AR in the Utility Industry

AR in the Utility Industry

  The utility industry faces future workforce problems, as baby boomers retire. In addition to this, safety and efficiency are on-going issues. We have seen the rise of Augmented Reality (AR), which allows for the real-world environment to be painted over with digital enhancements. Other variants of this such as mixed reality, artificial intelligence, and assisted reality are set to take off in a big way. However, how do emerging technologies tie into the energy and utility sector? 

According to an article by GloblaData Energy, “AR may benefit investor-owned, municipal and cooperative utilities in improving business processes, speed power restoration and help address the challenge of an aging, retiring utility workforce facilitating the preservation of institutional knowledge.” 

As mentioned with aging workers retiring, the energy sector will need to train and hire thousands of new employees. This poses a challenge because novice employees may not be familiar or experienced enough to work with dangerous equipment or circumstances. AR has the ability to allow new trainees to interact with 3D models of equipment and gain a better understanding of how they function. Thus, enabling more “in-depth training and faster information retention.”

AR can also be developed to fit in with existing data in the field. For example, the article reveals systems being designed that “combine GIS technology with AR to display infrastructure such as pipes, lines, cables and other assets in-field and in real-time.” 

It is clear that AR allows for greater visualization of underground assets and equipment. Not only that, but according to GlobalData Energy,  accidents may be reduced by AR- wearables or devices that “enable a subject matter expert to advise a field technician on what steps to take.” By implementing such technology, safety can be kept at the forefront. 

As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”—AR can expedite years of knowledge by experts in the industry to increase overall efficiency and productivity. The power that emerging technologies are set to have on the utility segment cannot be overlooked. 

We would love to hear from you on how you think AR will impact the energy sector! 


Augmenting the Online Shopping Experience

For the most part, as soon as technology moved from something that you used at work into something that became a part of your everyday life, it became something retailers put on their radar. Personal computers, the internet, mobile phones, social media – most of the 21st century of retail has been defined by consumer adoption of technology. The next technology already hitting retailers’ radar—both brick and mortar and online—is Augmented Reality (AR).

A drawback to online shopping is that many of the sensory elements that customers use to make their purchasing decisions are not there.  When shopping online, a customer cannot touch or feel an item, see how it works or know how it will fit in their home. The loss of this interactivity and presence in the shopping experience leads to uncertain buyers and more abandoned carts. With shopping online in particular there is a lot of consumer guesswork, which can lead to unsatisfied customers and company loss through increased return rates. According to research conducted by the National Retail Federation, merchandise returns in the U.S. represent nearly $16 billion of the retail market.

Enter AR. It is sure to be a true difference maker. Retail has always been about engaging experiences with the right delivery—time and place. The evolution of e-commerce shows past milestones that have addressed these same worries with enough efficiency to make online shopping a consistent revenue channel for brands and stores. Still, as the digital era matures in how personalized it has become, consumers are expecting more of these experiences. To continue this engaging experience in a way that provides value to both sides, AR is helping shoppers visualize products in the environment around them, in real-time.

AR is becoming a viable option to transform the customer experience through AR-commerce—connecting augmented experiences with direct product interactions and seamless purchase opportunities. But some may ask—how fast? According to an Adtaxi survey, about 10% of US internet users have used an AR app or feature that lets them virtually try on apparel or view furniture in their homes. But 45.0% would be interested in trying out the technology. And in the same study 30% said they thought they would never visit a clothing store again if the technology could help them shop clothing fit with confidence. And there are increasing tech development and tools that enable the creation of AR retail content.

As the technology becomes more sophisticated, AR-commerce is set to expand the experiential retail market in impactful ways by:

Creating an Engaging Buying Experience

While shopping online, a customer has to imagine and interpret what an item would feel like in their hands, or look like in their home. AR technology helps overcome this online buyer’s challenge by transforming an imagination into a reality. A customer who can accurately see how any product will actually feel in their environment, at-scale, will be able to purchase with more certainty and satisfaction.

Customizing Selections

Before making a purchasing decision, customers often want to see various color selections and explore other modifications that might be available. AR makes it easy for consumers to explore their options and make personalized modifications while online shopping. With retailers who offer augmented reality, shoppers can change the color of furniture they’re looking to buy to see how it looks in their home first.

Understanding Products and Features

Online shoppers, as well as in-store customers wish that they could interact with a product to get a feel of how it works before buying it. AR allows shoppers to trigger animations to show how complex products like appliances or electronics work and function.

There is tremendous potential for AR in retail and online commerce. AR-commerce provides a new medium and interactive story to inspire purchases and brand loyalty. What will be your AR retail story?

XR in the Marketplace

XR—extended reality—is essentially an umbrella term given to computer-generated environments that either merge the physical and virtual worlds or create an immersive experience for users. It represents the convergence of AR, VR and MR in which the best elements of each aspect are utilized and optimized. While they have their distinct differences, all XR technologies blend the real world with a virtual world to create an immersive experience for the user.

XR has immense potential to transform the way we experience our world today. The XR market includes significant contributions to create transformative products and applications borrowing from the existing worlds of gaming, movies, live events, healthcare and marketing and advertising—all which fall under the immersive industry domain.

Research by Visual Capitalist projects that the XR market will be worth $209 billion by 2022, and 63% of shareholders in XR technology companies believe the technology will be mainstream by 2024.

But how can this technology benefit your business? Here are a few ways . . .

Brings Customer Experience to a New Level

With XR, customers can visualize products and interact with them to get a practical and emotional feel for what it would be like to have them. It engages people on a deeper level—more than a 2D image or even a 3D model can—allowing brands to connect with customers to establish trust and brand loyalty.

