It’s that time of the year again, month one of the New Year. Coming out of the holidays, corporate “Go-Getters” are energized and drafting up their Proposal Decks to send to leadership.
And they do that with good reason…because the time really is now. Chances are, your CEO and business unit leaders are scrambling to map their value propositions into the latest thing. For 2022, that latest buzz is the…Metaverse. Boardrooms are on fire with burning questions like: How do we fit into the Metaverse? How do we engage future audiences? How do we start?
So, let’s just make it easy.
Here’s a turnkey framework for your 2022 AR proposal
Slide 1: Start by a characterization of “Where we are now” in terms of the emergent supermassive trends. For 2022, there are four:
COVID & its implications on travel / remote work
Digital transformation: it is still accelerating
The Great Resignation: high turnover and strained labor markets
The Metaverse, and related immersive experience economies
“Virtual worlds have been destigmatized as a result of COVID in a truly unique way. COVID has legitimized time in virtual worlds in a way that almost no other event could have.”
Matthew Ball — Business Insider
“2020 was about virtual training evolution, and 2021 was about better engaging and training virtual teams. The signs are clear, in 2022 the focus is on how to adapt training strategies for a hybrid workplace.”
Asha Pandey — eLearning Insider
Slide 2: Identify the most important metrics to your business unit, and underline the associated pain relative to your company’s goals.
Why? Because Problems get attention, increase your heart rate, and prompt your audience’s dopaminergic systems into action. If your strategy is going to work, it needs to get attention.
Characterize the Problem
Your company and department are unique, but most management frameworks use these three dimensions for their metrics and associated pain:
I’ll give an example of metrics for our customer’s most popular 2022 use cases: Training.
[ Quality ] New hire onboarding experience.
Associated pain: We can’t hire and retain top talent at the rates we need
[ Quality ] Percentage of trained workforce
Associated pain: Our customers complain about our service
[ Quality ] Travel is limited but we have people to train (or onboard, or cross train…)
Associated Pain: Concerned over how to manage hybrid training and what the right tools are
[ Cost ] Coverage of virtual training options
Associated pain: We incur too much travel cost for on-site training
[ Cost & Time ] Time to productivity
Associated pain: Our new hires struggle with the current training programs and force us to rely more to retain fully trained employees
[ Time ] Time to complete training
Associated pain: Our new hires take too long current training programs and force us to rely more to retain fully trained employees
Add proof, whether specific to your company or in your industry in which you operate. It’s great practice to pair your arguments with proof – particularly where you expect your leadership team to base their strategic decision. Just make sure that the proof points match your characterization of the problem.
For example. 2021 concluded with record high rates of turnover, but don’t just state it. Instead, enrich it with quotes and data:
Following the Great Resignation of 2021… “as millions of workers join new organizations in 2022, the onboarding experience will be key in shaping how they view their new employer and how long they intend to stay.” (Source)
“The gap between highly skilled workers and the rest of the pack is one of the biggest drivers of inconsistent work and increased costs.” (Source)
The last segment of characterizing the Problem, is to tie state of the key metrics and pain to the emergent trends. These focus your strategy plan into answering the underlying question: What can be done now?
Slide 3: Proposed solution
Now that the Problem is well-articulated, your strategy can transition cleanly and introduce its counterpart: The Solution. In our case, that’s augmented reality.
That’s because augmented reality is perfectly positioned to address all 4 of the 2022 emergent supermassive trends:
Covid workaround tool? Check.
Digital Transformation roadmap? Check.
The Great Resignation? Check.
Why Augmented Reality for your Enterprise
The core of your AR strategy story is how you demonstrate that AR can solve your company’s currentproblems. The best approach to persuade your audience is to clearly map the positive impacts of the Solution technology to the specific pain (and metrics) your company sustains.
High engagement during training programs (as good or better as in-person, on-device)
High retention rate during training programs (as good or better as in-person, on-device)
Faster time to competency
Highest ROI of any Industry 4.0 technology
A simple table works wonders here and helps get right to the point of the strategic intent. Something like:
Slide 4: The Plan to make it real
If the Solution hits your company’s pain points convincingly, the next immediate question that’s going to emerge is “How much will it cost, and how long will it take to get running?”
To answer this correctly, you’re going to need to talk to our Sales team. These people live for crafting the perfect use case+scope+implementation combination.
I can give you a guideline though. Following a successful Needs assessment and proof of concept engagement The median enterprise customer budgets $50k for the first year of WorkLink and onboards the first 50 users to full AR productivity by the two-month mark.
