Book Image

Enterprise Augmented Reality Projects

By : Jorge R. López Benito, Enara Artetxe González
Book Image

Enterprise Augmented Reality Projects

By: Jorge R. López Benito, Enara Artetxe González

Overview of this book

Augmented reality (AR) is expanding its scope from just being used in mobile and game applications to enterprise. Different industries are using AR to enhance assembly line visualization, guide operators performing difficult tasks, attract more customers, and even improve training techniques. In this book, you'll gain comprehensive insights into different aspects of developing AR-based apps for six different enterprise sectors, focusing on market needs and choosing the most suitable tool in each case. You'll delve into the basics of Unity and get familiar with Unity assets, materials, and resources, which will help you build a strong foundation for working on the different AR projects covered in the book. You'll build real-world projects for various industries such as marketing, retail, and automation in a step-by-step manner. This will give you hands-on experience in developing your own industrial AR apps. While building the projects, you'll explore various AR frameworks used in the enterprise environment such as Vuforia, EasyAR, ARCore, and ARKit, and understand how they can be used by themselves or integrated into the Unity 3D engine to create AR markers, 3D models, and components of an AR app. By the end of this book, you'll be well versed in using different commercial AR frameworks as well as Unity for building robust AR projects.
Table of Contents (10 chapters)

Using AR in enterprise

AR can be a valuable asset and technology in multiple fields. In this section, we will learn how it is being used in sectors such as industry, marketing, retail, and tourism. In the first case, we will learn how industry 4.0 has put AR in the spotlight, since it's the natural interface for the human-machine interaction in areas such as production, maintenance, training, and more.

This section's main objective is to give you a better insight into how to apply AR in your own projects before you start to code. This way, you will be able to adapt the examples in this book to your own needs. 

Let's start introducing the uses of AR in the industry field.

Using AR in industry 4.0

The use of this technology in the industrial sector is growing. Its application focuses, among other aspects, on being able to prepare for the breakdown of a machine and thus know what part has been damaged and how to proceed to repair it. This use of AR represents a significant cost saving as it favors rapid action before the breakdown in question. You can also use the AR to visualize a plant or product before carrying it out. This means that you can perfect what to build before turning it into something physical. The use of AR in industry favors the application of one of the enabling technologies of industry 4.0 that help us increase the competitiveness and productivity of a company.

Some examples are as follows:

  • Smart assistance
  • Virtual prototyping
  • Logistics and warehouse management
  • Digital Twins

Let's look at these examples in more detail.

Smart assistance

The use of AR with maintenance process management platforms provides direct support to operators during the operation of industrial machines, thus shortening the time and increasing accuracy in the performance of the task or repair. Some tasks you can have under this case are as follows:

  • Follow guided instructions and workflows
  • Assign activities in real-time
  • Access checklists and list of assigned tasks
  • Create a digital report of the interventions
  • Automatically detect 3D objects
  • View 3D manuals and work orders in real-time
  • Have an expert remote collaborator through video calls
  • Extract and display real-time data from machines

In this case, the use of AR technology improves business productivity by reducing costs and the possibility of errors.

Virtual prototyping

AR can be applied to visualize and configure 3D industrial plants and machinery in real-time. 3D models can be shown in the industrial environment where the validation is carried out, but also in exhibition spaces such as fairs and events. Through AR, you can visualize the hologram of the industrial machinery in the place where it will be installed to evaluate its dimensions, escape spaces, and safety margins. By doing this, you optimize the production processes. In addition, the packaging, shipping, or transport of heavy industrial machinery from one part of the world to another for presentation at fairs has a very high cost. With AR, you can see your product as if it were real in the center of your stand.

Logistics and warehouse management

Through 3D viewers or glasses connected to a warehouse management system, a warehouse operator receives information for the storage of merchandise directly on the device, which allows them to improve the times and quality of their work and, ultimately, the production yield.

Digital Twins

Thanks to AR technologies, you can create a virtual and dynamic replica of a real system, product, or service that, through the information that's obtained from sensors or automatisms, models its behavior. In this way, it allows intelligent monitoring and analysis, as well as the realization of simulations and experiments in the replica, without risks or costs, with the aim of improving the performance and effectiveness of the real system.

In this book, we are going to learn how to use AR for manufacturing by creating a prototype automation with an AR guide and training.

Using AR in other enterprise areas

The industry is not the only field where AR can be of value. The versatility of this technology makes it the perfect communication item between the users and the final product or process and adds a visual and interactive layer to engage them. Whether it's used to make a product more attractive or help users understand a process with added information, AR can be a great asset in many fields. Let's look at some other enterprise areas that we will later cover in this book where AR adds value. 

AR for manufacturing

AR has many uses in this area, such as prototyping, production, and training. In these areas, AR can help speed up and reduce costs in prototyping by visualizing the designs over the real world and allowing designers, workers, and potential customers to walk around and through the model and manipulate its three dimensions.

AR for training

AR has become a valuable asset in education and training. It allows us to visualize concepts in three dimensions over an image or directly in the room so that we can access the information in a quicker and more dynamic way (just pointing with the camera instead of looking through a book or searching the internet for the information) or to create deeper personal projects (giving life to a painting, adding instructions or extra information over a handcrafted project, creating an animated presentation, and so on).

AR for marketing

Using AR, the user is in charge of their experience and can interact with it. Now, brands go beyond the wow effect and create functional experiences to promote and sell their products. Examples of this include augmented catalogs, which show the products in 3D over their flat images; virtual mirrors, where you can buy the glasses or complements you are trying on AR; packages that come to life to explain the elements inside the fabrication process; and so on.

AR for retail

Retail is one of the fields where AR offers a wider range of possibilities, from satisfying and engaging the consumer in order to reduce returned products, to linking products with social media or personalizing the shopping experience. Some examples of this include trying products before buying them so that users can visualize clothes, shoes, glasses, or even makeup over themselves before actually buying the products. By doing this, they can see how a product such as a piece of furniture, art, or even wall paint looks on their homes with AR.

Other examples include seeing extra information about a product, such as comments and reviews, before buying a product, receiving geopositioned information and discounts from the stores on it, and in supermarkets or big stores, orienting customers through sections to the product they want.

AR for automation

AR is the natural interface and connection to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data. It allows workers to visualize and interact with the data coming from the machines and sensors of a factory in an easy and attractive way, either using mobile devices or AR headsets.

AR use in automation can go from the facial recognition of an employee to getting access to a concrete machine, to real-time on-site surveillance of the production process or remote access and control to the system through AR glasses.

AR for tourism

The thing that's attractive about AR is the visual content it displays over the real world. That makes this technology perfect for enhancing traveling experiences, from showing skyline information to making animals in a museum come to life or even translating signs and guides in real-time. Some of the most common uses of AR in tourism include serving as a live guide in the streets of a new city, where a user can go around the city while the AR app is showing them where the most interesting points to see are; showing attractions and points of interest (POIs) over a map when a user points at a map with the camera; giving all kinds of extra information on paintings, sculptures, or monuments so that when a user points at a painting it can show a video about the author, the place and time where it was painted, or even make it come to life in a 3D simulation. Apart from all these experiences, when AR is combined with other immersive technologies, such as virtual worlds or 360º videos, the experience goes one step ahead, allowing users to visit several places at the same time (for example, in a museum network, while visiting one of them, to be able to virtually visit the others).

In this section, we have looked at several examples of how we can use AR for very different fields, from visualizing a prototype before building it, to attracting customers or adding value to art pieces. Now, you have a better understanding of the possibilities AR offers in the world of enterprises and how to apply it according to the needs of each sector.