Airstream by Ralph Goings (1970)

Get Real: How to Build a Useful Augmented Reality Application

By | AR/VR, Internet of Things, Service Technology | 2 Comments

Gauging Value in AR Service Applications

You know I have been very vocal in criticizing augmented reality (AR) applications that, in my opinion, demonstrated too little business value.  You have heard (or read) me referring these as righty-tighty lefty-loosey systems.

From time to time, clients and attendees of my public lectures challenge me for guidelines to help them gauge the potential business value of AR applications. If a simple air filter replacement procedure isn’t useful, then what is? Read More

King Alphonso Jean-Michel-Basquiat

Virtual Reality—Content is King

By | AR/VR | 4 Comments

We continue to be dazzled by eye catching virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies such as Facebook Oculus, HTC Vive and Microsoft HoloLens. And we conveniently forget that these viewers are essentially just that — viewing contraptions; they have no intrinsic value without the appropriate content. They come to life, if you pardon the choice of idiom, only when they have content to display, virtual worlds to visit, business value to deliver. Think of the role of virtual reality content in Inception, in which Ariadne, an architect, is brought in to design three dream “layers” with paradoxically intertwined architectures and maze-like layouts. This design does not simply provide the visual backdrop—it becomes the plot.

(If you need a refresher on AR/VR display technologies, now may be a good time to pause reading this article and visit “A Gaggles of Goggles” in an excellent article on AR in Wired Magazine.)

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Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey

Augmented Reality and the Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey Demo

By | AR/VR, Field Service, Service Technology | 4 Comments

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) technology seems like a natural fit for personnel performing intricate assembly, maintenance and repair jobs. AR technology is used to annotate physical objects by superimposing physical objects, in real-time, with virtual information from documents, databases and sensors to assist technicians in performing complex tasks. For example, the AR annotation layer could highlight a part to be replaced, identify special tools needed for the task, prescribe detailed work instructions, and display warnings about potentially hazardous materials and activities.

Unlike virtual reality, which replaces the physical world, AR adds information that augments and enhances the real-world experience.

Work on using augmented reality in industrial settings dates back to the 1990s. The renewed interest in applying AR in service and maintenance tasks stems from two converging trends. Read More

2016: Trends, Predictions and Opportunities

By | AR/VR, Automotive, Internet of Things, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) | 5 Comments

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Still More Talk Than Walk

The torrent of breathless headlines, rosy economic predictions and novel business ideas will continue in 2016, but, overall, there will be more talk than walk. At the same time, the promise, even if overly optimistic, is real, meaningful and worth pursuing, and the number of companies exploring it will continue to grow.

Excitement over IIoT, bolstered by increased corporate budgets, will continue to fuel new initiatives and projects, although they will be mostly driven by the lines of business, resulting in one-off non-scalable implementations. Lack of adequate standards, and sometimes the availability of multiple of standards will contribute to the proliferation of “limited edition” IIoT.

Security and privacy concerns will linger.  Demonstrations of hackable devices and vulnerable industrial networks, especially with the United States presidential election campaigns that keep cybersecurity and rogue forces in the public eye, will impede large scale implementations, especially of public IIoT systems.  Companies that offer robust methods for securing the IIoT will get the attention of investors and industrial companies alike. Read More

Augmented Relaity

Virtual Reality is Awaiting its iPhone Moment

By | AR/VR, Field Service, Service Technology | No Comments

I have been involved in developing, evaluating and selecting tools and methods for field service and failure diagnostics in complex equipment for many years. Among the many technologies, virtual reality (VR), the technology that was heralded and then flopped in the 90s, seems to stage a comeback, thanks to significant improvement in hardware and visualization technologies, and eye-catching products like Google Glass (discontinued earlier this year), Oculus Rift (acquired by Apple in 2014) and Microsoft’s Hololens. A client sent me links to articles on virtual reality that appeared in a recent issue of The Economist and asked for an opinion.

The longer article, titled Grand Illusions, offers some historical perspective and discusses numerous opportunities for virtual reality applications, mostly related to gaming and gaming-like areas. The article cautions readers to “curb your enthusiasm”, citing multiple technology, human physiology and social barriers. Read More