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AR for the Automotive Industry: Part 4

By Geof Wheelwright on October 23, 2017

In the final part of this four-part series, we look at how to make a business case for an Augmented Reality (AR) solution.

Assessing how an AR system could 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.

Done properly, 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.

Any decision to deploy AR technology also needs to fit within the overall IT plan of the organization. It may well start as an independent pilot in a lab – or a limited trial in the field – but for broad deployment, it should fit within the organization’s broader plans and goals.

Downtime should be part of your calculation

Whether you’re running a factory, a warehouse or a maintenance operation, downtime of any major piece of equipment or the production line itself can be hugely expensive.

A 2006 joint survey of 101 manufacturing executives in the auto industry by Nielsen Research and Advanced Technology Services (ATS) found that, at that time, the cost of stopped production was an average of $22,000 per minute (which comes to an eyebrow-raising $1.32 million per hour).

So how should you think about downtime – and how you can reduce it – in the context of AR?

Let’s say you're building or fixing something expensive and complex and you realize that you can't do that job without the skills of a particular person.

If that person isn't standing next to you, but actually works across town, across the state or in another country, then you would typically have to fly them in to help you deal with the issue – and that takes time. And time, as we’ve established here, is money.

If the lack of on-site expertise is costing your company $1 million or more an hour, you are going to fly someone out on a very fast plane to fix it.

Wouldn’t it be better, however, to just virtually "beam someone in" to solve it without spending the time and money to fly someone in (with all of the waiting and additional expensive downtime that represents)?

A lot of field services groups report that they actually fly people twice. One person goes out and realizes they can't fix a problem, but they have a colleague who can - and that person needs a different tool.

Then you've got two people who had to fly in - and you've taken three or four days to get there. And, in the meantime, millions of dollars in downtime have stacked up.

That’s why accurately calculating downtime should be a part of how you plan for AR – and think about the return on an AR investment. It’s where AR can really make a huge, measurable difference.

AR can help significantly reduce the need to fly people around the world to fix stuff that breaks.

You can "teleport" them virtually to see the problem, rally a lot of smart people around and see if you solve it or at least bring the right team and the right tools to solve it.

If nothing else, someone can put a pair of smart glasses on, call back to their more experienced, senior colleagues and then have some really smart people collaborating on the solution to an issue.

To learn more about how Augmented Reality - and how Atheer's AiR Enterprise can help your automotive enterprise - request a demonstration.

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