As companies around the world continue to adjust to a new normal in the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic, augmented reality (AR) has moved to the forefront as a critical technology to enable business continuity.
At LiveWorx 2020, augmented reality was discussed in detail in dozens of presentations. As the rate of change necessary to compete in today’s marketplace continues to accelerate, industrial enterprises are examining their digital technology stacks, particularly for the frontline worker. Many of the presentations shared real-world stories of augmented reality demonstrating value. Here’s a look at some of the highlights and takeaways; however, the full presentations (video and slides) are available on the LiveWorx Archive.
As interest in augmented reality increases, one of the key questions around implementation is the value the technology can bring to a business – and in what timeline. PTC’s Sam Murley and Grace Fong are keenly focused on ROI and spoke to this in detail at LiveWorx. (Watch their full presentation in the LiveWorx 2020 archive.)
In order to define value – and prevent pilot purgatory – PTC has created a robust adoption framework to help customers deploy our products and scale across an organization.
Instead of starting with technology, the framework starts with impact:
• Identifying the most pressing problems and clarifying the improvements required for resolution.
• Defining and calculating the positive financial impact of the project, both today and at scale.
• Prioritize and detail the solutions that will create the desired impact and clearly achieve the identified value.
• The next two steps – prove value and scale – are ongoing. Companies must iterate to confirm and achieve value and lean on strong partnerships to amplify value across the business.
With this framework, companies are starting to see value within weeks, and in some instances, days.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing is rapidly increasing in complexity, which means there are more complex procedures and SOPs for employees to learn. Because of this – and with veteran staff retirements on the horizon – Pfizer realized there was a pressing need to develop more effective training and knowledge retention for frontline workers.
With Vuforia Expert Capture, which is a digital solution used to capture, edit, and view knowledge content and deliver it through an augmented reality experience, frontline workers are increasing productivity and reducing errors. The presentation includes a powerful side-by-side video showing one worker using a paper-based SOP vs. a worker leveraging Expert Capture on an iPad. The worker using Expert Capture was able to complete the task 23% faster, made no errors, and did not require assistance from an expert.
While many of the augmented reality sessions focused on how humans are using the technology in the workplace, one special session highlighted an ongoing collaboration PTC has with Boston Children’s Hospital focused on children. The joint project is exploring the use of augmented reality to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn.
Technology has a long history with assisting people with autism with communication and learning starting in the 1970s. Now with the emerging technology, the study aims to demonstrate how hospitals can use multi-sensory augmented reality experiences to help children with autism.
The findings to date are positive; the visual nature of AR is appealing to children with ASD and movement of objects as a way to represent concepts is understandable. For more about the power of augmented reality to assist, including several video demonstrations, access the LiveWorx presentation here.