The launch of the much-anticipated Apple Vision Pro heralds a new era of consumer productivity through spacial computing. In the enterprise, that future is here.

“In 2024 we may finally see products and apps that bring virtual augmented reality into the same functional universe as our phones and computers, maybe finally leading to mass adoption like smartphones over a decade ago.”

—Scott Stein, CNET

The release of the Apple Vision Pro is re-igniting the tech industry, 

For Scope the Vision Pro is validation of a premise we’ve been operating on for years, that AR is not just a futuristic concept but a present-day reality with powerful applications in enterprise solutions, demonstrating its capability to enhance productivity, training, and complex task execution in various industries. 

Scope AR’s co-founder, David Nedohin, in 2012, wearing AR goggles rigged up to address an emerging need in the enterprise for augmented reality. We’ve come a long way since.

The picture above is of one of Scope AR’s co-founders, David Nedohin, in 2012, wearing a Frankenstein hacked-together pair of Epson Moverio BT100s. A customer asked us to build our own AR glasses for a trade show and, well, we did! We literally hacked the firmware to accept external video input from a computer. And with this experience, we realized we had more than a cool toy on our hands, we had the makings of an actual enterprise use case for augmented reality. 

Cut to today: Scope AR has the most scalable, most enterprise AR platform out there. And Apple has launched its version of more-or-less the same concept, the Apple Vision Pro.

The hardware has caught up to the demand for highly practical — and in the case of our customers — business-critical use cases that require precise communication of complex tasks . We’ve known for years now that AR has strong applications in manufacturing, technical training, and industrial productivity, now the Apple Vision Pro will unlock productivity across consumer productivity use cases, and boost enterprise user experience in the process.

As Scott Stein says, AR will experience a moment in 2024 and beyond. Having innovated in AR for over 10 years we have both a unique and nuanced view on what it can do now and where it’s heading.

Here’s what AR looks like In 2024: 

AR has use cases

We’ve seen AR evolve from emerging technology to mature enterprise solution and we would argue that AR is what it has been for years — practical, an effective productivity tool — but now broadly no longer tied exclusively to gaming or virtual escape from reality.

In fact, AR is uniquely positioned to improve the outcomes in several critical use cases. Take learning and skill development. Our enterprise customers have reported up to 90% improvement in time to train and certify staff, customers, and technicians on shop floor activities and other technical skills. This is because AR moves learning into applied practice, where the learning and retention rate is higher. We anticipate considerable acceleration of applied learning as tools like the Vision Pro broaden the usage and application of AR to our everyday work.

AR is Enterprise

In our early days, even with clear-cut use cases, it was challenging expanding from early piloting of AR driven by research or Innovation teams to actual usage on the shop floor. But today AR platforms like WorLink offer an end-to-end enterprise solution, and innovations in hardware, data integrations, IoT, and AI have furthered the Digital Thread by uniting systems across product lifecycle management, the shop floor, and manufacturing execution.

And the enterprise is now applying AR cross-functionally, across use cases and teams. Take Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, one of the world’s leading industrial groups, spanning energy, logistics & infrastructure, and industrial machinery. We’ve seen the applications of our WorkLink platform to their business expand even beyond the initial use cases of manufacturing work instructions. Beyond the shop floor for work instructions and training,  their customers have adopted it as a support tool, enabling a higher-level service level. Even further, their sales organization has adopted AR for demo and training of sales staff. For MHI, AR is an amazing accelerator, enabling them to convey complex information easily across the enterprise.

AR is a productivity tool: For years, AR simulations were more entertaining than useful; for many Pokemon GO was our first exposure to the possibilities of the technology. Today, it simply enables us to get from Point A to mission critical Point B faster, with fewer of the frictions you would encounter in the physical world.

Take aviation – a highly regulated industry. Aviation maintenance, repair, and operations, or MRO, is highly technical, requiring years of training for tech ops professionals to have the required certifications to perform standard operational inspections of airplanes, each of which requires hundreds of documents that must be completed and scanned into a digital database. AR can accelerate not only the inspection training process, but the documentation process.

This video of our customer, West Jet, shows former aircraft maintenance engineer Brandon Gamble, now on West Jet’s elite troubleshooting unit, leveraging AR through our WorkLink platform to automate the inspection process. Anomalies can be spotted and rectified, and documentation digitally filed, in real-time. 

In a talk he gave to WestJet employees explaining how his organization was thinking about productivity, and how AR could accelerate it, Gandeephan Ganeshalingam, Vice President Technical Operations at WestJet said it best,

“What if we documented our work, simply by doing our work?”

Gandeephan, we quite agree.

AR is enhanced by AI. You can’t talk about the advancements of AR without acknowledging the impact of AI on, well, everything. As pioneers in Enterprise AR, and knew we needed to address AI in some way, but not superficially, only in a way that would amplify and accelerate the known capabilities of AR. 

We had proven that AR could accelerate productivity for our customers by enabling anyone to achieve mastery over complex tasks. From there we asked ourselves: How can AI help us do that faster, better? The answer became obvious to us: by accelerating content creation, or the authoring, process.

Many of the use cases we support are highly complex, highly technical, and require an understanding of both engineering and computer-aided design, or CAD, which helps users create designs in 3D to visualize construction, and enables the development, modification, and optimization of the design process   We saw AI as bridging the gap in knowledge between design engineer and end user – from CAD drawings to the shop floor. 

With years of experience supporting the development of AR experiences, we’ve virtually seen content creation for complex tasks a million times. And with that experience digitized we have a data library that can automate content creation, we could activate with AI, dynamically bringing insights into the content creation process to customers. 

With all of these data and insights an AI customer self-serve chatbot was possible – and also just table stakes. In 2024 we’re incorporating our ingrained knowledge of content creation and best practices into our WorkLink platform, freeing up customers to execute training, remote assistance, work instructions faster. More on that later this year.

Scott Montgomerie is Co-Founder and CEO of Scope AR.