AR Creating Competitive Advantage for Manufacturers




This week in Chicago, IoT business and IT leaders from multiple industries came together at Bosch Connected World to share best practices and case studies around connected products, services, and solutions.

During the conference, the emerging trend of using augmented reality in manufacturing was explored in a keynote on Wednesday by PTC CEO and IoT expert and visionary, Jim Heppelmann, where he shared a research-driven framework for how companies can capitalize on the convergence of the physical and digital worlds.

Heppelmann emphasized the experiences and opportunities augmented reality is creating for competitive advantage in the IoT.

With the number of smart, connected products increasing each day, the volume of data generated continues to grow, presenting both challenges and opportunities. More data is being created than humans can possibly consume, which creates the need for new processes and applications to address this challenge. The ability to make this information more digestible, while also being able to identify what is valuable and requires action, will become a key competitive advantage. Data analytics is one way to take this large amount of data and condense it to a smaller actionable amount, but AR presents another level of opportunity to redefine the way we as humans absorb and learn from this information.

The excitement over AR’s ability to change the way we consume and communicate information is getting a lot of attention. Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook weighed in on his view that AR will be bigger than VR in an interview with ABC, saying, "...my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far, because this gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have other things -- visually -- for both of us to see."

Last week, an article in The Huffington Post also addressed how AR can offer tangible benefits by providing a more immersive form of education and training. As evident in Heppelmann's keynote at Bosch Connected World, this can be very valuable in a business or manufacturing setting.

Using AR to ‘educate’ in a business setting opens up a vast amount of possibilities for addressing the many challenges that manufacturers across industries face in the age of IoT, including:

• Being able to better understand IoT data and make it actionable

• Marketing and selling smart, connected products

• Overcoming the manufacturing skills gap by optimizing training through simulation, which leads to better retention of information

• Changing the way service information is consumed and the way smart, connected products are serviced

The use of AR in enterprise will continue to grow. It is not only changing the way we interact with things, but also holds a lot of promise for increasing our understanding of information and improving the way we work.

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