Starting the Enterprise Augmented Reality Conversation

Have you asked any IT professionals or business managers what they’re doing with Augmented Reality? A small fraction can share how they’ve considered using AR for improving their workplace processes, but most inquiries about how companies are using AR begin with a blank stare and end in frustration.  

The AREA and its members are developing high-quality content that can be the basis of more precise and fruitful dialog than we often have today. Once there is a shared conceptual foundation, we’ll be able to discuss the concrete benefits as well as the risks of introducing Augmented Reality in the enterprise with our audiences.

Explore the Audience Knowledge Level

Casual discussion between acquaintances or between a supplier and a potential customer can’t evolve gracefully if they must begin with deep explanations or clarifications of confusing terminologies. Don’t start with a dry definition. Focus first on either a known or shared challenge or potential benefit and make sure you can squeeze a few terms in casually in the first minutes.

“Isn’t it frustrating that we can’t significantly increase our productivity?” you can inquire. Be specific about the use case, if you can. You can substitute “increasing productivity” with other metrics such as reduce errors, reduce risk or increase safety. Drop in some keywords to make sure they understand that you feel new technologies could help. Avoid buzzwords such as wearables, IoT, Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality in the first five minutes. Try to avoid bringing up Hollywood movies or popular science fiction books that have Augmented Reality.

Then you can say that you’ve heard or that you’re exploring how this new technology could play a role by overlaying digital information on the real world. Let your prospective customer or partner, or whomever you’re speaking to, be the first to mention wearables or AR.

When asked if they’ve heard of it and what they’re doing or planning to do with Augmented Reality, an IT professional will respond in one of two ways. The younger the person, the more likely they are to have heard and understood the potential. That said, they may not have thought to apply it to their job.

“That’s technology for your smartphone. I’ve seen it used in a museum, once” they might say. Then they either describe how the AR experience failed or just didn’t bring value to them.  Such conversations often conclude with the person dismissing the whole idea.

“It’s probably good for entertainment, but we’re not that kind of company,” is not an uncommon conclusion.

A more knowledgeable audience may remember Virtual Reality and the promises it held but didn’t deliver. Then you will need to reprogram them to understand the differences. 

Others will have had no exposure at all to Augmented Reality.

Light Bulb Moment

Once you’ve decided if the conversation is worthy of continuing investment, you’re going to aim for a “light bulb” moment: a look in their eye that shows that the person with whom you’re meeting has had a breakthrough in understanding.

To get to that moment of realization may take several steps. As already suggested, if you’re in conversation with an IT professional or line manager with a lot of engineering experience, you will get there more quickly.

Begin by building upon something very familiar. Everyone has seen and almost all have personally used video conferencing. AREA member David Doral, Director of AERTEC Solutions begins his education process by suggesting that when trying to understand a problem at a remote location, it would be valuable to be able to see things as if from another’s eyes.

“We suggest to the customer that we support the technician in the field or on the shop floor with an expert who is somewhere else,” explains Doral. He doesn’t say where that expert is, but makes it perfectly clear that they are the key to solving a problem and there’s not time for that expert to personally fly to the location. In AR, this use case is known as the “remote expert,” but this term doesn’t need to be introduced.

“Then, if they like this concept, we can suggest that the expert could draw arrows, point or otherwise indicate steps with animations,” continues Doral. “Imagine that the person who is in the field or on the shop floor is providing the remote hands, performing tasks as directed and under the supervision of the expert.”

AR Overlay Usability Study

Up Close and Personal

Another approach to reach a light bulb moment is to demonstrate an Augmented Reality experience right away. Sometimes, this can be performed using a tablet and an object that you’ve brought with you. Choose an object that is likely to be professional and slightly complex in nature but with a very simple user interface, such as a pocket projector. A virtual interface can appear with Augmented Reality to help the user with configuration and operation.

Three-dimensional objects are nice and have a big “wow” factor but a photo will also work well and may have higher performance. Lighting, and reflections on a glossy surface, may have a big impact on your ability to track the target, so test your sample photo or object well before using it. Be sure to give the other person the device to hold and move around, to interact with the content in the experience.

Often people try to simulate this effect, and reduce the risk of failure, by showing a video of an AR experience recording, but your audience will assign lower credibility to a video because they understand that special effects as seen in the movies are now commonplace.  Hasn’t everyone seen Minority Report and Iron Man?

