In this contemporary age of the Internet of Things (IoT), digitizing physical environments has become part of many businesses, especially industrial IoT firms. The keys to connecting the physical and digital worlds are investing in smart manufacturing and understanding the differences between virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
VR vs. AR
Augmented reality refers to technology that projects a digital image that serves as a composite of something from the physical world. It uses the existing environment and adds new information over it, whereas virtual reality creates an entirely artificial environment that replicates the real world. Retrieving GPS data from an app is a form of AR.
How AR in Manufacturing Creates Value
The proliferation of software for various industries has led to the rise of industrial IoT and a transformation of manufacturing in a more digital direction. The more manual labor tasks can be simulated digitally and then automated, the more productive and efficient a business becomes. Collecting and analyzing IoT data is now part of the equation for streamlining an operation.
When introducing both VR and AR to a system, you are able to increase the values of variables such as quality, quantity, agility, and flexibility. One of the most valuable features to AR is that it can be used to add real-time analytics to an IoT device, allowing for engineers and inspectors to conduct predictive maintenance.
An AR app can monitor physical assets and alert personnel about anomalies in quality. Ultimately, creating digital representations of physical machines makes AR powerful.
Recent AR Trends
AR has a wide array of versatile applications for every business imaginable, particularly factories. Here are some of the recent uses of this emerging enterprise technology:
- AR apps on smartphones and headsets allow monitoring of connected devices for proactive maintenance
- 3D e-commerce tools connecting marketers with customers
- Reuse existing 3D assets from a CAD program
- Integrate with cloud services
- Physicians can read patient data wearing AR glasses, allowing them to keep their hands free
- Step-by-step training tutorials for operating machinery replace complex manuals
- Easier collection of data from controllers, sensors, and gateways
- Remote asset monitoring
- Managing production performance in real-time
One of the leading tech firms in AR technology for enterprises is PTC, which owns ThingWorx (a firm formerly owned by Qualcomm) and Vuforia. ThingsWorx is the leading platform for IoT developers. PTC provides tools to businesses to build customizable IoT apps with 3D modeling capabilities.
Thousands of companies have experimented with PTC’s tools to bring AR to IoT by trying out the free trial program for ThingWorx Studio. Some of these early adopters include Tesla, Toyota, Caterpillar, NASA and the US Army.
Organizations are becoming increasingly interested and active in using industrial IoT to generate AR data. Collecting data on vibrations, temperatures, and other variables is empowering businesses to make money-saving decisions. Consider developing your own AR app, such as a training tutorial that simplifies industrial tasks, so that you can streamline your business.