Part 2 - Augmenting Reality: The Case for S1000D Evolution

With Pokémon Go serving as consumers’ most immediate augmented reality reference, it may be easy to view augmented reality in maintenance operations as a shiny gimmick. In short, it’s not, it’s not only the wave of the future, it’s already here. Even with standardized, modular information, the efficacy of this standard is only as good as the quality and breadth of information put into it. Concurrently, failure to follow written procedure is a commonly cited reason for A&D maintenance failures and other leading causes for failure include quality of documentation, accuracy of information (it being out of date) format/lifecycle, and interaction with the end-user. This alone is a call to action – to author higher quality, experiential technical manuals, that give the end user immersive, thorough, and current information. The volume of data delivered to techs is enormous and delivered in a way that doesn’t take advantage of current and future technology, and to only digitize information is moving a fundamental problem (managing and delivering technical information) into a new platform, without solving the underlying issue of outdated data format.

Some benefits will be immediate -- VR/AR will make many challenges in A&D maintenance go away – getting the right information to the technician in the right format – will allow for instant knowledge manifesting itself as improved performance without the need for searching for information prior to a task being performed. This instant knowledge through VR/AR can be supplied through tablets, connected glasses, and other devices, allowing information to be dynamically delivered to the point of use, i.e. the technician. Training of techs itself will change, become shorter, more cost-effective, and more efficient. 

We needn’t look very far to see that VR/AR is already being used in commercial applications, and more information is consumed this way -- video games to museums to clothing stores have adopted AR. This adoption will make a huge impact on how information is or can be delivered to techs in the field. This technology, and expectation for this technology from an end-user perspective, is here, so regulatory adoption of AR is a must for S1000D.

With the immediate efficiency and training benefits of VR/AR for OEMs, and their imminent adoption into S1000D, how will you integrate this technology into your business? We know that a one-time or one-off platform buildouts for VR/AR is cost-prohibitive and difficult to scale. To scale the use and adoption of VR/AR, companies need to get their arms around their engineering content (CAD, BoM data) and their service content (XML, illustrations 3D) and combine these with AR experiences, machine data (health and prognostics) and configuration (as maintained) data about the “things” that the technician will be working on. PTC specializes in the merging of these multiple data sources into a single solution where data can flow from the left to the right seamlessly and maintain its associativity, thereby giving each client a source of truth regarding its product information, at scale, and with superior cost-effectiveness. 

Stay tuned to our blog for additional insights from the S1000D conference in Seville, Spain. 

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