From a shared understanding of the benefits of Augmented Reality, you might be able to progress to talking about a project and the potential of implementing AR in a few use cases.

What techniques have you used to successfully start a conversation about enterprise Augmented Reality?  Share your methods with others in the comments below.

Augmented Reality Use-cases at Newport News Shipbuilding

Shipbuilding has been the perfect environment for industrial innovation for hundreds of years. Sails to steam, wood to iron, rivets to welds, blueprints to CAD, stick-built to modular construction–all major innovations to building extraordinarily complex vehicles. At Newport News Shipbuilding, we constantly seek new innovations to improve our safety, quality, cost, and schedules. Since 2007, we have explored Augmented Reality as a means to shift away from paper-based documentation in our work.

Since we began looking into AR for construction, operation, and maintenance workflows, we’ve come up with hundreds of use-cases to improve tasks or processes. These range from assisting shipbuilders in painting, ship-fitting, electrical installation, pipefitting, and more in several ways – on new construction ships, ship overhaul, facility maintenance, and decommissioning. Every use-case improves our ability to deliver nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines, but at different degrees of improvement.

We’re always adding new use-cases to the list, and we’ve needed to devise an adaptable framework for organizing and categorizing existing, proven uses and prioritizing future, potential use-cases.

Genesis of a Use Case

Augmented Reality should be employed first in places where it creates the most value – and that actually can be subjective. Sometimes, this is helping people become more efficient and working more quickly, sometimes this is about helping to reduce errors and rework, and sometimes it is all about improving safety. At Newport News Shipbuilding, a dedicated team of AR professionals help determine where AR is best suited, whether the technology is ready for the use-case, and how to best implement and scale a solution.

The first step in defining a use-case is performed by an AR industrial engineer, who determines where AR brings value in a workflow. She first meets with a skilled craftsman, and understands their challenges and needs. The industrial engineer identifies pain points in processes, such as when and where shipbuilders must consult paper documentation to complete a task. She must also consider human factors and always balance the needs of the craftsman against the capability of the AR solution as it can be delivered today.

Then, the AR engineer works with an AR designer and an AR developer to deliver a product. The AR designer determines the available data, components, interfaces and models for the system to satisfy requirements. Once the use-case is fully defined and the data is assembled, an AR developer implements software solutions, tests the system, and ensures reliable and adaptable development tools. At the end of the process, a new use-case is addressed, and a high-value product is delivered to the skilled craftsman.

A Classification Scheme

Over the years we’ve devised hundreds of use-cases and needed a way to understand and prioritize them. We started by categorizing them into a taxonomy that we think of as general, but we admit they might be specific to our business. We call these our seven use-case categories.



Inspection (quality assurance)

An inspector determines how well a component or part conforms to defined requirements.

Work instruction

Guides a person or otherwise provides information useful for task execution.


AR as a new medium for training skilled craftspeople, especially on complex and/or expensive systems.

Workflow management

Helps a supervisor plan and execute workflows for a team.


Use-cases for visualizing data about ongoing operations or system states (energy in a circuit breaker, flow rate in a pipe, etc.).


Enhance situational awareness for craftspeople.


Helps a craftsman or supervisor understand where people and things are in space.

These 7 categories then are applied across three additional axes. These variables create a volume of exploration, or “trade space” for each use-case. The three application axes are as follows.



Product line

Ship types such as aircraft carriers, submarines, etc., are differentiated and determine the content available for a use-case. For example, what type of, if any, 3D CAD models are available. Products without 3D CAD can still benefit from AR, but require laser scanning, data collation, and other methods to create effective AR uses. Also, industrial processes for one product may be different from the process for another, and these differences may make AR valuable on one product, and unnecessary on another.

Product life cycle

Represents phases of a ship’s life cycle, such as new construction, operation, overhaul and inactivation. Understanding the life cycle provides purpose and scope for the content, and also defines the type of AR consumer – shipbuilder, sailor, engineering maintainer, etc.

Trade skill

Workshop roles such as welders, pipefitters, electricians, etc., which determine AR needs, personal protective equipment, user factors, and in many cases, content and tolerance requirements.

