The global pandemic has limited human touch and restricted traditional in-person visits. In the workplace, this has spurred increased reliance on not just remote work but also a wide range of contactless ways of doing business. During the crisis and beyond, many global companies will turn to augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies to replace the need for human presence and design meaningful experiences in a socially distant world. According to IDC, the worldwide spend on AR/VR devices, in fact, is expected to grow by almost 80% between 2020 and 2024.
A key driver for AR/VR growth, we believe, is the need for greater collaboration between support teams and remote end-users. Other drivers include the need to view real-time data and ensure an efficient, effective and safe place to work.
The following examples of AR/VR use are particularly relevant in today’s socially-distanced world:
- Field services: With AR/VR, field service technicians can resolve and support complex equipment, including remote workers’ computing equipment, without the cost or safety issues of working on-site. When a technical problem arises, technicians can analyze the issue remotely, using step-by-step instructions, live video chats and built-in videos as real-time digital knowledge bases.
We implemented AR-enabled field services for a leading utility company. With the help of AR technologies, engineers can conduct hands-free condition assessments of electrical infrastructure and corresponding components for day-to-day operations. Because of the visibility the solution offers, as well as access to minute details, it has improved engineers’ productivity and efficiency.
- Training and creative learning: By integrating AR/VR into training applications, enterprises can enable virtual training sessions that accurately analyze real-life situations through real-time simulations. By helping users interact with digital objects, the technology can improve traditional learning with hands-on experience. Interactive digital manuals can mitigate the risks associated with real-world training, resulting in increased safety and productivity, an immersive user experience and the ability to access training at the user’s convenience.
We developed an AR-driven training app for a leading airline that supports technicians in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of engines. The app provides 3-D images of engines that can be rotated and inspected using gesture recognition. With the AR app, the airline company improved its training effectiveness in the MRO division by increasing learning engagement. This approach also increases cost effectiveness because the training scenarios are reusable.
- Virtual collaboration: In the near future, we believe organizations will use spatial augmented reality (SAR) to augment traditional web meetings and calls with virtual face-to-face meetings and presentations. Organizations can personalize SAR technology for their needs. Remote users will be able to stand next to someone’s virtual avatar, move around in the virtual meeting room, inspect 3-D projected images from multiple perspectives, collaborate and brainstorm with co-workers, and make alterations in real time. This type of collaboration will be particularly important to anyone with the need for high levels of engagement or who works on complex designs or data sets. In addition to product design and engineering teams, the healthcare and education industries are now looking at the technology to enable better engagement between doctors, patients, professors and students, particularly with the pandemic enforcing remote interactions.
AR/VR technologies have been steadily maturing and have now met their moment in the pandemic. For organizations intent on designing the next level of employee and customer interactions in a contactless world, AR/VR can deliver the highly personalized, immersive experiences that will help them survive the COVID crisis and reap productivity, cost and efficiency benefits for years to come.
Anierroodh Raammie, Business Development Manager, Digital Workplace Services, contributed to this blog.
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