How XR is powering the fourth industrial revolution

An article by Sophie Charara on discusses how XR is powering the fourth industrial revolution, stating that coupled with data from the internet of things, extended reality is changing the way people work and driving industrial innovation.

Key points made in the article include:

  • AREA member Vuzix’s M300 Smart Glasses enabling of service maintenance and remote assistance. “See-what-I-see” augmented reality (AR) software, and the ability to capture images and video, the whole servicing process can take less than 25 per cent of the time it would using traditional methods.
  • Smart sensors producing internet of things (IoT) data and advances in robotics are being combined with emerging technologies such as XR, which merge digital, physical and human elements to change industrial processes.
  • When everything in a factory or workplace is connected and producing data, XR can act as the missing piece, which brings real people and their expertise into the equation.
  • Many enterprises have moved in from small-scale pilots to widespread adoption. The combination of XR and IoT is already changing the way people work.
  • Examples are given from the Volkswagen Group use of Vive’s VR hardware for production and logistics staff. They intend to train 10,000 employees in XR by the end of 2018.
  • Benefits include the real machines and operating materials can be operated around the clock. Furthermore, it saves travel and time.
  • In addition, Volkswagen and also BMW are seeing results from increased virtual prototyping and production line training in XR. Bringing intelligent robots into workplaces is a core part of this brave, new industrial revolution and XR is being used to build a bridge between human workers and robots.
  • In aerospace, the example of Airbus is discussed including its “factory of the future status”. IoT data flow feeds the real factory, and enables remote, virtual monitoring and control of large, complex aircraft construction.


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