AR and IoT are beginning to transform the way organizations are interacting in their industrial environments.
With the ability to integrate technology everywhere, products, processes, and people now have the ability to be connected like never before, allowing enterprises to drive product and service differentiation and promote operational effectiveness, workforce productivity, and unmatched quality.
Some might refer to this concept as the idea of digital transformation…but what does that really even mean? This article breaks it all down for you.
Digital Transformation with IoT and AR.
Today, innovative Augmented Reality tools have the ability to connect with powerful IoT data while working seamlessly in a service and training environment. With a mobile device or AR headset, technicians can easily learn to work in tandem drastically reducing training time and downtime simultaneously.
To better understand a concept of ‘digital transformation’, I’ll walk you through a real-life scenario involving one of our customers.
For this specific customer, the combination of AR and IoT has drastically improved the efficiency of their operations.
With the use of an AR application, our customer is able to provide their off-site workers with a digital model of one of their products immediately.
Placed alongside the digital model of their product, they are also able to see real-time data from the physical product that is off-site or working in the field.
This is possible because their AR experience also leverages a connection with their IoT platform, known as ThingWorx.
Their ThingWorx IoT platform connects to their disparate data systems, such as their ERP and CRM systems. It also connects to their PLM software, which provides them with the ability to pull a configuration from their PLM software, known as Windchill. This allows them to showcase unique product information, such as the VIN, model, customer and purchase information.
By having this data available and in context, remote technicians are better informed and empowered to make the best decisions possible.
As technicians launch their AR experience, they are able to see step by step instructions on how to repair or service the specific product.
They are also able to see warnings and replay steps that are integrated into the AR experience so they can be assured they are working in a safe environment without missing any procedures.
With the additional use of Vuforia Chalk, a remote video assistance app, employees are also able to instantly access remote subject matter experts or SMEs who can answer questions related to the experience and interact with the experience directly by drawing on the screen.
Finally, with time tracked throughout the experience, this service data can then be sent back to their ThingWorx IoT platform to assess performance, training, and to improve the CAD design leader.
By combining the use of AR and IoT, training and servicing is no longer hindered by traditional learning for our customer. Instead, their technicians are able learn from an experience that is enriched with data and context.
By leveraging ThingWorx, our customer is able to merge the digital and physical worlds of service providing their organization with an efficient and productive work environment.
This is the idea of digital transformation.
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The very definition of many industries is changing in no small part due to the of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its’ ability to disrupt and generate new business opportunities. Industry leaders across the board are starting to embrace IoT projects, use IoT devices, and build smart connected products using IoT platforms.
This article references real IoT case study stories and internet of things examples from John Deere and Nike to provide you with a better understanding of how the IoT is starting to shake up and disrupt industries.
To paint you a picture of exactly how the IoT is creating business opportunities for organizations today, let’s start with a company you might already be familiar with – John Deere.
Before the rise of IoT
For many years, though, they made simple tractors that weren’t ‘smart’ or connected products, they were just mechanical.
Soon enough, over time, John Deere’s products started to become smart and connected– changing everything for the organization.
Creating smart products & connecting devices
John Deere began to equip their products with digital dashboards, engine control units, sensors to alert users if they are running out gas, if oil pressure is too high, if hydraulic pressure is too low, etc.
By doing so, John Deere began to realize the countless benefits that came along with connecting their agricultural equipment to the internet of things, which eventually would provide the ability to remotely monitor the equipment’s performance.
Now remember, at this point, John Deer was still a tractor company, but as the organization moved forward with their vision of smart connected products, they also created what is called a smart connected product system.
The evolution of a smart connected product system & Digital Transformation
At the heart of John Deer’s product system is what is called a combine harvester. Their combine harvester harvests grain from fields, separates the head or the ear from the stalk, and divides the hulls, cobs, and the husks from the kernels of grain.
Today these smart connected combines have the ability to smartly monitor how many kernels came from a single patch of land, and how many kernels came from another.
In fact, they even collect, store, and send data to the cloud for the following season – so the machine is able to perform what is called a smart planting scheme.
During the smart planting scheme, the tractor hooks up to a tiler, which is basically a plow. As the plow works the soil, the equipment frequently fertilizes it, particularly with nitrogen. The equipment then follows its smart planting scheme – if the yield was low, nitrogen application should be high in a particular spot. If the yield was high, nitrogen should decrease.
Next from the connected product system comes the tractor pulling the planter that puts kernels in the ground for next year’s crop. It’s doing the same thing.
With a wide variety of seeds, the planter makes smart decisions for specific spots as needed. The smart connected equipment even knows when to use different drought resistant seeds in particular dry patches of land.
Smart products and the internet of things
John Deere created their own unique smart connected product system with the equipment they manufacture. By using smart connected devices, sensors, and building on top of an IoT platform, they slowly started to connect their entire product line.
This breakthrough in farming equipment enabled their products to work together and share data back and forth.
Farmers are now able to correlate their inputs and outputs, while reducing inputs and maximizing outputs. This means productivity and profits.
Taking it a step further, John Deere designed a smart farm system where, depending upon commodity prices, the equipment has the ability to plants different seeds.
Farms that irrigate now have the ability to place sensors in the soil to that read moisture levels. Using this knowledge, the smart equipment is able to determine whether it should apply more or less water to particular locations.
Agricultural equipment can now even assess upcoming weather forecasts and determine if irrigation is critical.
New business opportunities with IoT
John Deere went from selling tractors to selling sophisticated information systems that can run smart farms.
With the technological advancements around today, a company like John Deere now has to determine the actual business they are in.
IoT presents new industry opportunity
Somewhere along the way, while developing smart connected products, John Deere became a software company and a systems integrator.
The internet of things presented John Deere with an opportunity to compete within an entirely new industry.
In fact, some say with this the new industry opportunity, John Deere even has the ability to compete with other well-known IT system integrators – such as Accenture.
The internet of things and smart connected products present a very interesting phenomenon, that’s happening right now.
Homes are beginning to transition to smart homes. Automobiles are starting to become smart. It’s happening everywhere you turn, even if in some cases it might be very subtly, or slow.
Products are evolving
Nike is another great example of how the IoT has started to accelerate and transform organizations.
Historically, Nike has made shoes, clothes and sunglasses – but today, their product line is now much more than that.
For Nike, it’s no longer just about clothes and shoes anymore. Their products have evolved from fitness equipment to fitness monitoring systems – driving personal health and wellness goals.
They too, started connecting their products by adding sensors into their shoes, clothes, and Fuel Bands. This has enabled their smart connected products to help people maintain physical fitness and health.
Businesses possibilities of IoT
With the real-world examples from John Deere and Nike, it’s easy see how businesses are starting to expand their industry boundaries with the internet of things.
The world is changing, smart connected products are continually evolving. What is your organization doing to stay ahead?
Explore the business possibilities of IoT for your organization
Organizations today are adopting valuable IoT solutions to lower operating costs, increase productivity, and develop new products.
The Internet of Things can offer your organization an opportunity to be more efficient whether its connecting devices with automated systems that gather information, analyzing IoT data, creating an action to learn from a process, achieving the pinnacle – remote control, support and maintenance.
We want to help you achieve your IoT objectives
Not sure what the advantages of IoT are for your organization? We would love to help you define and push your boundaries!
Our technology specialists are experts at devising what IoT solutions, devices, projects, and business models are best suited for your organization. Let’s have a conversation.