To answer the second question, here’s a general timeline of the WorkLink buying process
( 2 weeks ) Needs assessment and the Business Case
( 2 weeks ) AR use case definitions
( 1 month ) Testing and Proof of Concepts (PoC)
( 2 weeks ) Procurement
( 1 month ) IT Implementation
( 3 months ) Success Measurement
Slide 5: Conclude with a recap and the your Company’s Vision
At this point, your audience will be imagining the future, and can easily drift away to tangent thoughts – and that’s OK for a bit. Your strategy proposal has to fit within other competing efforts and parallel projects. To pull them back in and close it, the simple words “In conclusion” work like magic. Use it directly on the slide (and say it out loud as well)
Give the summary of the takeaways in reverse order. It helps memory and cognition, and allows you to end your strategic proposal at the Company and Vision level.
There’s a plan for procurement, implementation, and ROI assessment within 2022
The WorkLink solution matches the profile of pain metrics our Company faces, now and going forward
Our challenges are also felt by others within the industry and technology space
It’s important for our Company Vision to address the supermassive trends of 2022 proactively
Finally, just like any polished Youtuber’s conclusion statement, ask your audience “What do you think?”
Enterprise Augmented Reality Platforms: COVID-19 Ushers in a New Era
We agree with Contol’s assessment: Technology for enabling remote interactions such as virtual conferences, online collaboration tools, and remote workflows have been gaining traction in recent years. But as Keith Larson points out in this incisive article from CONTROL, it’s nothing compared to the transformation that has occurred, in an incredibly rapid space of time, due to the onset of COVID-19.
We all know about the disruptive effects of social distancing as well as the unfortunate damage wrought on industries of all sorts: hospitality, retail, and travel, just to name a few. But what’s also happened is that enterprises have begun to face the reality that their slow, careful adoption of augmented reality platforms needs to suddenly speed up and become a clear, decisive strategy.
Larson points out that areas of society exist that have already done this — there are well-known and successful companies that have already allowed remote workers and virtual conferences to be the name of the game; in-person meetings and office workers are a far less important component of their culture. But for many companies, remote workforce strategies are new. No longer. For example, Cisco Webex has seen an exponential increase in adoption of its virtual meeting platform in countries around the world. And Cisco is by no means alone.
The Slow Traction of Enterprise Augmented Reality Platforms and Other Remote Tools Suddenly Accelerates in the COVID Era
Another company that has seen increased adoption of its technology is Scope AR; its Augmented Reality Platform has experienced a swarm of new users as a result of the current crisis. The WorkLink enterprise augmented reality platform is in heavy use by a company based in China — which manufactures food and drinks — and it leverages the technology to keep important processes going smoothly during a highly critical moment in the company’s history. According to David Nedohin, the Chief Customer Officer and Co-Founder of Scope AR, knowledge is scarce — and it simply takes too long (and costs too much) to share knowledge by forcing someone to physically fly from country to country. Rather, knowledge can be communicated and spread much more quickly using a virtual solution.
The bottom line is that a rapidly changing international environment means that companies need to find new approaches to age-old problems. To that end, enterprise augmented reality platforms are a key strategy for organizations that need to support employees and ensure that business initiatives are completed without violating social distancing rules or putting people in danger. Larson concludes by pointing out that in a matter of months, we’ll know the true adoption rate of these enterprise augmented reality platforms and similar tools: the strong implication is that they will continue to skyrocket.
As the battle against COVID-19 intensifies, health systems and governments around the world are urging manufacturers to help in the production of vital medical equipment and supplies. Companies in the aerospace, automotive and life sciences industries are being called into action to help with the manufacturing of ventilators. These companies must now shift gears and train their workforce to produce an entirely new piece of equipment. This is not an easy undertaking and requires enormous coordination across design, engineering and manufacturing processes as well as significant workforce training.
Companies focused on ventilator production can take advantage of augmented reality work instructions. Integrating AR into their workforce can ensure that they have the knowledge at their fingertips to complete the manufacturing correctly without relying on traditional “training” methods. Workers can simply “see” the augmented 3D content positioned on their work table, and assemble the ventilators step-be-step, following what they see. All the worker would need to view these instructions is a smartphone or tablet.
To help with this global effort, Scope AR is offering immediate access to our WorkLink solution at no cost for the purpose of creating these ventilator instructions. And in the cases where companies undertaking this effort have limited internal resources, we are also providing access to our Creative Services team for direct support, consultation and where possible, complete start to finish project creation.
