Empowering Innovative Business Operations Through IoT and Augmented Reality
The global demand for Internet of Things (IoT) powered tech is rapidly growing at a pace that exceeded previous estimates.
Studies reveal that nearly 127 new IoT devices become online globally every second. By 2025, this would translate into a global economic impact exceeding USD 11.1 Trillion.
Another innovation that is grabbing similar headlines across sectors is Augmented Reality (AR). In the US alone, it is predicted that over 68.7 million people will use AR at least once a month in 2019.
IoT is all about making our physical surroundings intelligent. While AR concentrates on creating immersive experiences in real-life environments through aided devices.
Have you ever imagined the possibilities that can arise if the two were to act together?
The impact of such a combination is widespread across multiple industries.
Here are five areas that we believe AR integrated IoT devices can re-define traditional operational models and bring fantastic value addition to businesses:
1. Empowering the Workforce
The workforce in any business organization is often the first recipient of any technological innovation that is implemented in the enterprise. The combination of AR and IoT is no different in this regard.
For example, the case of a company having multiple employees deployed in field or factory operations.
A smart helmet device that has AR-enabled vision can be used to systematically provide educational and visual assistance to help them face complex manual tasks. Which includes on-site design and customization, configuring hardware at the customer location, navigating remote or isolated field sites such as mines, etc.
By enabling real-time interactive assistance to field employees, this combination of AR and IoT can deliver faster solutions at customer sites.
It can impact both internal operations by streamlining communication and compliance requirements as well as positively influence customer satisfaction levels for on-field workforce deployments.
2. Remote Operations Management
With IoT, it is possible to create semi or completely autonomous machine powered processes. Even in remote locations where human contact is not feasible like, for example, in adverse climatic conditions or outer space.
This remote management of critical operations can be made more interactive by integrating augmented reality into the remote deployment environment. The exact sequence of events and activities happening on the remote site can be visualized at the control station using AR.
While real-time visualization can be used to plan and co-ordinate new activities in real-time. IoT enabled systems can ensure that all related environmental factors are monitored and checked for the feasibility of new businesses that may be initiated.
3. Customer Experience Management
Today, businesses have a plethora of channels to identify, interact and convert potential customer leads into valuable business deals.
With IoT, the personalization levels of lead nurturing go one step beyond. This is done by enabling data and insight generation from connected devices around the customer’s physical whereabouts such as smart wearable’s, home assistants, and many more.
By bringing AR into the picture, it opens a new avenue for brands to create valuable experiences for customers from insights derived through their connected devices.
It can be best explained using a retail scenario.
Customers can today use AR, and IoT enabled devices to guide them across large stores. Customers can find their desired product in the shortest time and explore interactive catalogs. Maybe even try products using IoT enabled smart mirrors & guided vision, which is activated using gesture-controlled interaction with products, offerings and much more.
With AR-enabled devices becoming more affordable across the globe, brands only need to invest in enabling the required IoT infrastructure to create smarter and interactive experiences for customers.
4. Smart Maintenance
One of the most significant areas where IoT finds practical application relevance is preventive maintenance routines for the hardware equipment. Applications of which range from factories, utility & energy production sites, power grids, to even smart home devices.
Intelligent sensors can convey information to support engineers about the health of devices. Also, enable easy and hassle-free scheduling of maintenance activities across large machine deployments.
With an integrated AR experience, technicians and support staff can be guided to precise component locations and provided interactive operational procedure demonstrations.
These innovations enable them to perform maintenance activities quickly. And without limitations that are faced by teams who collaborate with experts remotely through just audio or video communication channels.
When maintenance activities are completed faster, and with expert guidance, it becomes easier for businesses to control operational costs in the long run. Otherwise, improper maintenance schedules, as well as, inefficient maintenance procedures are done without experts can cause heavy tools in the account books.
5. Enhancing Training
Be it healthcare, retail or manufacturing; there is a constant requirement for a workforce to be trained on the latest operational procedures and standards.
In most cases, on-the-job live training needs to be offered for the workforce to adapt better to newer solutions and improve their knowledge for the subject matter. Here, interactive AR-powered visualization integrated with smart IoT devices can make a difference.
For example, IoT enabled devices can consistently offer data into processing platforms that can create insights from these data.
Using augmented reality, these insights can be used to demonstrate how each data source can influence the overall functioning of the environment.
Some examples include live AR-powered stimulation of heart functioning using data from smart wearables like a smartwatch.
Another example could be a simulation experience for maneuverability of vehicles. Sensors can monitor the change in engine or wheel conditions. While the insights obtained can be used for training engineers to help them build better systems in the future.
The list of possibilities is limitless.
The use cases for integrating augmented reality with the Internet of Things is presently on an exploratory phase. Even though we have shortlisted five major impact areas, they may change in due course of time.
New avenues of interactive visualization and integrated machine intelligence make debuts into the consumer market almost every day. Not to mention, the rise of artificial intelligence and cloud computing power which will rapidly accelerate new technology deployments and encourage automation considerably.
Businesses need to capitalize on the knowledge they have about AR and IoT and its potential in their operations. A first-mover advantage will prove to be valuable soon as more key players are starting to invest in them to derive useful returns. To succeed, you'll have to identify the right use cases, target customer base, and the proper technology to propel your business.
Vinod has conceptualized and delivered niche mobility products that cater to various domains including logistics, media & non-profits. He leads, mentors & coaches a team of Project Coordinators & Analysts at Fingent.
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