By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
While I’ve been discussing an interest in AR with service leaders for a number of years, it’s taken some time to catch on in terms of mainstream adoption. While the value proposition has been strong since the conversations first began, particularly with the talent shortage service organizations face, the reality is the technology needed to mature through its growing pains to a point where that value proposition could be more easily realized. We’ve come a long way, and 2020 will bring further adoption and advancements. I came across an article by Tom Emrich recently discussing 20 AR Trends to Keep an Eye On in 2020 that shows . It’s worth a read all the way through, but I wanted to point out here four of the ways he expects AR to evolve in 2020 that I think most impact the Future of Field Service audience.
#1: Enterprise AR Use Will Scale
Emrich says in prediction #19: “After engaging in pilots, organizations look for full solutions that can integrate with existing systems and be rolled out at scale.” He points out that companies who have successfully completed AR pilots will be looking to scale their deployments in 2020.
“AR has been very busy at work. Over the past few years, we have heard many powerful stories from various organizations who have been piloting AR solutions to upskill their workforce, resulting in efficiencies upwards of 40% and more,” Emrich says. “The ROI for AR in the enterprise is substantial and it more than justifies the cost of headworn devices. But moving from pilot to full rollout is challenging and requires a different set of ingredients to succeed. This year, organizations in various industries will look to implement full solutions that consider safety, security, integration with existing systems and processes, and scalability.”
Companies like Diversey are leading the charge when it comes to AR adoption and value recognition. In this podcast, Marc Robitzkat discusses how the company has achieved measurable success with AR in field service in more than one way.
#2: Smartphones Become Even More Powerful AR Tools
While Emrich eludes above to the use of headword devices for enterprise AR adoption, we’ve seen many organizations thus far using AR in field service just on smartphones. Therefore, Emrich’s #2 prediction proves relevant: “Smartphones are becoming even more powerful AR machines with spatial sensors that will unlock advanced AR use cases.”
While companies like Fresenius Kabi are already using smartphones in the field for AR experiences, the capabilities are going to expand. “The device that we have been carrying around with us for the past decade is already capable of augmented reality but this everyday device is getting new chips and sensors which will make it an even more powerful AR machine. These sensors will enable next level AR experiences, new content creation capabilities using 3D scanning and new ways for your phone to interact with the world around you,” says Emrich. “2020 smartphones will also sport powerful chips and processors designed to power immersive experiences. And we will also see more phones with foldable screens which will dramatically improve the field-of-view for smartphone AR experiences while keeping these devices small enough to fit in our pocket.”
#3: More Industry-Specific AR Headsets Emerge
While we’ve historically witnessed more smartphone-based AR use in field service than headset-based use, Emrich expects that in 2020 we’ll see an uptick in industry-specific AR headset use. In his prediction #6 he says, “More organizations will launch customized AR headsets to better suit the needs of their industry. Reference designs from Flex, Qualcomm and Microsoft offer the enterprise the resources they need to create AR headworn devices that meet the specific needs of their industry. We have already seen Trimble customize the HoloLens for the construction industry and the military make its adjustments for the army. This year, we may see even more organizations leverage the lessons they gained from AR headworn pilots to customize these devices to meet the specific nuances of their industry and in turn maximize the upskilling of their workforce.”
#4: 5G Will Have An Impact on AR
As 5G expands in 2020, Emrich expects an impact on AR. In his prediction #12 he says, “The AR Cloud will rain 5G again this year as carriers use large scale AR activations to market networks that are getting ready. 2019 was filled with a lot of buzz about 5G and 2020 will be no different. While carriers and device manufacturers are getting ready to unlock this new network to the masses, they will use 2020 to market ways in which 5G will change our lives, including enabling AR and VR. A perfect fit for these activations is the AR Cloud which will power stadium and city-scale AR for limited audiences as way to market the power of 5G in a demonstrable way.”
Be sure to check out the rest of his 20 predictions for 2020, and if you have a story to tell about how AR is impacting your organization, send me an email and let’s talk!