Return on Investment

When investing in new technology, it’s important to find those areas offering the highest return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent. At the same time, there are potentially high value use-cases that are simply not conducive to an AR solution today. As a professional AR team, we pride ourselves on understanding when we can have an impact, when we can have a really big impact, and when AR technology simply isn’t yet up to the challenge. We primarily focus on advancing the seven use-case categories, and use the three variable axes to ensure we are maximizing customer value and ROI. As our expertise has grown, and as the technology matures, we have steadily increased value and readiness of AR throughout the entire trade space.

Today, we assess highest potential ROI and use that as a metric for scaling priority. Our model shows the greatest ROI in use-cases for inspection, work instruction, and training. Our focus there is now on scalability. We also know that the ROI is really tied directly to the technology readiness levels (TRL) of AR for those use-cases. While we are certain there will be benefit, maybe even higher ROI, on workflow management, operations, safety, and logistics – the readiness levels of AR for those use-cases within our trade space simply isn’t as high (today) as for the first three mentioned. You can’t scale what doesn’t yet work. So for the latter four uses, therefore, the investment isn’t in scalability, but rather in improving the TRL.

As Augmented Reality technology becomes more capable and less expensive to implement, enterprises will find ever-increasing uses. We’d like to learn how others in different industries have been developing theirs. Please share your comments and experiences with us.

Augmented Reality Can Increase Productivity

Technological and cultural shifts that result in enhancements in manufacturing tend to increase complexity in products and processes. In turn, this complexity increases requirements in manufacturing and puts added pressure on organizations to squeeze out inefficiencies and lower costs where and when feasible.

This trend is acute in aerospace, where complexity, quality and safety require a large portion of final assembly to be done by humans. Corporations like AREA member Boeing are finding ways to improve assembly workflows by making tasks easier and faster to perform with less errors.

At ARise ’15, Paul Davies of Boeing presented a wing assembly study in collaboration with Iowa State University, showing dramatic differences in performance when complex tasks are performed following 2D work instructions versus Augmented Reality.

A Study in Efficiency

In the study, three control groups were asked to assemble parts of a wing, which required over 50 steps to assemble nearly 30 different parts. Each group performed the task using three different modes of work instruction:

  • A desktop computer screen displaying a work instruction PDF file. The computer was immobile and sat in the corner of the room away from the assembly area.
  • A mobile tablet displaying a work instruction PDF file, which participants could carry with them.
  • A mobile tablet displaying Augmented Reality software showing the work instructions as guided steps with graphical overlays. A four-camera infrared tracking system provided high-precision motion tracking for accurate alignment of the AR models with the real world.

Subjects assembled the wing twice; during the first attempt, observers measured first time quality (see below) before disassembling the wing and having participants reassemble it to measure the effectiveness of instructions on the learning curve.

Participants’ movements and activities were recorded using four webcams positioned around the work cell. In addition, they wore a plastic helmet with reflective tracker balls that allowed optical tracking of head position and orientation in order for researchers to visualize data about how tasks were fulfilled. Tracker balls were also attached to the tablet (in both AR and non-AR modes).

First Time Quality

To evaluate the ability of a novice trainee with little or no experience to perform an operation the first time (“first time quality”), errors are counted and categorized. The study revealed that tablet mode yielded significantly less errors (on average) than desktop mode.

In the diagram above, the blue bar represents the first assembly attempt and the green bar is the second. The diagram also shows that subjects using Augmented Reality mode made zero errors on average per person, indicating the potential of AR to improve first time quality for assembly tasks.

In the diagram above, the blue bar represents the first assembly attempt and the green bar is the second. The diagram also shows that subjects using Augmented Reality mode made zero errors on average per person, indicating the potential of AR to improve first time quality for assembly tasks.

Rapid assembly


This diagram measures time taken to complete tasks by mode, both the first and second time. AR-assisted participants completed tasks faster the first time than with other modes


Overall the study witnessed an almost 90% improvement in first time quality between desktop and Augmented Reality modes, with AR reducing time to build the wing by around 30%. Researchers also found that when instructions are presented with Augmented Reality, people gain a faster understanding and need less convincing of the correctness of tasks.

Bottom line is that this study shows and quantifies how complex tasks performed for the first time can benefit from Augmented Reality work instructions. If the task is done with fewer errors and faster, the impact on productivity is highly significant.

Where can Augmented Reality make an impact in your organization?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

This article originally appeared in the AERTEC Solutions blog.

