This post is the first of a 3-part series. Check back in next week for the follow-on pieces.
The digital industrial enterprise is on its way. But what does that mean - and why is it important?
Over the last several years, industrial companies have been undertaking a number of initiatives to move themselves to a goal of what has been called "Industry 4.0" or "Factory 4.0" - which embodies the idea that digital transformation is fundamentally transforming the way industrial companies work.
Framework from PwC 2016 Global Industry 4.0 Survey
There are many components to the Industry 4.0 framework. In its 2016 Global Industry 4.0 survey - last year, leading global consulting firm PwC outlined the key components of that framework.
* Increasing use of mobile devices
* Widespread deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure that all parts of a factory are connected and can provide instant, real-time data about the operation of the factory
* Location detection technologies (to keep track of where goods are at all times)
* Advanced human-machine interfaces so that the workforce can interact with digital equipment more effectively and gain better results from it
* Authentication and fraud detection, to secure all digital interactions
* 3D printing, to allow improved flexibility and responsiveness to changing conditions and customer needs
* Smart sensors, to ensure a better view of what is happening throughout the industrial infrastructure at any point in time
* Big data analytics and advanced algorithms which will enable enterprises to gain actionable business intelligence from the data they gather
* Multilevel customer interaction and customer profiling, so that large enterprises gain and keep a holistic view of their relationships with customers
* Augmented Reality (AR) and wearable technology, to provide a broad range of benefits across manufacturing, repair and operations tasks
* And Cloud Computing, so that enterprises have the IT resources they need, when they need it, in a scalable and responsive manner, without having to make huge additional investments in on-premise IT infrastructure
The survey, which polled more than 2,000 participants from nine major industrial sectors and 26 countries, called out the value of AR solutions as a key element of "smart maintenance and service" and that is definitely what Atheer has seen in terms of the strategic planning being undertaken by our customers.
Done right, AR solutions are a key element of an overall digital industrial enterprise strategy. As we noted in our recently-published eBook - Augmented Reality for Manufacturing: Changing the face of work - assessing how an AR system can benefit your business is not just a question of looking at a few reviews in industry journals and then recommending the purchase of a few tablets, smart glasses or smartphones – along with AR applications - to evaluate.
To implement AR in a way that’s truly effective and transformative, you need to take a broader look at the real underlying needs of your business, what other changes you may be making in the business (in the short, medium and long term), and how AR solutions could intersect with all of those changes to provide effective, reliable benefit in your company’s transformation to become a digital industrial enterprise.
Any decision to deploy AR technology also needs to fit within your overall corporation IT plan. The AR deployment may well start as an independent pilot in a lab – or a limited trial in the field – but for company-wide deployment, it should fit within the organization’s broader plans and goals.
For more on developing an Industry 4.0 strategy, download our new eBook.
In the second part of this series, we’ll take a look at how AR technologies integrate with many of the other key components of a digital industrial enterprise strategy (including Internet of Things (IoT) devices and big data) to enable a complete change to the way industrial enterprises do business.