Augmented Reality: The game changer for smart factories and warehouses

CXO THOUGHTS
Autor-c-E.Prokofieff080317EP283473.JPG Augmented Reality: The game changer for smart factories and warehouses
How Augmented Reality is changing the way we navigate through factories and warehouses. Clemens Kirner, CEO, Insider Navigation.

For a very long time now, Augmented Reality has been something many companies used to play around with, searching for the perfect way to implement it into their daily business. Its opportunities are endless. Augmented Reality makes our lives easier, our work more efficient and many processes run way more smoothly with it. And now, it is also being the game changer for smart factories and warehouses.

Growth of demand and supply

Considering the growth of demand and supply just last year, factories and warehouses must adapt to the changes that come with it and improve their logistics systems. But many companies are struggling to find the right way to do that.

Let’s look at the difficulties, companies are facing every day when it comes to having efficiently working factories and warehouses first: As mentioned above, the growth of demand and supply is growing constantly. Because of this, factories are growing as well. This makes it extremely difficult for employees to perform tasks efficiently, which they had no difficulties performing before. One reason for that is that considering the growth of the factories, they become more complex and it becomes harder to find materials or construction parts. Employees now spend a lot of time searching. Every business leader knows that time is money and by having employees spending a great amount of time searching, they lose a great amount of money. While most companies are not aware of that, it is very important to change that.

Reduce the time spent searching and save money

This is where Augmented Reality can make a huge difference. By making it easier for employees to navigate their way from one point to the other, companies are able to reduce the time spent on searching drastically.

AR-supported Indoor Navigation works with the optical recognition of a building. It measures the physical data of a building, as well as its components and turns it into digital data, which then displays on a mobile device. It works without GPS reception and does not need expensive hardware like beacons, to be implemented. Using an AR-supported Indoor Navigation, you only need to place the device with the camera facing towards an entrance or just in front of you and the technology guides you to where you want to go. This way, physical maps, which employees were used to looking at in order to navigate, are a thing of the past being replaced with a digital map, which holds all the location-information one needs to easily navigate their way through a building.

Know your inventory

Another difficulty for warehouses is incorrect inventory lists. Because, as they are growing bigger, having an exact overview of the inventory is getting more difficult. Our technology measures the current stock of each material or part and updates it constantly in real time. This makes it easy for employees to always know if there is a low stock and if they have to re-order parts or materials.

Knowledge instead of helplessness

Together with employees, machines are the heart of the factories, that keep the production working. But same as we can become ill from time to time, machines can have their own “illnesses” too. Since they are becoming more complex, it’s often very difficult to figure out what made them stop working or why instead of green lights, red ones are blinking. It’s no wonder that many employees wish they could just communicate with the machines instead of spending a lot of time ruling out every possible issue they could have.

This is where Augmented Reality combined with Indoor Navigation comes to its next level: It becomes a communication tool. By placing the mobile device in front of the machine, its current status is being displayed. This enables the machine to communicate with you. Let’s say a filter change needs to be performed: You would immediately see on the display of your mobile device that this is the reason why the machine stopped working. This makes it way easier to keep the production up and running and avoid expensive delays. The technology also allows you to add a link to a video, in which someone is describing a filter change – so if you don’t know how to perform it, you can learn it within just a few minutes.

Augmented Reality is not just something companies play around with anymore – it is shaping the future of how they work.

About the Author

Clemens Kirner founded the Vienna-based company Insider Navigation in 2014. He developed a hardware-free Augmented Reality supported Indoor Navigation solution, which is currently being used in the industry, merchandise management, and logistics as well as on international airports. He is passing on his knowledge about Industry 4.0, smart factories and the application of Augmented Reality at trade shows and events around the world.