Contrary to what many people believe, the aeronautical industry is today heavily reliant on the human factor. Craftsmanship prevails in a process that produces large machines—namely aircraft—containing thousands of parts and involving disparate tasks that converge on the manufacturing of a few dozen units a month in the best of cases.

Image - the fourth industrial revolution

In reality, this figure is minuscule if we compare it to the automobile industry, where we can see manufacturing plants churning out an average of 50 vehicles per hour. This production volume and the larger number of parts and repetitive tasks it involves allow for significant cost savings as a result of the inclusion of automation processes.

The aeronautical industry is making great strides in incorporating the best knowledge and experience gained in these manufacturing sectors and including them for its own benefit, along with other more innovative technologies, procedures and concepts.

This infographic shows some of these concepts, along with others that have already been in use for some time, illustrating what some call Industry 4.0 or the Factory of the Future. We also refer to this as the Augmented Factory due to upcoming human-machine interfaces that integrate human activities into the industrial internet of things.



ARLU—the Right Event at the Right Time

EPRI is proud to collaborate with the AREA on the first ever Augmented Reality in Leading-Edge Utilities (ARLU) this July, where we will lead the industry to discern a disruptive technology and anticipate and solve issues through collaborative effort. In fact, ours is the only industry we know of where Augmented Reality as a disruptive innovation is being openly discussed. This isn’t going unnoticed.  Other industries are pointing at utilities and saying “Hey, look what they’re doing.”  Utilities are rarely perceived as having an active role in exciting new trends.

Three in One

The ARLU event is, in fact, three events in one.  First, it’s a meeting where EPRI and utilities industry representatives will present their Augmented Reality research and projects to vendors developing applications for the utility industry.  Vendors will see where utilities are placing emphasis in their development efforts and learn about the issues they‘re encountering.  Requirements such as size, weight and battery life of wearable technologies will be explored through the presentations, and will impart to participants a deeper understanding of the issues facing introduction of Augmented Reality in utilities.

Next, vendors will present their latest technologies for immediate feedback from industry experts. Not all technologies fit every utility situation and discussions around fit for purpose of presented technologies will be lively and informative. Finally, a workshop on gaps in existing standards will bring multiple perspectives to the problems of creating safe, comfortable and interoperable AR experiences in the utility space. 

Thought Leaders

Having subject matter experts together in one room is the one of the key objectives of this meeting. As we’ve been preparing the ARLU event, we’ve invited some of the brightest people in the utilities and utilities software industry to mix with thought leaders in Augmented Reality. We expect that the impact will last much longer than the two days in July because new ideas will emerge in the weeks and months that follow as the participants who meet in Charlotte continue to develop relationships.

We expect to capture some of the ideas these thought leaders generate and to share the outcomes of discussions with the broader community so that many others can also benefit.

Time is Right

We feel this is the right time for such a conference. Today, judging a technology for what it can do right now is the wrong way to look at it.  Advances occur almost daily and it’s better to first define what’s needed to build a future state of the technology. That’s where Augmented Reality is today. Practical applications are just now being introduced but an explosion of functionality is coming. By the time the average person notices the ubiquity of Augmented Reality, many of the issues we are going to discuss in Charlotte will already have been settled.

Wearable technologies with Augmented Reality are at a stage where real utility applications are possible. At the same time, shifting demographics at utilities are bringing in younger, less experienced workers—as older, more practiced workers are leaving. There needs to be an orchestrated “changing of the guard” where institutional knowledge, gained by years of hard work and experience, is transferred to a younger, more tech-savvy generation. The technologies presented at ARLU will deliver remote expertise and put information at the fingertips of crews composed of less seasoned individuals.

The wise man says it’s better to act on a lightning flash than wait to hear the thunder. That’s why we planned this event in 2015 and look forward to seeing many of the readers of this blog at the first ARLU event.

Augmented Reality Industry Leader: Bob Meads, CEO iQagent

Today Christine Perey, Executive Director of the AREA, interviews Bob Meads, CEO of iQagent and member of the AREA board. Bob is pioneering the use of mobile Augmented Reality on the plant floor to increase worker efficiency and safety.

Q. What is the level of interest in enterprise AR among people in your company?

The level of interest in this technology is high; however, we don’t like to put technology first. As I have written about previously, AR is a great fit for plant floor challenges. But using AR (or any technology) for its own sake is a flawed approach if you want to sell a product. We identify the problems we want to solve, and fit the best technology to solve them elegantly. The litmus test of a great AR solution is at first you don’t notice it’s an AR solution. Your attention is captured by the system’s usefulness and applicability to the problem it addresses. The realization that it uses AR comes as an afterthought.

