Among the macro-economic challenges the world faces (some Covid-inflicted), there are a few employment-based phenomena. Without going too far down that nuanced rabbit hole, we’re talking about what’s become known as the employment crisis and the great resignation.
Tying these larger issues back to AR, could the technology push things in the right direction? Here we’re talking about enterprise AR, as opposed to our more frequent focus on consumer AR (e.g. shopping & commerce). Can AR help companies alleviate employment challenges?
To pause here for definitions, enterprise AR is any deployment of the technology to elevate productivity and cost efficiency. That includes everything from line-of-sight guidance in assembly and maintenenece to remote “see what I see” expert assistance in IT support.
Beyond unit economic advantages that AR brings in these situations, there are macro benefits. As we’ve examined, these include closing the skills gap, boosting longevity for high-value retirement-age pros, and upskilling newbies faster. These are solutions to expensive problems.
Connecting the above dots, we circle back to the question of if AR can help alleviate some of the pain brought by the current employment crisis. To help answer that question, the XR Association has assembled data that help quantify the problem….and potential solutions.
Here are the highlights for this week’s Data Dive:
– 88 percent of enterprise execs report higher turnover, while monthly quit rates have reached an all-time high at 2.9 percent.*
– Based on these factors, 46 percent of employers’ biggest priority is training and upskilling employees, which aligns with AR’s strengths noted above.
– More directly, 92 percent of HR pros report greater interest in AR & VR as a pandemic recovery tool.
– Drilling down, AR & VR’s value is recognized in a range of functions, some demanded more than others.
– On-site learning and training leads the list at 48 percent, followed by efficiency and time savings (46 percent), distance learning and training (45 percent), recruiting and retention (44 percent), communication and collaboration (38 percent).
– Aspirationally speaking, 77 percent of enterprise execs believe that their company will invest in AR and VR in the next 5 years.
– These figures include both AR and VR, the former most-often used for line-of-site guidance and productivity, while the latter is applied in areas like training and design collaboration.
– Beyond functional (horizontal) areas, further breakdowns in AR and VR deployments can be seen vertically.
– VR indexes high in retail (84 percent adoption), while AR exceeds in industrial settings such as energy (86 percent) and construction (80 percent). See other vertical breakdowns here.
*These data are from August, so ongoing employment figures are obviously a moving target.
More HR than AR
To further define AR’s role in all of the above, its value will grow, albeit slowly. We say that in light of the rate of hardware adoption. AR glasses continue to hold ample promise for guided productivity in areas outlined earlier….but they still present adoption challenges for industrial enterprises.
Though those challenges are lesser than consumer markets (e.g., style crimes), they’re still present. As we’ve examined in our “3Ps” construct (people, product & process), full deployment is often stalled in the dreaded “pilot purgatory.” As we often say, this is more about HR than AR.
In other words, there are implementation and change-management challenges in getting front-line workers on board. Getting the CTO and CFO’s buy-in usually isn’t an issue. But Jim and Janice on the assembly floor are reticent of new tech that promises efficiencies (read: job loss).
This challenge is being alleviated through change management, as we’ve examined in case studies such as Porsche’s. Smart companies like CareAR and Re’Flekt meanwhile support less-intimidating hardware like tablets as AR’s vessel. Call it enterprise AR training wheels.
As these challenges are hammered out, along with generational turnover, enterprise AR adoption will gradually rise. But it won’t be the sudden revolution sometimes trumpeted in enterprise AR circles. The good news is that second-order effects could include easing the employment crisis.