Enterprise Augmented Reality at Laval Virtual 2016
This year’s Laval Virtual conference showcased innovations in Augmented Reality and introduced wide-ranging discussions on the topic of Augmented Realty in enterprise. On the second day, AREA board member Christine Perey hosted a round table session on the use of Augmented Reality to promote productivity. Participants included Manuel Asselot (Robocortex), Sebastian Knoedel (DIOTA), Marie-Julie Pecoult (Diginext), Pontus Blomberg (3D Studio Blomberg), Yann Froger (EON Reality) and Jim Novack (Talent Swarm).
Olivier Larroque of Capgemini provided his impressions and summarized the essential questions and answers discussed by the invited panelists in a post on the blog of RA’Pro, an AREA member. The original post in French is translated and provided in English here.
Which industry currently leads the way with Augmented Reality in Europe?
Among the panel participants there was agreement that aerospace is a leading industry. Adoption of AR in aerospace is driven by reuse of 3D content in its product life cycle management (PLM). AR use cases are most recommended, for example, where they can overcome a technician’s lack of experience in performing a task, or where they can assist in risky or complex operations. Such use cases are being applied in a highly regulated environment where only one error on the assembly line can cause the loss of an aircraft or satellite.
What are characteristics of use cases that are most compelling for investors?
Ideally, you should identify critical points of a business process where human errors generate the greatest cost. The return on investment (ROI) on AR as reported by companies such as Boeing and Newport News Shipbuilding shows how crucial it is for an enterprise to embark on such a project.
Boeing conducted a comparison of three different guidance methods on a satellite assembly procedure of 50 steps using instructions:
- On a stationary PC
- On a table (PDF)
- Overlaid in the field of view (AR) using a tablet
The results were dramatic: during first-time assembly, the AR-enhanced tablet users with no prior experience with the steps committed one error, while those using the PC committed eight errors. During the second time following the steps, those using AR committed no errors.
Which prerequisites should be in place before a company implements AR?
Optimization of existing 3D content for Augmented Reality is actually more important than products or toolchains. Maintaining a flexible and modular approach in adopting these new technologies provides the ability to move among varying hardware and software products and packages, and helps organizations to remain a step ahead of the market.
What do you think of smart glasses?
The first step in adopting Augmented Reality is to use an AR-enhanced tablet for testing and then migrate to smart glasses if appropriate.
Smart glasses, of course, have compelling features (hands-free working, portability, etc.), but one should avoid falling into “shiny object syndrome,” or the desire to adopt technology at any price without first examining all its ins and outs. It’s essential to study what’s actually required, as well as the technical limitations.
What are the implications of adopting AR as a disruptive innovation?
The implications are threefold:
- Social resistance to change: unions and conservative individuals within the company may be reluctant to change if AR is seen as an aspect of robotics. Communication should be oriented to assisting humans and what they do best. Moreover people, the employees, should be included at the heart of the discussions.
- Enhancing procedures for Augmented Reality: start with simple tasks in workbooks or manuals. AR takes advantage of our visual processing and operators tend to instinctively apply it to minimize errors as it superimposes instructions to be followed in real time.
- Dealing with technological realities: over-the-top special effects in concept videos have instilled high expectations for AR. We should rather address and educate the customer about the technology’s limitations in terms of hardware (field of view, tracking, etc.) and software. The technology should be thoroughly tested to ensure it matches the use cases that the customer is targeting.
If the best hardware is not currently available, when is the best time to get started with AR?
Ideally right away. AR adoption is a long process with many different aspects (social, technological, security, etc.) that involves deep collaboration among all domains of an enterprise (operational, management, legal, etc.).
Augmented Reality will allow companies to approach the way their employees work more visually, with a new way of representing objects, learning new tasks and transmitting knowledge. Recall the progress made between the first MS-DOS screen and what we have today with personal computers. With new devices such as smart glasses and other products like Microsoft HoloLens, the DAQRI Smart Helmet or Magic Leap, the changes will also be very dramatic.