AR isn’t just for gamers, but it poses new challenges for enterprise IT teams.
Last summer, Pokemon Go introduced the concept of augmented reality (AR) to millions of people. But AR is about more than just using your phone to chase virtual creatures in the real world. At warehouses, on factory floors, and in manufacturing facilities around the globe, AR is putting on its hard hat and getting to work.
At Samsung’s European Global Parts Center in the Netherlands, for example, warehouse employees have been running a pilot using Ubimax software and Google Glass Enterprise Edition. Workers scan barcodes on incoming orders, and then Google Glass displays the aisle, row, and box where the part can be found. They then scan a QR code on a Samsung Smartwatch to indicate when a part has successfully been picked.
Samsung’s Vision Picking program has increased production speed by 12 to 22 percent and slashed errors by 10 percent, according to Robert van der Waal, director of logistics operations for Samsung Electronics. He says Samsung is looking at deploying the technology to other warehouses across Europe.
Samsung isn’t the only company seeing big productivity gains from AR:
– Boeing has used Google Glass to display technical diagrams to workers assembling electric wire harnesses for aircraft, leaving their hands free to work while cutting assembly time by 25 percent.
– GE is using AR to measure gas turbine nozzles at a facility in Florence, Italy. A process that used to take most of a day now takes less than an hour, says Shayam Rajan, Edge Lab leader at GE Global Research.
– At Mortenson Construction, a $3.7 billion firm based in Minneapolis, contractors can don a $15,000 DAQRI headset, walk through a 3D model of a hospital under construction, and see where the electrical wiring might interfere with the plumbing before either is actually in place.
– Technicians at German elevator manufacturer thyssenkrupp are using Microsoft HoloLens to visualize and diagnose technical problems, reducing the time needed to complete repairs by up to two-thirds.