Q. How does your company, group or team plan to make an impact in enterprise Augmented Reality?

We plan to bring to the enterprise market mobile apps that solve real problems, in keeping with our “practical” approach to Augmented Reality.

Q. In your opinion, what are the greatest obstacles to the introduction of AR in enterprise?

The three barriers we encounter most frequently are in adequate infrastructure, security issues and resistance to new technology. Using AR technology as part of a plant solution will overwhelmingly be issued on mobile devices. So the barriers to using mobile devices become barriers to using AR on the plant floor. It can be a big investment for a plant to create a wireless infrastructure that covers the plant floor well. Many plants also haven’t fully embraced the use of electronic documents versus paper ones, despite the obvious benefits. Mobile devices also tend to raise alarm bells with IT for many reasons. Then there is concern over ROI, that once the infrastructure is added, these new mobile devices and software will not actually be used or won’t provide a return on investment.

Q. Are you focused on a particular industry? If so please describe it, as well as the customers with whom you work.

While we serve most industries, automotive, chemical/pharmaceutical and food & beverage are where we focus. This is because these plants have lots of automation, and, therefore, lots of data and resources that the plant staff access on a daily basis. The ROI of our product, iQagent, is very dramatic for these kinds of plants.

Q. How do you characterize the current stage in enterprise AR adoption? What will it take to go to the next stage or to accelerate adoption?

In my opinion, AR technologies are still in the trough of the Gartner Hype Cycle, but slowly coming. The potential for enterprise AR concept to help workers visualize data and resources as they relate to real world equipment or processes in enormous. It limits the skillsets needed to perform adjustments or repairs, reduces human error, and lessens the need for training. It’s a giant win-win. So why isn’t it already in widespread use? Because AR solutions tend to be highly customized and developed for specific customers. This approach is expensive, introduces risk and extends the ROI for the customer. This is due, in part, to the lack of standards. The breakthrough for AR in the enterprise will come when there are more off-the-shelf AR solutions that are easy to integrate and deploy and provide obvious benefits and immediate ROI. Right now most AR products are toolkits because there are no AR standards out there. If standards were created and adopted, it would be easier for AR providers to create off-the-shelf solutions. This in turn reduces risk, lowers cost and provides a well-defined ROI for the customer.

Q. We’d like some historical context for your current role. How did you get interested in or develop your role in enterprise Augmented Reality?

I have been in industrial automation software and integration for 20 years, and have always loved technology. iQuest, my automation company, specializes in using different technologies to solve plant floor problems. When the iPad was released, we began looking for ways to leverage it on the plant floor. We started with identifying common problems we could solve with a mobile app, and then developed iQagent and the concept of “practical” augmented reality, or, in the words of Ars Technica, “Just Enough AR.”

Image courtesy of IQagent

iQAgent offers support to Windows 8.1

DAQRI @ AWE 2015

This post was previously published on the DAQRI blog and posted here with permission.

As we head into Augmented World Expo 2015, we have seen this event grow and evolve alongside the industry. Within this last year, we’ve seen more mainstream conversations about Augmented Reality than ever before.  As a result of this increased focus, there is now more than ever, a need to support and encourage innovation in Augmented Reality and computer vision technologies.

This year, we are excited to be showcasing our products and to spotlight our recent acquisition of ARToolKit, the world’s most widely used augmented reality SDK.  By releasing ARToolKit professional SDKs under LGPL v3.0 for free use, DAQRI is committing its resources to the open source community in the hopes that (in the words of our founder, Brian Mullins), “we can kick off the next AR revolution and inspire a whole new generation to pick it up and make things that haven’t been imagined yet.”

On the exhibition floor, Ben Vaughan and Philip Lamb from ARToolworks will be available to discuss ARToolKit and DAQRI’s newly-created open source division that they are heading up. In addition, representatives from DAQRI will be demoing DAQRI 4D Studio and showcasing exciting technologies from Melon, our brain computer interface division.

