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Spatial computing’s benefits in industrial settings continue to be demonstrated. This is a critical step in the technology’s early lifespan as ROI signals are required by enterprise buyers. We’ve seen plenty of proof points so far, but ongoing evidence is needed to reinforce that ROI story.

With that backdrop, the latest examples are rolled up in a new report from Unity. “The Incredible Impact of Enterprise AR and VR*,” examines case studies of AR’s impact in automotive and other industries. This includes functions that range from the assembly line to the showroom.

Proof Points

Among the biggest takeaways, Lockheed Martin achieved a 10x ROI by prototyping aviation parts virtually in VR. This replaces the traditional and more costly approach of physically building and testing equipment. This also involved more than $10 million in savings in 2018.

Moving from product modeling and prototyping to training (prototyping on human levels), Volkswagen reduced training time by 50 percent for maintenance operators on its T6 Multivan. This time savings translated to dollar savings of 66 percent over traditional training methods.

Moving from VR to AR, the U.S. Air Force reduced errors in aircraft maintenance to almost zero, according to the report. This applied Taqtile’s Manifest AR assistance software which helped Air Force recruits gain expert-level knowledge through line-of-sight annotations on aircraft parts.

That last example will be particularly valuable in industrial AR, given that it can automate knowledge transfer. This could represent a shift in thinking about how industrial assembly and maintenance is done with “just in time” or “on-demand” knowledge — replacing rote preparation.

“One of the things that’s happening with AR is that we can rethink the training model from ‘in-advance’ and ‘just-in-case’ to ‘in-the-moment’ and ‘just-in-time,’ said PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann at the AWE conference in May.

Beyond the C-Suite

These results, again, are important to continue to validate the ROI story. This is especially true considering slower than expected enterprise adoption. Industrial AR, for one, is still far from ubiquity despite strong ROI signals. That disconnect signals the need for continued education.

As we examined in a recent report, that education will extend beyond executive levels to other stakeholders that can make or break AR’s success in a given organization. That most notably includes the IT department (risk averse) and front line workers (tech/change-averse).

The lesson plan in this educational campaign should involve financial ROI (per the above) and individual ROI. For front line workers, that’s education on how it eliminates job strain, makes them more effective and accurate (per the above) and trains them for the next era of industrial work.

The ROI story is important on white-collar and blue-collar levels, so we’ll continue to assemble proof points that inform market sizing. The next steps for industrial AR go beyond the tech: It’s all about internal factors like communication, bottom-up implementation and change management.

See the full report from Unity, including more data points and case studies.

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Disclosure: AR Insider has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this post, nor received payment for its production. The author of this post contributed quotes and data for the report featured in this post but recieved no payment individually nor to AR Insider. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.

Header Image Credit: Microsoft