Here's How Augmented Reality Is Becoming Business as Usual
While augmented reality has become fairly commonplace in our vocabulary, its capabilities are often misunderstood. With the big players like Apple and Sony harnessing the power of AR for entertainment purposes, many of us still expect to see 3D mythical creatures leaping out from a screen.
But walking with dinosaurs is just one of AR’s many possibilities. When applied in the enterprise market, this technology can increase productivity, reduce errors and streamline processes corporation wide.
We spoke to Paul Boris, COO of Smart-Glasses, augmented reality and virtual reality suppliers Vuzix, to find out why AR is so misunderstood and how demand is ramping up as we move into 2018.
“AR for many other companies is still a “party trick”, meaning, it’s intended to entertain but rarely provides sustainable business value,” he explains. With partnerships with big brand names, including DHL, AirBus and Blackberry, as well as a $5 million deal with Toshiba, the company is emerging as a market leader, ripe for acquisition in a space with many large players looking to gain a foothold.
Providing real business solutions.
“From Vuzix’ perspective,” says Boris, “in enterprise, having a solution that can put the red-dot in the right spot at the right time is a real use case.” In the case of DHL, the company’s smart glasses are providing workers with visual displays of order picking instructions and all the information they need to find items and place them on the cart, allowing them to work hands-free. In international trials, DHL reported an average improvement all round in productivity by 15 percent, as well as greater accuracy.
Another business successfully integrating wearable computing into their daily production line is AirBus, who reported the ability to deliver tasks five times faster while driving errors to zero and improving ergonomics. “The ability to complement the operator with context relevant, real-time data is creating dramatic improvements and accelerating the digital transformation for industrial companies, field service and support roles in every industry.”
The reality of augmented reality is that it doesn’t have to be about dazzling lights or breathtaking images as advertised in immersive AR experiences. “The simple red dot in the right place at the right time - guidance in context to a warehouse picker or technician - is not very flashy, but brings tremendous benefit to the business,” Boris reinforces. “It can tell you what part of the machine to inspect, where to place the next fastener, which bin to pick from, which package to put where, or where to place material - and from this perspective, we see a significant uptick in deployed solutions.”
Developing products to corner all markets.
Vuzix currently offers the broadest solution portfolio of any company in the wearable AR and computing space. Their hardware portfolio is expanding and their partners are delivering complex software solutions on their products. This allows Vuzix to “penetrate the lower end of the market effectively, as well as seed even more customers faster.”
One of the barriers to AR’s expansion has typically been the cost. Augmented reality was once an expensive technology, placing it firmly in the domain of large multinationals with budgets to match, but Vuzix is now able to deliver practical solutions at an affordable price. “This is the very reason we’ve developed Vuzix Basics™. With this solution, our devices can be deployed incredibly quickly, and bring value almost immediately. Many companies just need help getting off to a fast start, and simplifying those first deployments allows them to realize value quickly.”
Along with the company’s supply chain partners, Vuzix is projecting major growth in 2018. “We are prepared for and expecting a significant ram in demand. Our revenue estimate for 2018 is $20 million and we think there is the potential for the company to exceed this.”
In addition to improving business efficiency at the enterprise level and leveraging partners like Toshiba to market co-branded solutions, Vuzix is further helping to change lives for the better, allowing a legally blind student to see and raising his quality of life through their technology.
Making AR business as usual for everyone.
When asked how this technology can be adopted in the workplace for new enterprises considering using it, Boris explains that having a clear view of what the company wants to achieve is essential, whether it’s increasing productivity or facilitating training.
”Quickly establish a vision for transforming your organization, identify the associated business value, and then find a way to deploy valuable, pragmatic solutions quickly.” With so many benefits to AR technology, it’s not surprising that Vuzix is making it business as usual for everyone.