Vivek Aiyer, Founder and CEO of Appearition talks on how AR can impact Field Service:
What sort of structural easing will AR/VR bring to Field Service (FS)?
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are technoloies that can be used to enhance existing processes. I see a few aspects how AR/VR can enhance FS process: Reduce errors in a complex procedure; increase first time fix and in training and knowledge transfer.
At Boeing, AR training has had a dramatic impact on the productivity and quality of complex aircraft manufacturing procedures. The number of trainees with little or no experience who could perform the operation correctly the first time increased by 90%. For training purposes, using AR, an environment can be simulated even before the trainees are sent it.
GE engineers found that AR improved overall average production by 32%; productivity in wiring harness assembly by 25% and 46% faster whilst doing a warehouse picklist. AR/VR is changing the way things work.
Process wise, where can enterprises use AR?
These immersive technologies alone will not replace an existing process. AR allows for a contextual overlay of information that enables better decision making. The actual information can come from various sources and based on the type of process / workflow. For example, AR lets you visualise data arising from Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This, contextually, in a field service environment is amazing.
This is very powerful, it will enhance the way somethings are done. For instance, in case of non-frequent and complex technical procedures, AR will come in handy as a reference guide. It will reduce the time to complete tasks and prevent errors, where possible.
How can firms combine AR/VR for best-of-breed solutions? (Mixed-solutions)
I’d say, before a firm adopts AR/VR in any of their vertical, they should first analyse where it will fit. More often than not, enterprises try to find a problem for a solution to be adopted. If we consider AR as a technology, that is a process-enhancer, not a process by itself when adopted correctly within an enterprise right, AR can work wonders with powerful use case and demonstrable ROI for training, monitoring and maintenance for FS. Currently, Appearition is working towards a technology on liaising Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AR for error reduction.
How agile should businesses be, in terms of adopting a technology?
For a FS enterprise, usually, a task/process should ideally make money, save money or meet a compliance requirement. If a technology can enhance the ability and agility of an enterprise in any one of these three aspects, then I don’t see why an enterprise should wait to adopt it. Any solution that optimises our processes needs to be adopted immediately.
From an AR perspective, I believe it has the power to enable decision making in processes. Appearition is currently focusing on harnessing this power of decision making through AR.
In terms of wearable technology, I see glasses require more reliability before businesses can start using them. For now (about 1-2 years), a mobile/tablet-based AR is here and ready and usable now.
What are some industry verticals that can use Appearition’s FloAR platform?
It’s highly scalable and extensible, requires absolutely no technical knowledge to use it. It can be very useful for enterprises like – infrastructure, telecommunications, networks etc. With respect to regions, we have customers in Australia, and now we are very excited to be a part of the Indian market. AR is able to apply the multi-lingual overlays (text/video) options – The staff may not be equipped in English/regional language and can benefit from overlay in their language. True potent of AR can be viewed in such markets.