DAQRI executives will also be presenting throughout the conference:

Monday, June 8:

  • 10:45 am – 11:30 am—DAQRI 4D Studio Tutorial
    Katherine Wiemelt, Sr. Product Director, DAQRI
  • 2:15pm – 3:00 pm—How to Measure Enterprise AR Impacts
    Andy Lowery, President, DAQRI

Tuesday, June 9:

  • 11:30 am – 1:00pm—Smart Glasses Introductions
    Matt Kammerait, VP Product, DAQRI
  • 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm—Entertainment, Games, and Play
    Brian Selzer, VP Business and Product Development, DAQRI
  • 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm—Auggie Awards
    Brian Mullins, Founder and CEO, DAQRI

Wednesday, June 10:

  • 2:45 pm-3:00 pm—From Evolution to Revolution: How AR will Transform Work, in the Future
    Brian Mullins, Founder and CEO, DAQRI

What Apple’s Purchase of Metaio Really Means for Augmented Reality

This article was originally published by AREA member NGRAIN on their company blog.

Augmented World Expo 2015 is just a week away, and with the recent news that Metaio may have just been bought out by Apple, it’s shaping up to be the most interesting AWE event yet.

Skeptics have been saying for years (or decades, for those really keeping count) that Augmented Reality applications, much like their VR siblings, are variously destined to be “niche” technologies, pipe dreams or simply impossible. The VR community is doing a great job of proving these skeptics wrong: Oculus, HTC and Valve are on the cusp of releasing VR headsets in the $300-400 range that will enable anyone to bring VR home. There is a critical mass of indie developers who are passionate about bringing VR experiences for the whole world to see, share and experience, and there are real VR apps, games and other experiences that people can download and use today, even if the hardware comes in the form of developer kits or roll-your-own cardboard.

You could say the AR community has been less successful. AR is more difficult to explain to the uninitiated (“it’s kind of like VR, but not”). The technologies needed to make compelling Augmented Reality experiences are arguably more challenging (real-time 3D object tracking, anyone?). And there’s an argument to be made that we, as an AR community, tend to over-promise and under-deliver—a quick browse through YouTube are AR marketing videos that present sci-fi’ed visions of the future with fantastic, magical wearable displays and free-hand gestural interactions that would have a place in any Hollywood summer blockbuster.

The skeptics can be forgiven if that’s what they think augmented reality is all about — as an AR community, there tends to be the default refrain that the future is going to be awesome, when it finally gets here.

If there is one thing that we can take away from this recent transaction between Apple and Metaio, it’s this: the future is now. And as a community, we owe it to ourselves to start thinking that way. It is true that key parts of the AR tech stack aren’t 100% robust. Wearable smart glasses present themselves as Atari-era in capability in a world with PS4/Xbox One-level expectations and there are very few tools out there to help AR content creators (shameless plug: here at NGRAIN, we do offer an AR content creation tool called NGRAIN Vergence that lets you create industrial AR content without having to write a single line of code). But as it is with any emerging technology, the goal can’t be to have a perfect technology, but rather one that suspends disbelief and serves its intended audience well.

In fact, there are enough parts of the AR tech stack that are available today to create compelling industrial applications or entertaining experiences. What we do at NGRAIN is a case in point: we already have customers who are bringing augmented reality to their businesses, from assessing vehicle damage in the maintenance yard to making crucial operational decisions in sub-zero temperatures. I will own up to the fact that the technology isn’t always where I wish it were, or that it doesn’t do everything I wish it did but it does plenty to deliver value to our customers, which is really the name of the game. And it all comes from focusing on the real problems—the ones our customers have—rather than the challenges we sometimes invent as a community (e.g. the “need” for high res optics, zero latency experiences or magically perfect object tracking and registration).

Coming back to that parallel in the VR world, it’s a certainty that the first generation of commercially available VR gear will not be everything to everyone, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be: it will be good enough for people to give it a try, get hooked, and look forward to the future with the confidence that the experiences will keep getting even better than they are today. This has every reason to hold true for those of us developing applications in the AR world as well.

Let’s get people excited about what’s possible today, rather than getting them to wait until tomorrow!

Not as Easy as It Looks

In a modern world everyone assumes that power recharges are just a “plug away.” Just plug your device into the next power outlet and your issues are over. Generating and distributing power isn’t magic. It’s an industry.  

Why Do You Care about EPRI?

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) works collaboratively with more than 450 utility provider members and participants internationally to identify or create the technologies that utilities will need to provide affordable, reliable, safe, efficient and environmentally responsible electric power to the world. By leveraging its research and membership, EPRI is helping utilities investigate the benefit of using AR-assisted workflows to improve worker safety and efficiency.

