Though we spend ample time examining consumer-based AR endpoints, greater near-term impact is seen in the enterprise. This takes many forms including brands that use AR to promote products in greater dimension, and industrial enterprises that streamline operations.
These industrial endpoints include visual support in areas like assembly and maintenance. The idea is that AR’s line-of-sight orientation can guide front-line workers. Compared to the “mental mapping” they must do with 2D instructions, visual support makes them more effective.
This effectiveness results from AR-guided speed, accuracy, and safety. These micro efficiencies add up to worthwhile bottom-line impact when deployed at scale. Macro benefits include lessening job strain and closing the “skills gap,” which can preserve institutional knowledge.
But how is this materializing today and who’s realizing enterprise AR benefits? Our research arm ARtillery Intelligence tackled these questions in its report: Enterprise AR: Best Practices & Case Studies, Vol 2. We’ve excerpted it below, featuring Service IT Direct’s AR deployment.
One prevalent corporate function that continues to encounter tech transformation is IT support. This is when tech vendors send technicians out to customer locations to fix their servers or other IT hardware. It can also include those same vendors assisting their on-site customers remotely.
In either case, this field is primed for AR, including remote support to guide onsite technicians through IT service requests. The results can include faster service, less downtime, and cost efficiencies for the IT companies carrying the financial burden of support work.
Along with those unit economics are some of the macro benefits we examined recently. For example, retiring baby boomers create a skills gap that AR can alleviate. It does this by providing real-time guidance and visual support to novice technicians, thus upskilling them faster.
Lastly, remote work realities of the Covid era compel AR-guided support. In that sense. Covid was a blessing in disguise to this branch of enterprise AR. Though in-person interaction is back, many technologies got the chance to shine during the pandemic and bred new habits.
CareAR is one company that specializes in this area of AR-guided enterprise IT support. In fact, it proved its value in this function to the extent that it was acquired by its biggest customer, Xerox. Meanwhile, it still provides AR-guided support to IT companies globally.
See What I See
One such client is Service IT Direct. The company specializes in managing IT support for global enterprises. It’s also contracted out by IT vendors to handle their support work. This helps them meet dynamic demand with an outsourced network of remote support agents.
Service IT Direct’s new Smart Handz system utilizes CareAR to offer real-time AR guidance for customers and field workers. This involves “see what I see” support from remote experts. They’re piped into field workers’ support calls through tablets and AR glasses.
Smart Handz also allows users to capture images and video during service sessions. This is saved in Smart Handz’ secure cloud and helps capture more institutional knowledge. That way, content can be used in training sessions and the overall process of upskilling other reps.
And the result? Service IT Direct has been able to save its customers up to 85 percent in support costs. These savings reduce its own operational expenses – from which it can both benefit and pass along to its customers for a greater value proposition. In both cases, it’s a big impact.
“Being able to communicate with a customer using augmented reality gives us the ability to ‘touch and feel’ what the customer is seeing,” said Service IT Direct director of operations, John Menth. “This allows Service IT Direct to support our customers on a much higher level.”