Enhances Communications and Collaboration

Imagine development teams being able to collaborate on projects—when they are miles away from each other. Immersive tools that function in real-time, gives teams the ability to work together on complex visual data sets. This level of interconnectivity streamlines communications and improves efficiency to projects.

Drives Productivity

XR technology can pave the path for greater efficiency in companies—leading to increased productivity. As XR can be visual—bringing data and information to a physical space or situation—it makes information easier for users to absorb in real time. It allows immersive, 3D experience that facilitate on-the-spot solutions.

Boosts Training

XR technology is an impactful training tool. With immersive XR experience people can train in dangerous or critical scenarios without risk.  Today, this technology is already in use in many sectors, including the military and critical infrastructure environments.

Advances Data Visualization

Today, we live in a data-driven age. And businesses that embrace data are those that will thrive. But it can be overwhelming and challenging to bring visual context to hard figures through charts and graphs. Imagine being able to use data in real time in a live environment with a visual “walk-through” of that environment by wearing AR glasses. The data you once saw on paper is transformed into the actual environment or situation you are testing or monitoring.

With XR incorporated into your business, you can create a culture of transformation—using immersive technologies in your training, design and development, testing and marketing programs and processes. And you will be able to connect with your customers in new and impactful ways.  I leave you with one last thought. Today, people just do not want or purchase products. They purchase and want experiences.


Brainwaive Spearheads AREA Research Project on Web-based Delivery of Enterprise AR Content

Brainwaive Spearheads AREA Research Project on Web-based Delivery of Enterprise AR Content

Brainwaive, LLC, collaborating with Alfred University, Georgia Tech’s Augmented Environments Lab and the Mozilla Mixed Reality team,  is honored to be awarded the AREA’s sixth member-funded research project focused on the challenges and opportunities ahead for those who use Web-based technologies to create, manage and deliver AR experiences in the workplace. The research will include an in-depth study of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Immersive Web (IW) working group activities, and a comparison of benefits and limitations of using Web-based delivery of enterprise AR content versus the existing native application approach.

In an effort to enable interoperable, browser-based AR experiences, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Immersive Web (IW) working group is developing the WebXR Device API specification. The resulting IW-based solutions promise to deliver inexpensive content development, delivery and maintenance options while supporting OS interoperability, device portability, easy content sharing, improved security and scalability, and seamless integration with existing enterprise Web architectures and databases. As AR technologies mature, developers working for AREA member organizations will generate growing catalogs of AR experiences for use in the workplaces where employees encounter new and/or complex situations involving physical world spaces, machines and materials.

Industry specialists are now seeking scalable ways to author, manage and maintain those AR experiences and to support a wide range of display devices, sources of data and users operating in diverse workplaces. Currently, their options are limited to adopting closed, proprietary system architectures and methods for AR experience authoring, delivery and presentation.  This “walled garden” approach is designed to support “native” mobile applications, which are neither interoperable across devices nor easy to maintain.

An alternative is currently under development in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Immersive Web (IW) working group. All major Web browser vendors are currently collaborating in the W3C ​IW working group to develop the WebXR Device API specification. When ratified and adopted, WebXR Device API and its extensions will enable delivery of AR experiences to any device running a standards-compliant browser. Immersive Web-based solutions will offer inexpensive content development, delivery and maintenance options. IW will enable OS-interoperability, portability between devices, intuitive sharing of content using common hyperlinks, improved security and scalability, and seamless integration with existing enterprise Web architectures and database investments.

This research project will educate and empower AREA members as they begin to explore Web-based AR as a resource in their AR portfolio, and permit members to converse with enterprise stakeholders and Web-based AR solution providers. With this knowledge, AREA members will be able to choose if, when and how to take full advantage of the emerging Immersive Web.

The Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (AREA) is the only global non-profit, member-based organization dedicated to widespread adoption of interoperable AR-enabled enterprise systems. We encourage you to learn more and join.

Brainwaive is a member of the AREA and chairs its Security Committee.




Convergence, How the World Will be Painted with Data

Brainwave CEO Tony Hodgson in Charlie Fink’s Convergence, How the World Will be Painted with Data
Convergence, How the World Will be Painted with Data by AR/VR consultant, speaker and Forbes columnist tells the story of Augmented Reality (AR), a new technology that’s already seeping into every smartphone and every workplace. AR’s merger with new 5G and AI technologies will unleash a wave of innovation that will enable wearable, invisible, latency-free and ubiquitous computing. The book uses a kind of mobile AR called “marker AR” to allow readers to use their smartphone to bring pages to life, demonstrating with art and entertainment how the world, and every person, place, and thing, will be painted with data.
Tony was honored to contribute to the book, authoring the Privacy, Ethics and Unintended Consequences chapter. In the chapter, Tony provides insight and perspective on hardware and software technologies that are enabling nearly super-human perception and communication but also giving rise to serious privacy and ethics concerns and opens doorways to dangerous new security threats. He provides practical guidance for addressing privacy and gives examples of industry leaders are working diligently to help consumers and business users of AR better understand and control data privacy, safety, and security risks.

State of the AR Cloud Symposium

Brainwaive is proud to be a sponsor of the Open AR Cloud Association’s State of the AR Cloud Symposium at the Ericsson Experience Center on Tuesday May 28, 2019.  At this full day event, OARC will present highlights of its inaugural State of the AR Cloud report. During afternoon sessions, leading AR Cloud technology providers will showcase and demonstrate their latest breakthroughs. Attendees will experience hands on demonstrations of revolutionary AR Cloud technology.

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