Harvard Business Review: Why Every Organization Needs an Augmented Reality Strategy

Harvard Business Review: Why Every Organization Needs an Augmented Reality Strategy

Sometimes it’s best to just let the smartest people in the room handle it.

The Harvard Business Review series “A Manager’s Guide to Augmented Reality” written by Michael E. Porter, a Harvard Business School professor, and James E. Heppelmann, the CEO of PTC, a leading industrial software developer, did just that, taking a deep dive into the often misunderstood world of augmented reality (AR) as a business solution.

The first article of the series “Why Every Organization Needs an Augmented Reality Strategy” opens with the foundational need for AR — to bring digital data into a real world environment. From animated 3D graphics to videos & sound to raw data, all can be instantly projected through a smartphone or tablet.

“There is a fundamental disconnect between the wealth of digital data available to us and the physical world in which we apply it. While reality is three-dimensional, the rich data we now have to inform our decisions and actions remains trapped on two-dimensional pages and screens. This gulf between the real and digital worlds limits our ability to take advantage of the torrent of information and insights produced by billions of smart, connected products (SCPs) worldwide.

Augmented reality, a set of technologies that superimposes digital data and images on the physical world, promises to close this gap and release untapped and uniquely human capabilities. 

With this newfound toolset, businesses and institutions can provide instant, on-demand information to customers, students, or employees, anywhere at anytime, either through image recognition or a geofence — the data is triggered on a user’s device by a geotagged location, rather than an image.

(This blog post will focus on this first section, and will cover the second half dedicated to strategy and implementation later.)

The duo continued by breaking AR as a business solution down into a few sections, the first being ‘AR’s Key Capabilities’:

  1. Visualize: See 3D models of hidden car parts (below) or organs inside the human body.
  2. Instruct and guide: Realtime, on-demand training.
  3. Interact: Create virtual control panels and measure employee performance. Spin and re-size 3D products to see every inch before you purchase.

The second, ‘How AR Creates Value’: “AR creates business value in two broad ways: first, by becoming part of products themselves, and second, by improving performance across the value chain—in product development, manufacturing, marketing, service, and numerous other areas.”

  1. AR as a product feature: From the aforementioned virtual control panels to AR driven games to navigation, AR can be the product.
  2. AR and the value chain: design visualizations, product development, logistics, training, among many other aspects can increase efficiency and save companies money.
AN EMPLOYEE AT THE AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT COMPANY AGCO VIEWS AR INSTRUCTIONS FOR WORK ON A TRACTOR HYDRAULIC VALVESTACK.

Third, ‘Product Development’: “AR allows 3D models to be superimposed on the physical world as holograms, enhancing engineers’ ability to evaluate and improve designs.”

Fourth, ‘Manufacturing’: “In manufacturing, processes are often complex, requiring hundreds or even thousands of steps, and mistakes are costly. As we’ve learned, AR can deliver just the right information the moment it’s needed to factory workers on assembly lines, reducing errors, enhancing efficiency, and improving productivity…. AR dramatically reduces errors and increases productivity in factories.”

Fifth, ‘Logistics’: “Warehouse operations are estimated to account for about 20% of all logistics costs, while picking items from shelves represents up to 65% of warehouse costs. AR instructions direct workers to the location of each product to be pulled and then suggest the best route to the next product.” 

Sixth, ‘Marketing and Sales’: “AR is redefining the concept of showrooms and product demonstrations and transforming the customer experience. When customers can see virtually how products will look or function in a real setting before buying them, they have more-accurate expectations, more confidence about their purchase decisions, and greater product satisfaction.”

Seventh, ‘After-sales Service’: “AR assists technicians serving customers in the field in much the same way it helps workers in factories: by showing predictive analytics data generated by the product, visually guiding them through repairs in real time, and connecting them with remote experts who can help optimize procedures.”

And finally, ‘Human Resources’: “Early AR adopters like DHL, the U.S. Navy, and Boeing have already discovered the power of delivering step-by-step visual worker training on demand through AR. AR allows instruction to be tailored to a particular worker’s experience or to reflect the prevalence of particular errors.”

We suggest reading the entire article for great real life examples and to get a more detailed prospective on how AR is revolutionizing the business world. To learn more about AR and how BUNDLAR — AR Made Easy — can help you reach your augmented reality goals, visit BUNDLAR.com and contact info@BUNDLAR.com.

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