Why Does EPRI Care about the AREA?

Augmented Reality promises to change how electric utilities will operate in the future. Like in electric utilities, strong industry associations are necessary to promote and develop Augmented Reality technologies and standards to the point that they are productive and as easy to use as plugging your device into the socket.

Our experience with introducing new systems into electric utilities is that you can’t get from here to there, from nascent to mature industry, in a single step. You have to have partners and communities. New tools and techniques gleaned from AREA members in other industries can be applied to utilities, reducing the cost of technology implementation for our members in the near term, and the cost of generating and distributing electricity in the long run. Collaborating with AREA members will result in products that better serve the utility industry and the public.

Members of the AREA represent the thought leaders in an emerging technology that EPRI and its members think will be pivotal to increase efficiency and safety for workers among EPRI‘s utility membership.

EPRI is proud to be a Founding Sponsor member of the AREA. Joining AREA and getting it launched successfully is only the beginning.

Bringing Together the Best and the Brightest

In close partnership with AREA, EPRI is going to bring the AR vendor community closer to the utility vendor community.

As a first step, we are organizing a special two-day workshop to be held at the EPRI Charlotte office on July 27-28, 2015. The AREA members and other AR ecosystem stakeholders will present on their position in the market and technology. The utility customers will ask some tough questions about reliability, standards and security. They will go over the best use cases around workflow in the field and asset management.

In a matter of a few short days, these groups will be able to formulate better strategies for improving the operations of utilities without putting assets and people at risk.

We know that this is an important step towards bringing our two industries closer together. Join the AREA to learn the details of this special program and visit the event page for more information about AR in Leading-edge Utilities.

Why IEEE Joined the AREA

The Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance offers a central platform for the Augmented Reality ecosystem to come together in a manner that fosters growth, collaboration and market awareness and development.

This is why the AREA is important for the IEEE as well as for everyone who will use AR in the future. Prior to the AREA, no one has focused on the enterprise AR value chain. In the AREA, those who provide AR solutions and components will improve their processes and products in partnership with their future customers, and customers will be fully engaged in the process of expanding this market.

The Diverse Viewpoints of AREA Members

The Founding Sponsor members of the AREA, including IEEE, seek to bring together the diverse perspectives of the AR value chain in order to provide opportunities for working through common pain points. The resolution of these points will result in a positive outcome for customers, end users and manufacturers. By fostering this level of growth, the AREA is an enticing forum for interested parties to jointly conduct research that supports their organizations’ performance.

Beyond research, the AREA affords its members the opportunity to gain inroads with other organizations that potentially offer them new solutions with diverse stakeholders.

Personally, I’m excited about the opportunity to increase our collective knowledge and educate the marketplace with respect to the impact that AR can have on their businesses’ and customers’ product quality and experiences. From the perspective of advancing technology for humanity, the IEEE Standards Association continues to explore new areas to support technologies that have the potential to impact the world in a positive manner. Augmented Reality offers this possibility in a very important way—and members of the AREA collaborate to show their support of the technology as well as to increase their voice in the market.

Complexity in Emergence

In addition to the benefits AR offers, there are aspects of AR introduction that will be difficult to overcome. The technology is no more immune to themes of cybersecurity, privacy, and identity than other interconnected technologies. Given the pervasive nature of these themes, it is natural that we will, at some point, need to tackle these complex techno-political questions together, as partners in equilibrium with end users.

While resolving cybersecurity, privacy and identity issues is not on the AREA docket in the immediate future, you can imagine the role the AREA will play in the future as an important actor in the AR ecosystem.

Your Role in the AREA

The AREA is now open to all classes of membership. Why should you join?

I encourage you to take a few moments to learn about the AREA’s value proposition to your company and customers. Reflect on how your value chain could benefit from having technology that increases workplace safety and product quality, while reducing manufacturing and operational costs and helping to streamline workflow processes.

Then ask yourself if your company had the chance to educate the market regarding the benefits of AR in the enterprise; would it benefit? What about the chance to be a part of collective, exploratory research that advanced the AR market? If you believe these questions make sense and your company needs to be at this table, then consider joining the IEEE and becoming an AREA member.

I look forward to meeting you at one of our many upcoming events and discussing the important issues that AREA members will be tackling for the benefit of humanity.