Imagine that you are in the market for a new equipment, but instead of looking into catalogues or websites, you want to see how it fits in your workplace. Layering virtual objects and other digital mediums into our daily lives can sound like something out of a Science Fiction movie. But with smartphones and other devices becoming a huge part of our daily lives, Augmented Reality (AR) has already changed our daily lives, and our businesses.
While Industry 4.0 affects production lines and machines, it is also a challenge for operators. With the happening of modern plants, the increase in automation and robotization, their environment has become more and more complex, and they must adapt fast. To keep working efficiently, not only they need new skills and tools and so they need to be trained, but also solutions to improve their decision-making processes. With the ability of virtual technologies to provide 1:1 scale virtual machines that you can interact with, it is possible to be trained as if being in a real plant, interacting with real machines. Decision makers can visualize and analyze every step of an operation and improve them without having to go through the whole physical prototype making process. Thus virtual reality appears to be the adequate solution to improve field operators efficiency.
This article is the 2021 edition of a regular review the TechViz team carries out to help you navigate the market. There are indeed many types of XR headsets around: tethered, all-in-one, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality… This can sometimes be confusing, especially because every manufacturer uses its own terminology to boast the uniqueness of its technology.
Have you seen 2020’s Hype Cycle for Emerging technologies from Gartner?
Notice anything? Take some time to look at all the emerging technologies. Isn’t there something missing? Where is Virtual Reality? In a world where social distances and virtual collaboration has become essential to many industries, how come a technology like VR vanish from the Gartner Hype Cycle?
Hand tracking in VR is a very appealing feature. No need to learn the placement and functions of the buttons on the controllers anymore. How convenient and enjoyable would it be to just move your real and virtual hand in sync through your HMD? Just a move of your hand and voilà! Which means real-time hand tracking in VR has a lot of potential for casual and professional VR., especially because it replaces the controller and makes the VR experience even more immersive.
As manufacturing grew more complex, the need to find and fix errors before production has become crucial, hence the need for design reviews. But let’s be realistic a moment: if it happens with the 3D model of an airplane or a manufacturing plant, good luck finding it! This is where Virtual Reality (VR) intervenes (and especially VR collaboration). VR design review enables you to be immersed in your 3D data, see your product at full-scale and simulate its operation.
A few years ago, there was a lot of hype around Virtual Reality. 2016 was supposed to be the big breakthrough year, then 2017, then 2018… There were talk about VR being the next entertainment/work platform, just like Radio, TV, Computers, Phone were. But it never actually materialized. Hyperbolic growth numbers did not happen as promised. Many VR companies have come and gone and a lot of projects, including from Silicon Valley big names, have been scaled down. Companies promising massive customer deployment have pivoted into niche professional use cases.
The automotive industry is a fast-paced sector which continuously adopts technologies that powers their digital transformation. Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the most fitting technology to provide the automotive sector with new methods and tools to design better vehicles, test different configurations, check driving ergonomics, refine manufacturing processes, etc.
Many opportunities and challenges were brought by Industry 4.0 to the manufacturing industry. The new technologies connect digital and physical assets, which changes all the business processes. To embrace this radical change, companies must understand and master all the steps from product conception to selling. However, only Digital Champions have adopted these technologies today, and others will likely struggle to keep competitive. So far, only a few companies have emerged as Digital Champions and gotten all the benefits from Industry 4.0.