XR technologies enable a more efficient and lower-cost service business
Nora Nirhamo | 2020/10/08
XR technologies offer many benefits in different business areas. This means a great competitive advantage for those companies that understand the potential of these technologies and are utilizing or are starting to utilize X-Reality in their business.
Have you already heard of extended reality or XR? It is an umbrella term that includes virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which are more familiar to many. The first of these refers to technology that the created environment is completely virtual, while augmented reality refers to a view of the physical world to which computer-generated elements have been added.
In addition to these, XR also covers mixed reality (MR). A good example of mixed reality is the game Pokemon Go, which went wild a few years ago, regardless of age.
In the next few years, the expanded reality will also strive to revolutionize business, says Juha Asunmaa, Softability’s business unit executive. He says that there are use cases for XR technologies in sales, logistics, service and design.
– Utilizing XR technologies, the different parts of the product design can be brought together and it is possible to evaluate the functionality of the entire concept. For example, an improvement proposal for a city center area can be visualized into its final environment even before the work is carried out. Technology raises the speed of product design to a new level and helps you make better choices, Asunmaa gives as an example.
“XR is currently interesting to industry players as it offers tremendous opportunities to streamline production and assembly.”
XR is currently interesting to industry players as it offers tremendous opportunities to streamline production and assembly. Asunmaa tells of the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which moved to take advantage of the augmented reality in the installation of electrical wiring in aircraft. This meant not only abandoning paper wiring diagrams, but also 25 percent less workload. Errors were reduced by as much as 60 percent.
Volkswagen, for its part, halved training times for certain installations with the introduction of VR technology. In addition, training costs decreased by 33 percent.
With XReach, complex deployment work can be performed more cost-effectively and remotely
To ensure additional invoicing, many companies build a different service business on top of their product range. For industrial equipment manufacturers, this can mean, for example, assistance with maintenance or commissioning. According to Asunmaa, with remote support solutions based on XR technologies, the costs of the service business will remain lower. The level of service is also improving.
– More complex technical devices often require precise configuration in order to maximize the benefits for the end customer. The configuration may require a significant amount of work time, so doing it remotely saves resources.
Among other things, Softability’s XReach solution, formerly known as VIESTI, is also suitable for this purpose. Asunmaa says that XReach has been made to facilitate industrial maintenance and technical support for installations, as well as to produce material for related training. According to him, it is particularly suitable to support more complex work for organizations whose activities are geographically distributed over several regions.
One example of the purpose of XReach is a situation where a device manufacturer’s expert assists in repairing, configuring or installing a hardware failure on another continent from Finland.
– Development work has progressed. In the past, using XReach has required an expert to sit at a computer, but in the future an expert can also use the solution on a mobile device anywhere, Asunmaa says.
The financial benefits of technology must be measurable
If a company wants to start supporting its service business with XR technology, it must first outline the factors that cause costs when working with the customer.
– Before mapping out difficulties, it is impossible to consider what kind of change process control, support and service operating models, and products sold need, or to map out suitable solutions.
Asunmaa says that alongside these considerations, there must be a clear picture of how the financial benefits achieved are measured.
A company interested in leveraging a remote support solution must be able to demonstrate to its own customers that they too will benefit from the use of the new technology.
According to Asunmaa, the development of XR technologies on the consumer side will be slower than in the corporate world. This may have contributed to people’s beliefs about the availability of technology available to businesses. Asunmaa doubts that all organizations do not yet fully understand the possibilities of XR technology.
“A company interested in leveraging a remote support solution must be able to demonstrate to its own customers that they too will benefit from the use of the new technology.”
But those who understand will gain a clear competitive advantage.
– XR technology can be introduced in stages and gradually expanded to different areas, such as sales, production and services. Just as with the introduction of any new technology, in terms of expanded reality, the companies that are the first to take advantage of cost savings and productivity gains will gain the greatest competitive advantage. In these organizations, for example, with a remote support solution, travel and labor costs are reduced in relation to the number of contracts, fewer maintenance errors occur and service production can be performed more efficiently.
Watch the XReach demo video below.
The article was originally published in the Ite wiki blog media based on an interview with Juha Asunmaa.
Mikko Luukkonen, Softability Oy, mikko.luukkonen(at)softability.fi
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