Augmented reality has the potential to revolutionize the way you do business. When implemented correctly, AR can improve efficiencies, decrease errors, and virtually eliminate knowledge gaps by implementing on-demand training. But to be effective, the deployment needs to be executed in a way that fits your needs, serves your objectives, and addresses your concerns. Every enterprise is different, and your AR implementation should reflect this.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the four things you’ll want to consider before working with a partner to integrate AR into your current workflow:
Know your security needs
While technology is the backbone of modern business, it also creates vulnerabilities that can put any company in serious jeopardy. Intellectual property, patents, undisclosed partnerships — with a little corporate espionage or even just a casual slip up, secrets can be exposed that can cost your company everything.
Understandably, a lot of companies have created rules to eliminate these problems before they happen: tape on a laptop camera, no smartphones on the factory floor, etc. But if you’re introducing AR into your enterprise, its new interface possibilities also mean that you’ll need to rethink some of your existing security rules as well as develop new ones to continue protecting your brand. This means rigorous security validation for the AR platform you’re utilizing, including device tracking, remote device management, tracking camera usage, and even end-to-end encryption. Today’s AR solutions are sophisticated enough to meet existing security protocols, it’s a matter of finding an AR partner that values your security needs as much as you do in order to navigate emerging needs together.
This is a whole new industry; there are no workplace standards or certifications for AR yet. It’s up to chief information officers to make sure the technology they’re implementing has the proper vetting. Many Fortune 500 companies are already blazing this trail with the support of AR technology providers who have also made security a priority.
When tailoring an AR solution to your business, it’s should balance your current needs alongside the unknowable needs of the future. Most enterprises today are looking for a cost-effective way to integrate AR into their workflow, which often means solutions that pair with existing AR-capable hardware like smartphones and tablets. After all, the cost of acquiring high-end mixed reality displays today can be prohibitive for even one unit, let alone the dozens or possibly hundreds that you may need in your business. And with the perceived risk of an unproven technology — at least as it relates to your existing practices — there’s a reasonable hesitation about jumping into the deep end of the pool on your first dive.
The important thing to remember is that today’s entry-level AR solutions won’t necessarily be what your business needs tomorrow. There will come a day when the cost of AR-specific hardware comes into a range where the benefits of upgrading outweigh the cost. If your team sees great leaps in efficiency as a result of your first deployment, you shouldn’t risk losing that because you have to create a whole new app from scratch. If your developer is tying your content to the AR platform you’re using today, you’re creating problems for yourself tomorrow. To future-proof your AR integration, be sure to choose a development partner who can create content for you that someone can adapt to any platform — both the preferred ones of today as well as those of the future.
Keep it simple, scalable
Embedding AR into your workflow is about reducing knowledge barriers and making it easier for your team to get the job done — so shouldn’t your deployment be just as frictionless? Rather than creating custom apps to support every process and role, it’s important to work with an AR partner who will service your needs through a content platform. This will allow everyone in your organization, from documentation specialists and engineers to workplace health and safety specialists, to create the content that powers your AR solution with drag and drop simplicity. It should be fast and easy to create, communicate, and deploy in real-time to thousands of users instantly.
No single member of your team is going to be an expert on everything. By utilizing tools that allow anyone to be a creator, you’ll be able to refine, implement, and deploy best practices as processes change and new elements are introduced. If a single change in your process requires an invoice and a timeline to your AR partner, it’s time to think about switching to a content-first strategy.
Understand workforce perception
There is a growing concern among today’s workforce that new technologies are going to lead to unfathomable job loss. “If AR can lead to a 30 percent improvement in job efficiency,” they may ask, “will it lead to a 30 percent reduction in staff?”
For the adoption of AR to be successful, it’s imperative that you breach the workplace culture barrier to communicate the value that AR brings to the business and the team. Efficiency doesn’t inherently mean fewer workers; it can also mean fewer mistakes. Everybody benefits from a better and safer job.
The impact that AR can have on your enterprise can be tremendous — but only if your team embraces the change and steps boldly into the future alongside you.
Scope AR CEO Scott Montgomerie has become one of AR’s thought leaders and visionaries for the space.