How will your organization select a business use case for augmented reality? Instead of asking “how will we use AR,” consider your business challenges first. Start by imagining problems that arise when your technicians, customers, or other stakeholders must engage with complex information. These scenarios happen on the factory floor, in the field, and beyond—where user mobility is essential. Brainstorm situations in which mobile phones, tablets, and eyewear devices could empower people to see and interact with 3D augmentations and animations.
To begin developing your business use case, consider these common paint points:
Shortage of qualified workers: AR can narrow the skills gap by improving knowledge transfer and accelerating training for new workers. AR remote expert guidance enables experienced experts to assist other workers from anywhere. It can also help organizations retain the tribal knowledge that’s lost when workers leave their jobs or retire.
Poor training and communication methods: AR provides workers with a more effective way to learn technical information for training, maintenance, and service purposes. Organizations that use AR technology can quickly upskill inexperienced or seasonal workers by providing AR experiences to guide them through complex procedures.
Increasingly complex products: AR empowers workers to maintain complex equipment, and prevents failures and downtime. Predictive maintenance alerts, rapid parts identification, and easy-to-follow repair sequences provide all the information operators need to resolve problems and keep equipment running as efficiently as possible.
Now that you have a few ideas for how AR can enable solutions to business challenges, start developing your use case. Below are three key steps to help you identify your specific opportunities.
Focus on the strategic initiatives and the key metrics of your business.
Create a list of your business challenges: Not all business challenges will be applicable for AR (or software solutions in general). But documenting a wide range of possibilities is a good first step. These challenges should be measurable and have financial consequences for your organization.
Brainstorm use cases: Assemble the right mix of subject matter experts. After identifying challenges, ask why these problems haven’t been fixed before, and what capabilities of AR-enabled, mobile/tablet, or wearable technologies could provide a breakthrough approach. At this stage, engage people who live through the pain of these challenges, and include PTC experts familiar with AR in the conversation.
Rank your use cases by business impact: Identify a short list of candidate applications that have clear business value and well-delineated set of specific functionalities. Avoid lumping multiple use cases into one ambiguous application.
Connect to business value and prioritize: Gather cost and impact data related to the “as-is” business process for your short list of candidates. Set initial, realistic targets for a new process that uses these new tools and technologies.
Determine which challenges are most likely to provide substantial business value.
Below are two examples for manufacturing and service use cases:
Your use case should be specific and realistic. Once you have identified your use case, clearly define the desired outcome. Start assigning metrics that will quantify the value you’ve identified. Before you implement AR, get a baseline measurement of your key metrics: documenting the “as-is” state will help you measure return on investment.
Identifying the best use case to achieve business value is the first step to including AR into your business strategy.
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