Mixed Reality: An essential component of your industry 4.0 strategy

Mixed Reality: An essential component of your industry 4.0 strategy

We would like to invite you to a 45 minute “Mixed Reality in Manufacturing” webinar with our partner CraneMorley on December 15th at 12 (EST).  We’ll discuss the business of value of mixed reality and then show you an amazing live 30 minute demonstration.

Register here

Its your first day on the job.  As you approach the line you see a dazzling array of high tech equipment.  Its looks overwhelming and you begin feeling anxious as you get closer to your station.  You put on your halolens and a virtual guide walks you through the process.  If you encounter a problem, there is a help button connecting you to a live agent who sees exactly what you see and walks you through the resolution.  By lunch time you feel productive and confident in your new skills.  This scenario and many more enabled by mixed reality are happening everyday throughout the manufacturing industry.

Mixed reality [MR] superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world providing a composite view. Sounds like science fiction though it is a very commonly used  technology. Gamers are very familiar with it.  Two of the most popular video games in the world  Pokemon Go and Minecraft Earth use MR. If you are not familiar with those games google “tiger” on your phone. You’ll see an option for 3D and one to see the 3D image in your environment. If you select 3D image in your environment, you can now superimpose a 3D tiger in your home.  Though its not real you get an idea of its veracity, size and movement.

In the workplace, mixed reality is emerging as an important digital transformation tool to improve employee productivity, training, and customer service.  Lets examine some of the business drivers we are seeing in the field.

Remote Troubleshooting

Remote troubleshooting allows for an expert to see what you are seeing and collaborate with you without them being physically present.  Lets say a machine required for production is down.  If you do not have the expertise to fix it yourself, you will need help. That person could be in the building, local or in another country.  Getting them in front of the down machine takes time and cost money.  Using mixed reality, we remove the time constraint and greatly reduce the cost.  Using your headset you call the expert, they don’t need any special equipment and can now see what you are seeing. Your hands are free and can be directed to assist in the troubleshooting and repair.  The expert can even annotate within your field of vision, reference images and documentation helping you easily locate the cause and fix the problem.

The benefit achieved is the equipment is repaired and the line moving again faster than with a traditional approach.  Less downtime translates to higher throughput.  We also reduced travel time, expenses and carbon impact.  Clients also report the reduced travel has led to a better work|life balance. There’s no place like home.

If your product requires field support enabling them with mixed reality provides the ability to connect and collaborate with an expert anywhere in the world.  The result is faster call resolution, increased first call close rates and reduced cost.  Both the customer and the provider benefit as we see customer satisfaction increase. 

Microsoft Customer Story-L’Oréal is revolutionizing work with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on HoloLens 2

Product Design

Product design can be expensive and time-consuming.  Lets take the example of a car manufacturer.  Creating a prototype design is not trivial.  Now instead of creating a physical design what if we used mixed reality to create a virtual design?  Designers can now see the new concept in the physical world and model its characteristics.  Not being tied to a physical object has additional benefits.  Creating cad files is much cheaper and faster than mocking up a psychical auto body so we can create more designs to review.  We can invite and collaborate with others regardless of their physical location bringing in new perspectives and ideas.  Using mixed reality provides the opportunity to lower cost, increase creativity and decrease time to market.

Ford brings HoloLens to Design Studio; Drives speed creativity and collaboration

Skilling and Training

With a significant portion of the workforce nearing retirement combined with the great resignation have left some manufactures in crisis.  Finding, retaining and training workers is a strategic imperative.  Mixed reality changes the way we learn.  The immersive experience increases speed and retention of skills.  Manuals and videos only go so far, image a 3d representation of complex machine in your field a vision. You can walk around it, see it in action and be visually guided through its’ operation.  I began this post with an example of just in time training, teaching a worker the skills they need to excel in the context of their workplace.

Microsoft Customer Story-Toyota simplifies complex repairs and accelerates training with mixed reality on HoloLens 2

The examples provided are just  a sampling of what can be done, really this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are many more scenarios and more advanced use cases of this technology.  I hope this post helps highlight why mixed reality is an essential component of your industry 4.0 strategy.

We would like to invite you to a 45 minute “Mixed Reality in Manufacturing” webinar with our partner CraneMorley on December 15th at 12 (EST).  We’ll discuss the business of value of mixed reality and then show you an amazing live 30 minute demonstration.

Register here