Growing numbers of enterprises are using immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality to deliver better efficiency, productivity and safety, with augmented rather than full virtual, expected to lead the way.
A new report by the Capgemini Research Institute has found that 82% of companies currently implementing augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) say the benefits are either meeting or exceeding their expectations.
However, a shortage of in-house expertise and insufficient backend infrastructures are significant barriers to growth.
Drawing on responses from more than 700 executives in the automotive, manufacturing and utilities sectors found that 50% of enterprises currently not implementing AR and VR will start exploring immersive technologies for their business operations within the next three years.
These include using AR to remotely access real-time help from experts on a wearable or handheld device, and VR to train employees. Some 46% of companies believe the technology will become mainstream in their organisations within the next three years, while a further 38% think it will in the next three to five years.
The report found that companies in the US and China are currently leading the implementation race, with more than 50% of companies surveyed already implementing immersive technology for business operations.
Conversely, over 50% of companies in the UK, France, Germany, and the Nordics are still only experimenting with AR/VR initiatives.
Benefits of immersive technologies
The report revealed that while AR is more complex to implement, organisations perceive it as more beneficial than VR.
It highlights that AR generates productivity benefits thanks to streamlined workflows, citing examples such as, technicians at Porsche using AR glasses that project step-by-step bulletins and schematic drawings across the line of vision, while also allowing remote experts the ability to see what the technician sees to provide feedback.
This solution can shorten service resolution time by up to 40%. VR improves efficiency and safety and helps manage complexities of tasks thereby boosting productivity.
For instance, the report highlights that VR is used at Airbus to integrate digital mock-ups into production environments, giving assembly workers access to complete 3D models of the aircraft under production.
This reduces the time required to inspect from three weeks to three days. Additionally, at least 75% of companies with large-scale AR/VR implementations can attest to operational benefits of more than 10%.
Most common use cases
Across the automotive, manufacturing and utilities sectors, the most popular uses of AR and VR are reportedly repair and maintenance, and design and assembly.
Between 29% and 31% of companies using AR and/or VR are using it for repair and maintenance, specifically to consult digital reference materials (31%), seek a remote expert (30%), digitally view components not in physical view (30%) and superimpose step-by-step instructions on work stations (29%).
For design and assembly, VR and/or AR is being used to view digital assembly instructions (28%), simulate product performance in extreme conditions (27%), visualise infrastructures from various angles (27%) and overlay design components onto existing modules (26%).
AR is seen as more relevant and widely implemented than VR
Two-thirds of all organisations surveyed believe that AR is more applicable to their business operations than VR. While VR has been found to enhance a solo, immersive user-experience that is isolated from the real world, AR connects the digital world to the real world, and therefore supports a number of breakthrough use-cases.
Of companies deploying AR, 45% are implementing the technology, compared with just 36% of those companies using VR (the rest of the companies are still at the experimentation phase).
Expand AR/VR initiatives
The report identified a group of “early achievers” who are driving the most benefits from their immersive technology initiatives. Representing 16% of the total companies surveyed, these organisations are focusing on four key strategies:
*All images courtesy of Capgemini Research Institute