It’s no secret there’s a considerable amount of hype surrounding emerging technologies, particularly when it comes to augmented reality (AR) and its industrial application. Sure – Voice, AI and VR are revolutionising business and lives, but we’re seeing big waves with AR. Over the past twelve months the AR landscape has shifted dramatically, with big businesses seeking to extend proof of concept projects, and push prototypes into full production as the technology continues to deliver – and often exceed – commercial goals.
Whilst AR technology has generated significant traction via consumer facing apps such as Snapchat, Pokemon Go and Holo, there’s also huge emphasis on enabling enterprise to better understand how to leverage maximum ROI via AR initiatives. As more AR prototyping projects mature into full scale productions, the commercial benefits of the technology becoming increasingly clear. Kick-starting an enterprise-wide AR initiative can bring about wide-ranging, long-term commercial benefits including new revenue streams, vastly improved operational efficiencies, and the often massive cost and resource reductions that go along with these.
Augmented reality & rapid digital transformation
In last year’s report by PTC , the $1.6bn Industrial IoT and Augmented Reality specialist, they weren’t shy about predicting that 86% of industrial enterprises would launch customer focused AR projects in the next 12 months – and it looks like they were right. The proliferation of AR technology across enterprise innovations isn’t to be scoffed at. From benefits as diverse as bolstering security and safety to optimising marketing and sales channels, there’s precious little time goes by when we don’t hear about the game-changing (and occasionally life-changing) transformations that AR is bringing to enterprise, the community, and way beyond.
Turning to Augmented Reality as a way to differentiate goods and services (50% of enterprises that are already pursuing AR, are doing it for this reason), offer increased value to customers, generate higher revenues (28%) and create new business models and revenue streams (17%), enterprise is getting busy with augmented reality. What’s more, Internal projects are also getting a look in. There’s expected to be a significant increase in investment in Business to Employee (B2E) projects over the coming months, as . organisations get serious about AR and its ability to impact positively across an entire enterprise ecosystem, and not just the shop floor.
Augmented reality and Industry 4.0
Right now, it’s looking like the strongest growth for AR will be in industrial sectors, where the hardware has matured to the point where the AR technology can be deployed safely and reliably. AR technology company and Waracle client, Return To Scene Ltd (part of the James Fisher Group), work across a number of industries, deploying AR technology to power commercial goals and drive innovation, and one sector where it’s booming is oil and gas. R2S Technical Director, Martin MacRae, talked to us about the industrial role of AR within an oil and gas context, and how the technology enables R2S to underpin wider commercial goals that extend way beyond the bottom line.
Says Martin, “R2S AR extends the value proposition of our software to include both remote and onsite users. All the project data held by our clients in R2S is accessible through intrinsically safe mobile devices – users can simply point the device at the equipment onsite, and R2S AR will provide detailed information on, for example, maintenance history, asset registers and live data feeds. As a business, we’re uniquely placed to immediately tackle the content challenge facing many looking to enter AR space. For us and our clients, the content already exists; R2S AR provides an alternative way to access this data for the use – at the coal face.”
So, what’s next for AR and your enterprise?
The speed at which the market for industrial AR is maturing has vastly outstripped analyst expectations. A survey in 2016 highlighted that just 67% of companies were considering Augmented Reality roll-outs. The 20% leap to that 86% we mentioned earlier, is no flash in the pan. Driven by the availability of new developer tools means AR agencies are more ready to deploy highly innovative POC’s and applications in the shortest possible time scale. For example, Kumulos has recently updated their platform to be feature complete with Unity 3D. It’s now supports its full features set within Unity 3D allowing industrial mobile app owners to manage the content of their AR app, manage Push Notifications, view analytics, generate monthly reports – and much more – all from within one single pane of glass.
Augmented Reality is gaining significant traction across the entire enterprise ecosystem. The technology is creating meaningful commercial outcomes across a wide range of industry verticals from healthcare and oil and gas, to banking, financial services and retail. Here at Waracle, we live, sleep, eat and breathe all things emerging technology and we’re particularly excited about augmented reality and what it means for our customers. So excited in fact, we recently acquired an augmented reality company to help accelerate our clients augmented reality initiatives and take them to the next level. If you’re interested in emerging technology, specifically augmented reality and how its liable to impact your business operations, we’d love to hear from you.