Citing its own report Capgemini said that enterprises are using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to enhance their business operations. The report, “Augmented and Virtual Reality in Operations: A guide for investment” found that 82 percent of companies currently implementing AR/VR say the benefits are either meeting or exceeding their expectations. However, a shortage of in-house expertise and insufficient back-end infrastructures are significant barriers to growth.
The new report from Capgemini in-house think-tank which surveyed more than 700 executives in the automotive, manufacturing and utilities sectors, with considerable knowledge of their organization's AR/VR initiatives, found that 50 percent of enterprises currently not implementing AR and VR will start exploring immersive technologies for their business operations within the next three years.
These include using AR to remotely access real-time help from experts on a wearable or handheld device, and VR to train employees. Some 46 percent of companies believe the technology will become mainstream in their organizations within the next three years, while a further 38 percent think it will become mainstream in their organizations in the next three to five years.
The report said that while AR is more complex to implement, organizations perceive it as more beneficial than VR. It highlights that AR generates productivity benefits thanks to streamlined workflows, citing examples such as technicians at Porsche using AR glasses that project step-by-step bulletins and schematic drawings across the line of vision, while also allowing remote experts the ability to see what the technician sees to provide feedback.
This solution can shorten service resolution time by up to 40 percent3. VR improves efficiency and safety and helps manage complexities of tasks thereby boosting productivity. For instance, the report highlights that VR is used at Airbus to integrate digital mock-ups into production environments, giving assembly workers access to complete 3D models of the aircraft under production. This reduces the time required to inspect from three weeks to three days4. Additionally, according to the report, at least three in four (75 percent) companies with large-scale AR/VR implementations can attest to operational benefits of more than 10 percent.
The report found that across the automotive, manufacturing and utilities sectors, the most popular uses of AR and VR are repair and maintenance, and design and assembly. Between 29 percent and 31 percent of companies using AR and/or VR are using it for repair and maintenance, specifically to consult digital reference materials (31 percent), seek a remote expert (30 percent), digitally view components not in physical view (30 percent) and superimpose step-by-step instructions on work stations (29 percent).
For design and assembly, companies using VR and/or AR are using it to view digital assembly instructions (28 percent), simulate product performance in extreme conditions (27 percent), visualize infrastructures from various angles (27 percent) and overlay design components onto existing modules (26 percent). For example, the report cites Ford's use of VR technology to identify, and then engineer alternative actions by humans captured by body motion sensors during assembling, which has resulted in a 70 percent drop in employee injuries and a 90 percent reduction in ergonomic issues5.
The report said that two-thirds of all the organizations surveyed believe that AR is more applicable to their business operations than VR. While VR has been found to enhance a solo, immersive user experience that is isolated from the real world, AR connects the digital world to the real world, and therefore supports a number of breakthrough use-cases. Of companies deploying AR, 45 percent are implementing the technology, compared with just 36 percent of those companies using VR (the rest of the companies are still at the experimentation phase).
The report found that companies in the U.S. and China are currently leading the implementation race, with more than 50 percent of companies surveyed already implementing immersive technology for business operations. Whereas over 50 percent of companies in France, Germany, the Nordics and United Kingdom are still only experimenting with AR/VR initiatives.
“Immersive technology has come a long way in a short time and will continue to evolve. Faced with stiff competition from aggressive investors in the U.S. and China, businesses need to streamline investment to seize the long-term growth potential this technology offers,” said Lanny Cohen, Chief Innovation Officer at Capgemini. “To drive the highest business value from AR and VR, companies need a centralized governance structure, proofs of concept that are aligned with business strategy, and to be able to drive innovation and employee change management.”