Illumination

Insights and trends on augmented reality and advanced manufacturing technology
8January2018

Enterprise AR Trends to Watch in 2018

Woman wearing AR glasses

Augmented reality (AR) has been picking up mainstream appeal for a few years now, a trend that is slowly but surely spilling over into the enterprise world.

With the technology rapidly improving, and allowing for a broader array of industrial applications, companies are beginning to catch on to the immense value enterprise AR solutions offer. With Light Guide Systems, our patented projection AR technology, I have seen this elevated comprehension firsthand.

With big name brands betting big on the future of AR, business leaders are far less likely to think of the technology as an experiment and far more understanding of the value it provides.

From automotive and medical device manufacturing to aerospace engineering, the applications for enterprise AR extend across a wide range of industries. Organizations are thinking more progressively about the power of enterprise AR and its ability to streamline operations.

With that said, here are a few enterprise AR trends we think will have a big impact in the corporate world in 2018:

  1. Enhanced Enterprise AR Wearables

Currently, there are a couple of challenges inhibiting wearable AR devices from reaching mainstream adoption within factory settings.

However, with some modifications, the power of mobility offered through wearables can be further enhanced by sophisticated AR software that transforms complex build data into guided work instructions, much like Light Guide Systems’ projection AR technology. Rather than simply providing basic information, such as cycle time, these enhancements would give operators a dynamic range of intelligent vision on the go.

It’s not unrealistic to envision a future where operators using AR headsets can walk into any workstation in a factory, have the headset recognize which area they’re in and display work instructions customized to the station.

  1. Real-Time, Dynamic Programming Needs

Evolving consumer preferences and the rise of online shopping has led to greater demand for high quality, custom-made products. These days, people expect the ability to order an item in the color, shape and size they want, leading to greater variation in the process for assembling those products.

As the trend toward greater customization continues, companies are turning to enterprise AR solutions to streamline variable assembly processes and meet consumer needs more effectively.

Enterprise AR tools, like Light Guide Systems, integrate with external data sources and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) interfaces to download and interpret massive amounts of complex and sophisticated build data. This functionality provides the dynamic programming capabilities that enable users to modify production processes in real time so operators have the right work instructions needed to complete every order accurately and efficiently.

  1. Using Enterprise AR to Support Flex Working

 Just as the nature of products is changing to a more customized mix, the nature of the workforce is evolving, as well. Demand from millennials for more flexible work environments has caused manufacturers to consider changes to the traditional factory shift job that has long been the norm.

Flex work tools, like Upwork, allow companies to put out a project call, and have individuals bid on those projects, creating a contractor model that has been gaining popularity over the past few years.

Industry 4.0 solutions provide manufacturers with the ability to train new workers and improve quality assurance measures, making it possible for organizations to take advantage of this remote contractor model. With the help of enterprise AR, these contractors can receive the same detailed and dynamic work instructions.

On the management side, leaders will have access to a breadth of data, allowing them to monitor cycle times, get information about quality of the build, receive production and inspection data and even see when their contract employees are working.

A shift to this type of remote working model could potentially open up manufacturing employment opportunities for those with physical limitations.

Although there are additional considerations that must be worked out before this model is viable on a mass scale, many are being addressed even as you are reading this, making it a very real possibility in the not-too-distant future.

Want to see how enterprise AR can benefit your business? Send us a message, and a member of our solutions team will be in touch to discuss the challenges you’re facing and talk through various augmented reality applications that could drastically improve your operations.

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Brian Close

Brian Close

Brian Close is the Executive Director of Sales for OPS Solutions. Brian has over 10 years of experience managing sales, manufacturing and engineering operations including managing implementation of new manufacturing equipment and processes with processes and managing $20M+ portfolio of contract engineering projects. Brian holds a BS, Materials Science & Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a MBA from the University of Michigan.
View all posts by Brian Close