Use of Extended Reality products in the workplace is a practice we already see being implemented across many industries. Of the XR family, Augmented Reality lends itself particularly well to enterprise applications.
Many AR products are lean on graphics, focused on data, and designed for handheld devices rather than headsets. As AR products become more agile and user-friendly, incorporating them into the workflow of a given enterprise setting becomes more viable.
So today we are taking a two-pronged approach to this topic. Where and how will AR and related tech be used professionally? And what jargon will we see related to AR for work environments in the coming years?
Where will AR Work?
The short answer is everywhere. Specifically though, medicine, engineering, industry, real estate, interior design, warehouse, and various retail settings are a few starting points. As this list is just the beginning, it bears reiterating that practical AR has far-reaching potential.
We also want to stress that we see AR as a tool, not a replacement for a worker. In the hands of professionals an AR app supplements expert work, elevating the result. We don’t see this tech replacing the need for a doctor, designer, service person, and so on. The human ‘touch’ is still invaluable.
AR apps on handheld devices are also in a prime position to interact with networked and wireless-enabled equipment already in use across much of the developed world. Our smart cities and digital lives are just waiting for a layer of XR enhancement.
How will AR Transform Work?
The incorporation of Augmented Reality into workplace tasks will necessarily reshape the tasks themselves. Systems checks, repairs, examinations, inventory, product reviews, and many other day-to-day procedures across many settings can potentially be more accurate, less invasive, and ideally faster and easier.
We refer to this evolution of raw data into imagery for AR and other XR applications as immersive analytics. Through these tools, we will be increasingly able to interact with data through virtual fingertips, using AI to facilitate interpretations. Immersive analytics will also help companies selectively receive data that matters to decision-making rather than the overwhelming flow of every single piece of information a networked piece of equipment collects.
Digital Twins in Industry
In industrial settings, devices in an IoT – anything from transit cameras to sewer sensors – could be managed through their digital twins whenever possible. Worker safety would go up while not interfering with necessary maintenance.
For example, an electrician might examine a problem with a dangerous high-voltage cable behind a concrete wall through the use of a tablet and a digital twin. He or she would have access to thermal readings and power output, making him or her much better prepared before the costly, time-consuming, and dangerous step of opening the wall takes place. In some cases, the hypothetical electrician would be able to correct a problem without actually touching wiring, perhaps not even having to cut power in a busy industrial setting.
However, for digital twins of working devices to do their jobs properly, they need to represent their physical counterparts exactly as they exist in the real world. This means translating all the associated wear-and-tear or design flaws present in the original. Has a pipe valve developed rust build-up? Is there any corrosion on a battery? A digital twin would need to replicate those elements.
Meanwhile digital twins of theoretical prototypes are already poised to provide benefits to industry. Digital twin design can eliminate the need for physical manufacturing until the invention has been perfected. Research and development in a virtual environment will save both resources and funds.
While XR works towards perfecting industrial digital twins, we expect to still see their implementation across a variety of workplace settings in the near future. We think this implementation will start with data-driven AR.
Enterprise Augmented Reality and virtual data will grow dramatically in the next few years. The resulting industrial environment will leave firms and systems not up-to-date in a problematic position.
Stambol’s XR and You Series brings you a collection of snapshots of how Extended Reality technology is changing our lives.
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