While augmented reality (AR) applications are seen by many as more of an add-on and “nice-to-have” aspect, they are on their way to becoming a fundamental building block in industrial companies. But how to combine data from the Internet of Things (IoT) and Augmented Reality to improve a business or breathe new life into existing operations?
A use case to demonstrate the combination of IoT & AR
Together with the company 3DQR, we have developed a use case that combines these two technologies. 3DQR focuses on the development of AR solutions for industrial customers, among others. With the in-house AR Studio, AR content can be easily created. Using the 3DQR AR Studio and our IoT Studio allowed us to test the realm of possibility and specify potential benefits.
For this purpose, we collected data from a vacuum pump that was previously equipped with an edge device and respective sensor technology. This IoT use case serves as the basis for data generation and simultaneously covers the IoT process of app development and device control. The application running on the edge device was programmed and deployed via our IoT & Data Studio, and the processed data was then transmitted to 3DQR via an API.
The AR Studio was used to implement and position the desired visualization. Displayed data such as ambient temperature, vacuum pressure, and engine temperature were placed next to the components. This enables a quick assessment and fluctuations can be detected in almost real-time without having to understand tables and diagrams. Simplifying the data and providing it in a flexible format that is visually appealing helps to easily understand the conveyed information
Improving the Quality of Service through IoT-Data
The combination of real-time data from industrial assets, sophisticated analytics, and AR devices opens up a new playground for interpreting and delivering that data. IoT is no longer a buzzword, and companies across all industries have begun implementing their own data solutions and hiring data scientists. While data visualizations are a common tool for the annual presentations with your colleagues, things look a bit different on the shop floor. It’s in these areas that AR, enriched with IoT data, can stand out from applications like PowerBI or Tableau.
By putting analyzed data back into context, such as by positioning it on the respective machine components or visualizing hidden processes, the barrier between the digital part and the more practical mechanical side is overcome. This has the potential not only to improve the workflow of already trained personnel but also to support the training process for new employees. It is even conceivable that the plant operator could be replaced by a less qualified person in the company due to the comprehensible and easily digestible information, thus freeing up time for higher priority tasks.
Ultimately, this is an advantage that translates into lower costs and better risk management, as external services can benefit from step-by-step guidance explained in the context of the machine or interactive instructions.
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The power of connecting through AR
When people talk about AR, they are primarily familiar with images of interactive workspaces and 3D modeling. However, one of the lesser-known benefits is connectivity with other colleagues and departments. While everything is just a phone call away these days, information is quickly lost or inaccessible in other cases. AR projects combined with wearable devices like the Microsoft HoloLens not only enable hands-free work but also access to external software/data or third-party support that can actively engage in problem-solving and other team tasks.
Many tasks and issues can already be identified and monitored remotely. In combination, on-site staff and interactive connectivity greatly improve the user experience and reduce the time spent waiting for qualified personnel. It’s safe to say that a connected team has a positive impact on productivity and associated costs.
The Benefits of IoT & AR in a Nutshell
In the final analysis, combined IoT & AR solutions can bring tangible benefits plus an array of intangible, value-driven advantages to an organization. Here is a breakdown:
- Increased worker efficiency. Remote support, intuitive manuals, and instructions powered by AR. Plus less reliance on highly qualified staff on-site can make all the difference here.
- Managed employee allocation. AR-powered training solutions for employees and the possibility to make complex tasks tangible to less skilled staff. These significantly streamline human resource management and reduce costs.
- Better service management and condition monitoring Repairs, maintenance tasks, and managing the delivery of third-party components get streamlined thanks to the pairing of IoT analytics and AR. IoT analytics proactively monitors equipment and provides early warnings on equipment health.
- Guided repairs for less downtime. There are many IoT & AR solutions out there that provide comprehensive manuals while delivering an immersive user experience that saves time and resources.
About Record Evolution
We are a data science and IoT team based in Frankfurt, Germany, that helps companies of all sizes innovate at scale. That’s why we’ve developed an easy-to-use industrial IoT platform that enables fast development cycles and allows everyone to benefit from the possibilities of IoT and AI.