The world of manufacturing has seen large-scale digitisation in the last few years, manifesting itself in a variety of ways, from computing infrastructure to AI analytics.
This digitisation has broadly been called the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT. In the last couple of years, it’s been steadily rising in prominence. This graph from CB Insights points to that trend.
Wall Street Journal surveyed to find that industrial manufacturing companies are far above average in adopting IoT than other asset-heavy areas like automotive, energy and utilities. Our experience helping manufacturers implement IIoT corroborates this.
As manufacturers get comfortable with innovative tech, use cases also become easier to identify and solve for. In the last few months, one of the use cases we decided to explore (after repeated client requests) was Augmented Reality for manufacturing.
Over 70% manufacturers have said that their workers’ primary purpose is to guide automated technology. Today, people on the plant floor are expected to be a lot more skilled than they were in the past. Augmented Reality can help workers understand machines better, aid productivity and cut down training time drastically.
To answer this, we need to look at a few of the most promising AR use cases that we’ve implemented for our clients.
In addition to being a hands-free browser that can communicate KPIs, AR can analyse complicated machines and map out machine parts lucidly and visually – A live, 3D instructional. Between that and animated assembly tutorials (like IKEA is doing), trainees get a visual understanding of how machines work, improving retention drastically.
By using AR headsets like Leap Motion or using mobile and iPad cameras to highlight parts on the equipment, field agents can identify and fix problems instantly. If they need support, the headset can connect with experts in real time and the experts can interact with the agent’s AR display and guide them.
Too often, manufacturers hit a sales roadblock because of a classic problem: Employee proficiency. The ones doing field sales don’t know enough to talk tech with business owners, and the ones that do know enough aren’t in sales. AR can help break this catch-22, by mapping out and labeling every part of the machine. This provides a quick reference guide for sales professionals, giving them talking points, and also enables business owners to better visualize what they’re buying, and make considered choices.
Here is Elon Musk interacting with his design using Leap Motion’s hand tracking technology.
We’re exploring all these AR use cases and more in our upcoming webinar “How to leverage AR for industry 4.0”. This will be a free webinar for manufacturers around the world, in collaboration with Leap Motion, a leading AR platform.
For those attending the webinar, we’ll be offering a 40-hour free consultation with our AR/IIoT experts and you can use this time to explore and find the right use cases for your factory.