How Augmented Reality changes the way employees learn
For decades, computers have offered support to office workers. But artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) are changing the game for front-line workers, too.
The Old Way
Before the introduction of virtual and augmented reality technology, the transfer of knowledge and competencies was a very time-consuming, costly, and ineffective process.
Let’s say some engineer who manufactures widgets is training a new engineer on how to make them. In the early 1900s, the teacher-engineer would write all the key information down by hand. That hard copy document would be passed to the new engineer, who would do his best to decode the document, stopping frequently to ask for guidance but still making many mistakes along the way.
The real game-changer were computers. Now the teacher-engineer would create a digital document and share it. When computers were still large and heavy, this digital document would be printed out. But soon enough, hardware became more compact and therefore portable, so the new engineer could carry around a laptop or tablet as he learned how to do his new job. This is the most common practice in front-line work environments nowadays.
The problem? The need to carry the device, which means that the employee’s hands are not free. For hands-on work, this poses a major problem. Any more disadvantages of this method? Display sizes are limited, so only so much information can be seen at once; if the employee needs to wear gloves as he completes the job, he may not be able to operate a touch screen or trackpad of a laptop, and if the employee isn’t wearing gloves, he still may interact with objects and substances that get his hands dirty, causing the screens or keyboards dirty too.
The New Way – augmented reality solutions
With the increasing power of computers and artificial intelligence, AR and VR products are becoming more efficient, more cost-effective, and more widely available. The evolution of MR glasses like Microsoft HoloLens, Nreal, and Lenovo ThinkReality allow the computers to support training for front-line employees in a hands-free and exciting new way.
Creating training programs that can be experienced through MR technology is a simple way to transfer knowledge to new employees. Those digital step-by-step instructions of complex tasks and operations can be saved and used when needed. What is a real game-changer here is that thanks to the MR glasses, the front-line worker can look directly at the site of the task in front of him and follow instructions displayed “in the air” just before his eyes. This technology allows the brain to experience the instructions and the world simultaneously in 3D. If a solution is not in the knowledge database yet, the user can call an expert. The expert doesn’t have to travel anywhere and can help remotely usually very quickly. Later, the expert can add the new solution to the digital knowledge center for all future uses.
Aidar is getting your job done…remotely and efficiently
Products like Real Ware and Vuzix are paving the way through the final steps of the transition to AR based service frontline worker, delivering a mono display in front of an eye. But with the introduction of hologram-like displays, the possibilities are even more exciting.
So, what is next? The integration of this new technology with IoT and predictive maintenance. Both, real-time and historic data, will be instantly available for the user wearing glasses or headset.
By using mixed reality for employee training, AIDAR is helping companies transfer their competencies from person to person even in hard-to-reach, distant places. In the past, the trainer/expert and the trainee/operator had to be in the same place. But as we all know, the world is changing and new solutions constantly appear – so let’s work smarter, not harder.