Which areas can benefit from AR technologies

Advantages of virtual and augmented reality: How can your company benefit from the technologies?

According to a study by Pricewatercooperhouse, sales of 150 million euros were achieved with virtual reality (VR) products in Germany in 2019. The largest sales market: the gaming industry. So it's not surprising that most people associate technology solely with entertainment. But virtual reality as well as augmented reality (AR) are not only interesting for the end consumer market, they also have enormous potential for companies. Restrictions that exist in reality can be lifted in virtual applications or reality can be expanded with virtual elements. These possibilities can make processes more efficient, save costs and contribute to occupational safety.

New form of collaboration through virtual reality

Since Corona, video conferences and telephone switching have dominated our everyday work. Often, however, you lack the physical presence of your colleagues and collaboration is often more cumbersome than on site. With the help of virtual reality, completely new forms of online collaboration are opening up. VR meeting tools can be valuable for day-to-day collaboration. Because your colleagues and employees have a stronger presence in the virtual space than over the phone or webcam. In addition, the room offers you a variety of visualization options that go beyond classic PowerPoint presentations and bland diagrams.

Let's take the example of product design. All parties involved - designers, engineers, product managers - can come together in the virtual room and discuss the current status of work using a 3D model. Instead of sending sketches and documents from A to B and commenting on them, everyone can discuss the latest status together. Changes are made directly to the 3D model and their consequences are made visible: efficiently, quickly and, above all, inexpensive. In contrast to a physical prototype, changes and the creation of intermediate statuses for a virtual prototype are extremely inexpensive. There are no material costs, changes can be made in real time, errors can be quickly reversed. There is much more room to try out. In addition, different voices can be brought to one table regardless of location. Many opinions can be taken into account at an early stage of development, which in most cases has a positive effect on the quality of the product.

Wherever many players are involved in the product and prototypes are expensive, the possible uses of virtual reality should be checked.

Better service through augmented reality

With augmented reality, the real environment can be supplemented with virtual elements. This function can also be used for more efficient collaboration or in service. Let's assume a machine in your production chain has failed. If no one is on site who is familiar with the specifics of the machine, you have to hire an external technician. Days and weeks can pass before the appointment in which you cannot use the machine. This causes high costs: on the one hand, production downtime and, on the other, costs for travel and repair.

With the help of augmented reality, this process could be greatly shortened. An on-site employee contacts a service technician if the machine fails. Your employee wears AR glasses and transmits his field of vision to the external technician's device. This sends him visual work instructions or marks parts of the machine that he has to process next. He will guide your employee through the repair step by step. The machine is running again after a very short time.

The technology is particularly valuable for industry. Complex processes can also be carried out by less experienced employees. The expert with the special knowledge can simply be called in via live switch - that saves time and money! In general, this type of collaboration has enormous potential to improve customer service in certain areas. Customer Service can get a precise picture of the situation on site and guide the customer through the next steps.

Better training and working with VR / AR

Complex learning and training concepts can be mapped more cost-effectively in the virtual space. Where trainees otherwise use material for exercise purposes or are involved in ongoing operations, simulations in virtual space can be a real alternative. If the activity is carried out realistically in the virtual room, the training period for employees is shortened enormously. In addition, dangerous work can be practiced in a safe environment. Employees are often only prepared selectively for rare scenarios because the training costs are too high. With simulations, employees can be adequately trained for these too. Virtual learning contributes to better training, fewer errors in ongoing operations and to occupational safety.

Work with augmented reality can be made easier for already well-trained staff. You can have visual work instructions projected directly into your field of vision or organize yourself with a virtual workspace instead of monitors. Wherever things need to be looked up or researched, the use of technology can be useful. Especially when you need your hands free. In this way, the warehouse clerk can display the positions of goods and quickly find what they are looking for. During assembly, the employee can display information and concentrate fully on the work process.

Presentations with virtual and augmented reality

The technologies are also powerful presentation tools - whether for internal or external purposes. For example, you can guide investors through a virtual factory or have your product projected directly onto the negotiation table using augmented reality. This form of presentation is particularly impressive for complex products or expensive building projects. It not only conveys information, but also an experience and can be used for an emotional representation. In the automotive industry, it is already common to present new car models in showrooms or at trade fairs with the help of virtual reality. More and more companies are using augmented reality markers on their products to accommodate additional information.

outlook

In a Capgemini study from 2018, 50 percent of companies stated that they wanted to integrate VR and AR into their everyday work, unless they had already come into contact with the technologies. In connection with augmented reality, the increase in efficiency is seen as a major plus. Above all, virtual reality has the potential to make everyday work safer. So far, there have mainly been pilot projects in many places. Companies are first trying out how they can make the technologies usable for themselves. In some companies, VR and AR are already standard. The AR full-service provider Ubimax has equipped all 400 BMW workshops in the USA with a remote support system based on augmented reality. DB Schenker has rolled out a VR training concept for its packaging personnel.

More and more companies manage to implement the dazzling ideas. Perhaps your company can also benefit from virtual and augmented reality?

What potential do VR / AR have for companies?

  • VR enables new forms of collaboration
  • Virtual 3D models instead of costly prototypes
  • Better communication with service staff and external service providers through augmented reality
  • Cost-efficient implementation of training courses in virtual space
  • Strong medium for internal and external presentations