Lauded as “the most essential AR/VR conference and expo,” AWE brings together thousands of influential augmented reality CEOs, CTOs, designers, developers, creative agencies, futurists, analysts, investors, founders, and top press to inspire, partner, and experience first-hand the most exciting industry of the 21st century.
Now in its 10th year, this year’s show, held in Silicon Valley, CA, has focused on what AWE’s founder Ori Inbar describes as “the next generation of creation.” Over three days, world-class speakers have presented groundbreaking ideas and real-life use cases, driving the point home that industry leaders are leveraging AR to solve major technical challenges, bring AR into new sectors, and accelerate AR development.
PTC’s President & CEO Jim Heppelmann took center stage on day one of AWE to present on the building blocks of enterprise AR. The keynote focused on a singular, original concept: That enterprises can leverage AR to enable smart, connected people – in much the same way they leverage IoT to enable smart, connected products.
“AR is IoT for people,” said Heppelmann. “When factory workers put on a HoloLens, they’re connecting to all the power of data and analytics in the cloud, as machines in factories have done for decades.”
Heppelmann went on to describe the distinct advantages of enterprise AR – worker productivity and quality, differentiated products and next-gen human machine interfaces, knowledge transfer to new workers, new customer support – through compelling use cases from PTC customers.
BAE, for example, is leveraging AR to create guided step-by-step work instructions for front-line workers, while Howden is using AR to differentiate their products by providing customers with invaluable performance and maintenance insight into their equipment.
“There is an abundance of high-value, AR use cases in the enterprise,” said Heppelmann, “and, if you want to capitalize on these opportunities across the enterprise, you need a breadth of technologies working together in an enterprise AR suite.”
Heppelmann described this “enterprise suite approach” as having all of the tools in the same toolbox; there are a wide variety of technologies required to capitalize on results. PTC’s AR technology suite – inclusive of Vuforia Studio, Vuforia Expert Capture, Vuforia Engine, and Vuforia Chalk – helps companies empower workers, improve productivity and efficiency, and engage customers.
Before technology can be deployed, however, enterprises need to give careful consideration to their specific AR use cases, as the same set of technologies can be applied in different ways and can solve for multiple challenges.
Heppelmann introduced to the AWE audience a framework for how to think about enterprise AR, made up of 15 questions across three categories: strategy, content, and delivery. The unique combination of responses to each question, based on a specific use case, exposes the roadmap to capitalize on that opportunity. The bottom line is that enterprises need to view AR from a holistic perspective.
BAE, for example, would need to augment text and data, images, and 3D holograms for effective manufacturing work instructions – and they would need to gather feedback from the user via gestures and virtual UI/screen.
The type of augmented reality an enterprise wants depends on the needs of the use case – that’s where the strategy section of the framework comes into play. In the content section of the framework, selections are made with respect to the type of content, configuration, and form enterprises need to deliver. The delivery section of the framework has to do with the way people will interact with the AR experience.
“If you are an enterprise, you have three levers to get work done: man, machine, and cloud,” said Heppelmann. “Machine and cloud have been connected for a long time, but AR is connecting people – and the framework is all about helping enterprises do that.”
Heppelmann closed the keynote by emphasizing that there is a wide range of enterprise AR use cases driving a long list of technology requirements. To succeed with AR, enterprises need to think about an “enterprise AR suite” approach.
Stay tuned for additional AWE conference takeaways!