In the industrial environment, augmented reality has considerable potential to increase the efficiency of information-intensive processes. A structured approach with five phases has proven itself to introduce data glasses technology in the company successfully.
Stage 1: Planning
First of all, companies that are toying with using data glasses or other wearables should identify suitable scenarios or good use cases for wearable computing and HMDs. Where can you use the mirrors, what are the benefits and what support do employees get from them? Specialist companies provide advice here, for example, in the form of one to three on-site workshops. The project managers should then create a company-specific wearable computing roadmap that outlines the implementation process and the goals to be achieved.
Phase 2: Hardware Selection
The second phase involves selecting the appropriate hardware for the selected scenarios. In general, HMDs can be divided into four different classes: a distinction is made between monocular and binocular and see-through and non-see-through HMDs. The selection of the “best” HMD type is always particularly dependent on the respective application and the workplace to be supported. Although there are basically “better” and “worse” HMDs for a selected application scenario, the most suitable HMD must always be evaluated based on the specific and detailed application scenario as part of a cost and benefit analysis.
Phase 3: Selection Of The Software
The best smart glasses are useless without the right local software. Companies must also find the right partner for their requirements when choosing a provider for specific software solutions for HMDs and wearable computers. The decision whether you prefer an on-premise or a cloud-based model is usually made in this phase. This is the only way providers can create an offer and start the next step — the pilot project.
Phase 4: Pilot Project
In this step, the affected employees and, if available, the works council are informed and involved. Companies should communicate openly and transparently, present advantages and ideas, and address possible questions and concerns. The next step is to recruit key users for the pilot project and configure the selected AR workflows for the data glasses. Integration into the existing IT systems (WMS, ERP, EWS, PMS) should also occur in this phase of the project. Finally, the pilot project is carried out and evaluated, including calculating the ROI and the payback period.
Phase 5: Productive Use
Assuming a positive result of the pilot project, the roll-out and implementation of the solution and the training of the other employees will take place in this phase. This factor should not be underestimated to guarantee satisfaction and acceptance of the new solution. From now on, the smooth operation will be ensured by the provider’s continuous service and support, which can also be “adjusted” if necessary.
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