some maintenance with smart glasses under the supervision of remote experts.

Anyone who sells complex machines that are distributed – such as semiconductors, electronics manufacturing, construction equipment, or large-scale printers – can reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction using the technology available today through such smart glasses.

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 as smart glasses 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 repair person again? AR stands to improve our everyday lives.

The many use cases for smart glasses 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 more quickly 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, industrial enterprises will be able to let those experts work from a central location and travel far less often. Using smart glasses and AR to provide remote support, those experts can “virtually” leverage their expertise to help customers directly – or help less-skilled local personnel to help those customers – in handling critical, time-sensitive work.

The expertise of a remote expert will produce incredible results at a fraction of the cost. This is why using smart glasses for field services is one of the most valuable use cases for AR today.

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If you or your team would like to learn about how to bring the benefits of AR to your company, 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 customersuccess@atheerair.com.

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