Yesterday, PwC unveiled a report which identified the eight core technological breakthroughs which high-ranking business owners should be aware of. None of these technologies are new – IoT, AI and 3D printing were three of those listed – yet they were selected as they can be applied to today’s businesses to streamline development and expansion. AR and VR have been included in the mix as well – but their inclusion has been linked to specific areas.
At the moment the application of AR is both expensive and hard to apply. The recently released Pokémon GO uses a weak variation which tends to be switched off after a short time, while larger projects require deeper pockets out of the reach of younger hands. But in the right hands, the technology can work wonders. At Boeing, factory trainees assembling a mock airplane wing worked 30% faster and 90% more accurately using AR-animated instructions on tablets, as opposed to trainees reading from PDFs. We’ve known for years that reading from screens forces the mind to gleem over details, and even when printed a hands-on approach works better, but the point is that an AR approach mimics the practical methods which improves skills development.
In addition, look at the graph PwC supplied below:
98 respondents is not representative of a large body of people – typically national stories require over a thousand people evenly divided among the population to get a clear perspective. However the 98 are dedicated analysts and though-leaders on the industry, so the statistics represent how a small group of people is using AR. But of those who responded, over a third uses it for product design and development, followed closely by safety and manufacturing skills training. The latter makes sense, as shown with the Boeing example, and as does the former with the increased investment into consumer-related entertainment.
What may be interesting to note is that the rise of safety usage in AR – along with remote collaboration, data access, and maintenance following on – is that the use is from a B2B perspective. In other words, the bulk of investment and applicability is between businesses or inside them, rather than the well-advertised B2C sector. With the expensive uses of AR/VR, it is likely to remain this way until consumer models reaches a lower, more acceptable price point in the future.