We are all in this together and Scope AR hopes that we can make a difference by offering our solutions to companies with a new focus on producing these life saving ventilators. If you are an organization tasked with this ventilator production effort or have further questions, please email us at: COVID-19@scopeAR.com.
With a banner 2019 behind us, I thought it would be a great time to take a deeper dive into a critical component of every single augmented reality implementation: the devices that bring AR to life. Hardware delivers what AR promises: real-time overlays, contextual data, assembly instructions, live two-way communications, and more. If AR is like having superpowers for the enterprise, displays and wearables are how you summon them.
Now that 2020 is well underway, let’s look at the state of things in augmented reality devices.
CES 2020: augmented reality wearables – hope or hype?
Like clockwork, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) swooped into Las Vegas, dazzling tech bloggers, cable news, and business press with a broad range of tech gear. Let’s be clear: this is first and foremost an event showcasing consumer tech – far heavier on products for the household than the enterprise. But there’s no question that the consumer market for VR and AR can drive feature innovation in augmented reality devices and pioneer new AR-enhanced experiences.
Were there any CES 2020 news or trends worth keeping an eye on for enterprise AR? Here are my top takeaways:
Consumer AR wearables are gaining traction. It’s worth noting that a VentureBeat writer called this year’s CES “easily the best VR and AR event I’ve attended,” predicting 2020 will be a breakthrough year for consumer AR.
No heavy-hitter device manufacturer went big on AR. Samsung maybehinted at AR smartglasses. Panasonic showed a prototype that maybe will head to the enterprise market someday. But I wouldn’t read too much into this absence: these days, major hardware players opt for their own events over the noise of CES.
A number of niche players demoed lightweight wearables, which might herald a similar evolution to the business market. (Read on for some thoughts.)
One vendor announced advances in higher-definition visuals through improved, mounted projectors, as well as a design tweaked to be fully transparent.
I’m grateful that I get to meet with executives from a broad range of industries and showcase how an AR platform can help transform their business. And while these businesses are vastly different in markets, geography, and customer segments, their leaders always ask me the same question: what’s the best augmented reality wearable device out there today? Today, I can say, without hesitation: Microsoft HoloLens 2.
This wasn’t always so easy. Like AR itself, wearables have rapidly evolved in recent years. And of course there are many good options that bring AR into enterprise workflows. But I see two key advantages unique to the Hololens 2: First, the overall user experience is stellar, from comfort to field-of-view. It’s amazing to see a customer try out a Hololens 2 — even someone new to AR. Onboarding is seamless: gesturing, eye tracking, and controls are intuitive, sometimes even automatic. Hololens 2 shrinks the AR learning curve, and it’s a shorter distance from “how does this thing work?” to “what can AR do for my business?” especially compared to the clunky interface of the HoloLens 1.
The second advantage is what Microsoft uniquely can wrap around the Hololens 2: an entire ecosystem for AR, from developer engagement, great developer tools, and built-in enterprise-grade features like Mobile Device Management that help to delive solutions aimed at the enterprise. Smaller players are absolutely vital, and will continue to innovate, but in 2020, it’s safe to expect some very compelling use cases as more enterprises try out and implement the Hololens 2 for AR use cases.
What’s next for augmented reality wearable devices
2020 promises some big steps forward for AR. But longer-term, I see some opportunities for advances in wearables to further drive adoption of enterprise AR. Just as we continue to evolve what’s possible with an AR knowledge platform, hardware manufacturers can find ways to evolve these essentials:
Field-of-view. At least one hardware provider with enterprise-market aspirations has a wearable that obscures a user’s peripheral vision — a non-starter in any potentially risk-prone environment. Further expanding the field of view beyond what today’s choices offer ensures AR visuals don’t obscure the environment that technicians need to see.
Ruggedness. Our customers are using AR in environments like factory floors and aerospace assembly rooms. Augmented reality wearable devices should meet industrial safety standards, be able to withstand impact and other factor.
Lighten up. A holy-grail AR wearable would be ultra-lightweight, not dissimilar from some of those consumer-oriented models shown at CES. In the near-term, this means offloading processing power to a companion device like a smartphone. This is where major computation could happen: visual data processed, graphics drawn, and blazing-fast, two-way network connectivity. All of this requires problem-solving around battery draw, heat, and critically, no-lag data transfer to the display.
Let’s go outdoors. Augmented reality wearable devices like the HoloLens rely on infrared lasers to scan and map the real world around you. There are limitations outdoors, because the sunlight can affect what lasers can map. Overcoming this limitation will unlock vast potential for AR enterprise applications, but a lot of innovation will be required to solve this hurdle.