Augmented Reality in Company Production and Operations Strategies

Augmented Reality, or AR, is a technology that makes possible the integration of the virtual world with the real world, allowing greater interaction between the two and creating new approaches to the way we perform activities and tasks, even those that are automated through machines and equipment. AR is, in sum, a set of technologies that superimpose digital data and images onto the physical environment, through the transformation of large amounts of data and analysis elements into images. This technology enables a reduction of costs and increase in productivity across industries.

With the use of a device, such as a smartphone, tablet or even special glasses, a person can see and interact with virtual elements to guide their actions in a certain activity.

An AR platform can digitize and automate the entire value chain of a business.

Data recently published by the Harvard Business Review illustrates the importance of this technology. According to HBR, investment in AR technology will reach $60 billion by 2020.

AR will bring about significant changes in how we make decisions, learn, design and manufacture products, deliver services, manage value chains, and relate to customers.

AR originated with labeling. Barcodes were not adequately addressing the need to store all the information one needed to get from reading it. Therefore, 2-D codes were developed that allowed much more information to be stored than in bar codes. From there the concept evolved until we reached AR.

Three basic components are fundamental to using AR: a real object, a camera or device to transmit the image, and software.

Figure 1 illustrates the basic components of AR.

The real object allows the interpretation and development of the virtual object; the camera or other device captures and transmits the image of the real object; and software interprets the signal transmitted by the camera or other device.

In terms of production and operations strategies, AR can be used in product inspection to detect failures; to monitor, control, customize and optimize the operation and characteristics of products in real time; in equipment maintenance and replacement of parts; in the development and simplification of procedures; and more.

For example, in the AGCO tractor and agricultural equipment factory in Canoas, located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in the south of Brazil, quality inspectors use AR glasses on the tractor chassis assembly line.

In the automotive industry AR can assist employees with vehicle assembly; help with technical and maintenance problems; apply instructions for error reduction; carry out work safety instructions within the company for the benefit of employees and the well-being of all; design a vehicle on a flat surface with customization options, thereby enabling customers to view the car in more detail, such as the interior and mechanics, and make selections from their home or office; and much more.

When it comes to service provision, one difficulty is making the service available to the customer at the time of purchase. With AR a travel agency customer can, for example, “visit” destinations before deciding which trip to purchase. An advertising agency can present a proposal in a much clearer and “palpable” way to an advertiser. In the operational strategies of health services, AR can process the thermal signature of a patient’s veins, allowing the veins to be located more easily.

As you can see, the possibilities for applications are diverse in industry and the service sector, and it looks like we are just beginning to explore the potential of this technology.

The real object allows the interpretation and development of the virtual object; the camera or other device captures and transmits the image of the real object; and software interprets the signal transmitted by the camera or other device.

In terms of production and operations strategies, AR can be used in product inspection to detect failures; to monitor, control, customize and optimize the operation and characteristics of products in real time; in equipment maintenance and replacement of parts; in the development and simplification of procedures; and more.

For example, in the AGCO tractor and agricultural equipment factory in Canoas, located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in the south of Brazil, quality inspectors use AR glasses on the tractor chassis assembly line.

In the automotive industry AR can assist employees with vehicle assembly; help with technical and maintenance problems; apply instructions for error reduction; carry out work safety instructions within the company for the benefit of employees and the well-being of all; design a vehicle on a flat surface with customization options, thereby enabling customers to view the car in more detail, such as the interior and mechanics, and make selections from their home or office; and much more.

When it comes to service provision, one difficulty is making the service available to the customer at the time of purchase. With AR a travel agency customer can, for example, “visit” destinations before deciding which trip to purchase. An advertising agency can present a proposal in a much clearer and “palpable” way to an advertiser. In the operational strategies of health services, AR can process the thermal signature of a patient’s veins, allowing the veins to be located more easily.

As you can see, the possibilities for applications are diverse in industry and the service sector, and it looks like we are just beginning to explore the potential of this technology.

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