Technology and digital connectivity advances are transforming the way we live and work – in particular, the future of industry is expected to become a lot more “augmented.”
Augmented Reality (AR) utilises digital technologies to improve what can be seen, heard, and shared among colleagues in many industries to greatly improve analysis, decision making, and collaboration.
This is the nexus where the digital and the physical worlds collide, where data and connectivity offer a game-changing opportunity for industries. With the combined global VR and AR market predicted to reach US$162 billion by 2020, here are some of the AR innovations in play today, and how they can make a difference in ASEAN.
Smart Helmets For Smart Collaboration
GE’s Smart Helmet technology makes real-time global collaboration a reality. The Smart Helmet connects wearers to colleagues around the world, allowing the user to request help, and insight, as well as offering the ability – via the device visor – to display videos, schematics or documents to improve teamwork.
For example, the Smart Helmet gives ASEAN and Asian engineers access to global expertise, and insight, as and when, they need it. This support improves equipment maintenance programs to reduce plant downtime. GE has already utilised Smart Helmet to support an Oil & Gas project in Qatar. The future is now, and it’s a world of augmented collaboration.
Virtual Education For The Future
AR offers huge potential in education, providing virtual workspaces for students to learn collaboratively from anywhere in the world. At Western University, California, AR is used to create virtual laboratories and learning spaces for medical students, creating in-depth, virtual learning experiences without the need for extensive materials, or specialised rooms.
This technology could provide huge benefits to education in other technical areas too. Imagine the possibilities of an oil and gas or hydro power engineering lab created in a virtual space, allowing students from throughout ASEAN to collaborate in a virtual landscape and support hands-on training without the need for purpose-built labs and engineering facilities.
There could be fewer visits to hospitals and surgeries in the future, as doctors increasingly use specialist AR technology to analyse the vital signs of patients including blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, and more. The precursors to these technologies already exist in healthcare, with devices such as AccuVein, a handheld device which maps out a patients veins and arteries.
Medical AR solutions would be especially impactful in ASEAN, where populations live across geographically diverse locations – world-class healthcare can be delivered to patients whether they live in busy Bangkok, or rural Roxas. AR would also enhance ollaboration among medical experts across the region.
Manufacturing The Future
Digital precision is one of the big benefits supported by AR, offering massive potential for manufacturers. Move over the mass-production processes of the past, future manufacturing will become increasingly localised and customised.
AR provides high-resolution projection and digital annotation to guide advanced manufacturing in vital systems. If we’re talking vital systems, is there anything more vital than providing precise AR-assisted
engineering to build incubators for premature babies? With ASEAN predicted to be the world’s next great global factory, AR has the ability to accelerate innovation and production speed.
AR technologies can also accelerate personal learning, or upskilling. Automotive giant Hyundai is using this in a very practical way by providing AR repair capabilities as part of their car manuals for customers. This enables customers – via their smartphone or tablet – to diagnose and repair simple problems using an augmented how-to guide. With ASEAN being the 5th largest automotive market in the world, and a significant global manufacturer, this application of AR could become commonplace in the very near term.
As well as offering great support for maintenance crews, AR can help pilots fly more safely and efficiently. The cockpit of the future is an augmented environment, where pilots will perform annotated versions of safety checks, and vital flight statistics are digitally highlighted. This means augmented support from take-off, to cruising, and safe landings.
With over half of new air traffic passenger growth expected to originate in Asia-Pacific in the next 20 years, AR could help make ASEAN’s skies safer, and better managed, to benefit airlines and passengers alike.
Finally, AR can also help break down communication barriers between business and industrial teams operating in different parts of the world. Google for example, today offers AR capability that can translate text using the cameras of smartphones.
And as wearable technology becomes widely adopted, this capability could support game-changing real-time interaction and make learning a second or third language that much easier. In a region such as ASEAN, with a diverse range of languages spoken, AR communication tools will be highly valued and used.