Working in 3D Can Make Your Business 33+ Percent More Effective

Applying 3D and AR to manufacturing, marketing, sales & service

by Mariusz Korba

Nowadays, we all have phones, tablets, laptops and PCs with immense power, capability and potential at our fingertips.

We play games that generate almost life-like experiences enhanced with 3D, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR). Gone are the days of a 2D-only world of media & entertainment.

The gaming world was quick to embrace 3D, AR, and VR as their existence, income, and growth primarily depend on the customer experience (CX).

The business world has been slower to investigate these opportunities and understand the value these new visual capabilities can unlock.

However, that’s all changing.

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New Requirements, Old Solutions

A recent survey conducted by Forrester Consulting concluded that the top three priorities for business were to:

  1. Improve operational efficiency (74%)
  2. Improve workforce productivity (68%)
  3. Improve the customer experience (64%).

When asked which priorities could be addressed by 3D and AR, the same audience concluded:

  1. Improve operational efficiency (62%)
  2. Improve workforce productivity (58%)
  3. Improve the customer experience (55%)

Historically, most businesses have operated a hybrid model of 2D and 3D in their end-to-end business processes:

  • Manufacturing and production often design in 2D or 3D using CAD. Then tech specs, instructions, manuals, training, and quality assurance documents are produced in 2D until the final physical product is manufactured and inspected in the real world (a.k.a., 3D). Regular translation processes between information in 2D and 3D are standard in businesses across many industries, leading to misunderstandings, incorrect assumptions, and quality deficiencies.
  • Retailing, which pre-pandemic was mainly a 3D experience (brick and mortar shopping), is now largely replaced by 2D catalogues and online pictures/videos, with massive shortfalls in the customer experience and, at the same time, substantial growth in logistics and return costs.
  • Marketing and selling have relied on the high costs of a personal experience or fallen flat with expensive 2D catalogues, photography or simple online pictures or simple videos.
  • Training documented the 3D world in 2D documents or 2D videos and wondered why people took a while to master simple processes, new technology or concepts.

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So What’s the Problem?

If you stop and think about it, you’ll quickly realize that most of the files that business people produce and work with every day are 2D abstractions of real-world 3D objects.

In fact, in most steps of a business process, the business and its customers are working with two out of three pieces of information (two, not the three dimensions we live in) while trying to supplement the third missing piece with additional (and often differently-presented) texts, tables, graphs, files, icons, sketches, and pictures.

Even worse, at each step where we constantly “translate” information from 2D to 3D and back, we make our assumptions and add any missing information to the best of our knowledge (or time available…). The above happens while we often understand information (especially texts) slightly differently from what the author or person processing this information before might have intended.

No wonder why manufacturers are dealing with production quality and training challenges. Meanwhile, retailers are noticing growing returns, customers are feeling “tricked” into buying products that don’t fulfill their needs, and marketing and sales teams are struggling to convey the advantages of their products online.

To put it in another way, by working in 2D and constantly “translating” information between 2D and 3D, not only you’re risking miscommunication in crucial business processes but also forcing your staff and customers to make crucial decisions using only 66% of the available information.

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The New Reality

  • Imagine your entire business operations supercharged with an extra 33 percent of that crucial information.
  • Imagine how much more comfortable your customers would be with making purchase decisions while seeing and understanding 33% more about your products and services.
  • Imagine if your customers could virtually try before they buy your products, directly in the environment they intended to use these products – their home or workplace.
  • Imagine your workforce and partners being trained 33% more efficiently, to the same standards and without room for assumptions.

The time of imaging is gone. Integrating 3D, AR and VR into your business processes can:

  • Create an entirely new marketing and sales experience and accelerate your sales cycle by up to 30%
  • Improve your people productivity by up to 40%
  • Keep your front-line skilled workers healthier and safer and help you work together through challenging time
  • Improve your first-time service rate by up to 30%
  • Reduce your training time by up to 60%
  • Significantly reduce your business risks and turbocharge your compliance

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with these technologies.

Mariusz Korba is managing director of SilverBox IT and co-founder of alARo, a firm that specializes in AR, VR & 3D enterprise integrations. Find/follow him on LinkedIn here.

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