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Augmented Reality: A New Workforce Mobilization Paradigm Using advanced forms of AR, diverse teams and disciplines can be brought together to ensure faster product realization and higher quality at reduced costs.
2 KEEP CHALLENGING October 20152 KEEP CHALLENGING October 2015
Executive SummaryInnovation is a constant in the information technology industry,
continuously changing the way services are delivered to the business
and to end users. From the mainframe era on to the Internet stage,
were now experiencing the fifth IT wave, an era in which social, mobile,
analytics and cloud (aka the SMAC Stack) are forming a new digital
foundation with which to power business. SMAC is already changing
how IT is being deployed across industries, and as business becomes
increasingly digital this new stack is expected to have a multiplying
effect on operational efficiency and productivity.1
Another constant throughout technologys swift progression is the
exponential growth in computer processing power and the steady
increase in the number of computing devices and users. Augmented
and virtual-reality-based hardware devices are part of this growing
computing base. They leverage advancements in mobile technology and
big data analytics to offer new communications channels for enterprise
applications. Augmented and virtual reality is converging with SMAC
and, as a result, businesses across multiple sectors are now able to tap
their vast potential to help users visualize data and instructions that
overlay physical assets in real time.
Imagine a worker who is on the factory floor conducting a routine
equipment check for preventive maintenance and inspection activities.
He comes across a piece of equipment and realizes that something has
changed in the way he typically interacts with it. Earlier, the worker used
to carry a heavy manual or rely on his supervisor to instruct and guide
him through the inspection, but now he is empowered with a technology
AUGMENTED REALITY: A NEW WORKFORCE MOBILIZATION PARADIGM 3
that helps him to uniquely interact with this piece of industrial
equipment. This technology augmented reality (AR) is being deployed
to more effectively mobilize workers across multiple industries.
According to Gartner research,2 AR is poised to become an important
workplace tool. AR technology has matured to a point where
organizations can use it as an internal tool to complement and enhance
key business processes, workflows and employee training. Visualization
of content is among the many important business innovations that AR
Many companies are increasingly applying AR tools to create effective
training programs that drive employee engagement and success in
the highly competitive global marketplace. Also, some companies
manufacturing players among them are not just seeking cost
savings but also trying to gain effective, in-time and quality training
methodologies that do not interfere with company operations or its
Since AR technology operates in a real environment and provides
computer-generated aids to enhance the real world, the technology is
well positioned to transfer skills across the organization to a far greater
extent than old-style training methodologies, such as paper-based
manuals and DVDs.
This white paper explores different uses of AR in workforce-intensive
business environments and how companies can leverage AR to set up
their workforce for success.
AUGMENTED REALITY: A NEW WORKFORCE MOBILIZATION PARADIGM 3
Prehistory, soon after invention of the sail.
1958 1970s 1974-8 1988 1992+ 1999 2006 Now 20??
First jet fighter heads-up display
U.S. DoD air-combat testing
First car HUD: Cutlass Supreme
Dedicated tools begin;ARToolkit
UbiComp; Mark Weiser
Commercial helmet-mounted displays
Tom Caudell &
Context-aware software that learns you
Useful smart-phone ARNokias
Augmented Technology RevolutionAugmented reality provides information and entertainment that overlays on the physical world. The potential of augmented reality technology is wide but it remains in the development stage, with most potential applications bottled up in laboratories (see Figure 1 for a timeline). This technology has proved to be very comfortable and user friendly, as the hardware requirements to experience AR can be a smartphone or a tablet that users are familiar with. AR applications are not complicated to set up and, once installed, require minimal guidance.
Progress of Augmented RealityAugmented reality uses are diverse. Key workflows and applications that numerous companies have built on various platforms include:
Field service: Using AR technology, field service agents can access checklists and work manuals. With the help of wearable technology, they can interact hands-free. AR technology allows field service agents to interact with the system via voice and gesture commands, and with video and sharing support they can interact with other users to provide remote support.
Energy and utilities: Energy and utility companies are exploring novel ways AR can be used to transform their businesses. The areas include asset inspection, reading meters, monitoring tasks remotely, and health and safety. The goal is to ensure that the workforce is endowed with tools that provide appropriate situ-ational acumen and facilitate timely task completion.
Healthcare: AR technology helps users access medical records and important patient vitals. Nurses and clinicians can use AR technology to learn about upcoming surgeries, for modeling of organs and to explain medical procedures.
4 KEEP CHALLENGING October 2015
Augmented Reality Timeline
AUGMENTED REALITY: A NEW WORKFORCE MOBILIZATION PARADIGM 5
AR technology also can be used to conduct training sessions on body parts and functionalities for medical students. The personalization of healthcare is among ARs key value propositions.
Automotive: This industry has used AR technology for over 10 years to visualize technical information.
4 Progressive manufacturers are now exploring various
established use cases for AR such as factory planning, product visualization, worker support and customer support. Players such as Metaio (which has been acquired by Apple) are leaders in this field.
Industrial design: AR can help industrial designers experience a products design and operation before completion. Volkswagen, for example, uses AR for comparing calculated and actual crash test imagery.
5 AR can be used to visualize
a car body structure and engine layout. It can also be used to compare digital mock-ups with physical mock-ups for finding discrepancies between them.
In addition to the applications listed above, AR trials are multiplying in retail, education, tourism and gaming, (see Figure 2).
Augmented Reality for Workforce TrainingAR is considered a new experience for workforce training and development. Companies are increasingly deploying AR-based solutions and creating impactful training programs that improve employee engagement and productivity.
According to the American Society for Training and Development, investment in employee training enhances a companys financial performance. An increase of $680 in training expenditures per employee generates, on average, a 6% improve-ment in total shareholder return.
A Louis Harris and Associates poll reports that among employees with poor training opportunities, 41% planned to leave within a year. Only 12% planned to leave among those who considered their companys training opportunities to be excellent, resulting in a retention rate more than two-thirds higher than average companies.
AR Possibilities: Limited Only by Imagination
Field ServiceEnergy & Utilities
6 KEEP CHALLENGING October 2015
Current Training MethodologiesTake an example of a classroom with 20 newly recruited manufacturing workforce members who are learning how to operate a machine. The trainer holds a 100-odd-page user manual that contains guidance on how to install, repair and uninstall a specific set of machine(s). Each machine part has umpteen procedures that must be followed; these instructions are verbally provided, with follow-up on-the-job training later on. The learning session is spread across multiple days, with a set of pages covered each day.
How many members of this team of 20 will understand what is being delivered and be able to apply it? Will the learning be uniform across the group? Will this learning instill confidence among the new workforce members as well as company managers responsible for their activities?
Todays workforce is a cross-generational blend, including older workers, baby boomers, gen X-ers and millennials, with differing workforce expectations and learning