Can Your Manufacturing Business Benefit from Augmented Reality?

We recently got a question from a business leader looking for expertise in augmented reality.

It’s no surprise—augmented reality is one of the most fascinating technological advancements in recent years.

So we figured we’d share our answer to that question here, to help business leaders everywhere learn more about this burgeoning technology.

What Is Augmented Reality? 

The most well known example is Pokemon Go, which surged to popularity in 2016. By overlaying Pokemon characters on real-life locations seen through a smartphone, the game combined a video game with real-life in a way that had millions playing.

Pokemon Go came and went, but it made almost a billion dollars during its short life. That eye-popping revenue number got lots of C-level executives a lot more interested in what augmented reality could do for their business.

While Pokemon Go used augmented reality to provide some fancy functionality, businesses need far more practical reasons to adopt augmented reality technology.

Augmented Reality in Business

There are a lot of ways businesses can use augmented reality, from marketing to retail. But some of the most promising uses in terms of providing measurable ROI are in the manufacturing sector.

Companies are using augmented reality to:
* View assembly or repair instructions overlaid on top of the actual item. This keeps the technician’s eye on the prize, not on a PDF.
* View maintenance diagnostics and reports on top of actual items. This gives a technician all the info needed to make repairs proactively.
* Compare benchmarks for equipment or production against what a machine is actually doing

These are just the tip of the iceberg—many other quality assurance applications are possible as well.

All that sounds great, right? The problem is that these applications currently require expensive hardware—such as the current market leaders Microsoft’s HoloLens or DAQRI’s Smart Helmet.

So it costs a lot of money to gain benefits like:
* Solving shop floor problems
* Reducing downtime
* Preventing errors
* Efficiency and productivity

But it’s worth exploring the possibilities. As one software executive in the augmented reality space put it, augmented reality may be the key to unlocking the power of Internet of Things data in real time. This may be the key to industrializing the data that sensors collect from objects all along the production line.

Your Path Forward

Your business probably won’t receive the cataclysmic growth from augmented reality that Pokemon Go provided for parent company Niantic, but there is value to be mined. The question is what investments you need to make now, and what is still too cost-prohibitive at this point.

Maybe it makes sense to put IoT sensors in place now, while waiting for costs to decrease on glasses. Or maybe it’s time for your company to move quickly to seize an augmented reality opportunity. The answer depends on current costs and benefits.

Just remember that costs and benefits will change. This is rapidly developing technology, and the hardware, software, and functionality sets are not standing still.

So use this guide to keep augmented reality on the forefront, and be ready to move when the opportunity is right.

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We'll never tell you a lie, but we might tell you a success story that protects the intellectual property of our clients and partners. Our Worthwhile Storyteller is an amalgamation of all of our thoughts, experience, and expertise brought together to give you the facts about our relentless improvement in the software development space.