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IoT Data Enlivened by AR for Frontline Workers

Augmented reality (AR) technology has brought about considerable change for workforces in terms of productivity. Wearing an AR headset is all that is required for technical and frontline workers to delve deep into the complex interiors of systems and machines. Augmented reality is harnessing real-time data and bringing it to life through ways more innovative than any time in the past.

Results of a recent survey have highlighted that upwards of 80 percent companies with IoT deployments are incorporating parallel AR deployments.

Vladimir Lukic, partner and managing director of BCG and PTC executive vice president of digital transformation solutions Craig Melrose, delved into the potential of AR in an MIT Sloan Management Review hosted webcast.

Lukic said that despite there being large volumes of generated data, much of the data is constricted. He emphasised that even after migration factors such as latency and lengthy processing times, prior to it being ready for use in the field. Elaborating further, he said that that fragmented data sources and varying protocols are some of the other factors leading to the restricted availability of information for operators in the field. Lukic mentioned that operators can refer to farmers, delivery personnel, doctors and people from other professions.

According to Lukic, AR has the potential power for unlocking data and propelling technology to action. He explained that AR can free-up data and disseminate it to designated field professionals at the right time.

IoT data with augmented reality. Image source: iotamericas

A survey involving 900 companies by BCG was concluded recently discovered that more than 80 percent companies with IoT deployments are also using parallel AR deployments. Lukic revealed that about 30 percent of these efforts are already being made, whilst the remaining are at initial pilot AR stages. He expressed amazement about how many companies are generating data and spreading the same into the field. According to Lukic, the trend will see an upswing within the next few years. He remarked that more intriguing deployments are to be seen in the future.

Lukic went into more detail explaining the requirements to be fulfilled for delivering a potent AR-based environment. He said that tasks currently being undertaken through AR are the ones that cannot be fully automated. Lukic emphasised the importance of linkage where physical execution will take place, with a fragment of digital information or interaction raising its effectiveness. Lukic also highlighted that tasks needed to be driven by humans i.e. a human being performing the task.

According to Lukic, data aggregation can be challenging as it would involve a lot more than simple data point displays or phone conversations. He stressed that there was a need to combine different data sources and deliver information when needed.

Lukic said that all augmented reality-based applications are required to be functional in real-time. He explained that any field worker performing an activity should be able to access information chunks when and where they need, without delay. Lukic pointed out the example of a printer parts replacement task to highlight how one has to read instructions or reach for the manual for getting the job done. He elaborated that augmented reality can be the solution to revolutionise such situations through instant data projections.

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