In a world that is becoming more and more digital, the terms Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are crucial. They are a crucial component of the manufacturing of the future, and by giving workers an immersive experience at work, manufacturers may increase their productivity.
Augmented Reality also gives manufacturers a chance to incorporate holographic technology into their product development process. This will allow them to test products without having to invest money in creating an entire facility for this purpose. An improved virtual experience as an extension of physical presence in manufacturing environments has a variety of intriguing use cases. However, as well as implementing the digital imagery and developing AR and VR applications specific to manufacturing needs, it is also necessary to ensure the highest quality, secure and resilient connectivity to make this a success.
Application of AR and VR
AR and VR technology have been around for decades. However, with the introduction of smartphones and tablets and their ability to show high-definition visuals on their screens, their use has increased dramatically in recent years. Manufacturing (i.e., quality assurance, customisation), healthcare (i.e., medical imaging), education and training (i.e., virtual classrooms), construction (i.e., CAD/CAM modelling), hospitality services (i.e., hotel room decorating), transportation services (i.e., car design), and media production are just a few of the industries that are using AR/VR technologies. The world of technology has been evolving quickly, and the sector is growing more and more complex on a daily basis. Many of these new technologies are finding their way into production, where they may have an impact on how goods are created, promoted, and sold.
Industrial use cases that use augmented reality to improve the information supplied in photos of manufacturing facilities and products include quality assurance programmes. For instance, in the beginning of 2020, Lufthansa enabled the transition to remote table inspections for their Engine Services business unit. To make this a success, it was necessary to ensure the highest possible quality of images and videos, to allow for precise diagnostics. The solution was a 5G campus network: with the greater bandwidth and low latency of 5G, high-resolution photos and videos could be made available to customers. Due to this, it is now possible to guarantee the safety of aircraft parts even when no one has physical access to them.
Creating digital twins
However, there are other options besides using images and videos of actual parts and manufacturing facilities. The creation of digital twins of actual objects is an additional choice. A digital twin is a virtual representation of a system, product, or process that is used for testing, developing, and simulation. By 2030, it is expected that the use of digital twins will have multiplied ten-fold, with the manufacturing, automotive, and aviation sectors leading the way. Over 90% of all Internet of Things (IoT) platforms are expected to be able to do some kind of digital twinning by 2027. For instance, data-driven twins of machinery can be used to do predictive maintenance, allowing the replacement of parts before issues become evident. These twins are based on current data from real-world machinery. Equally, systems involved in supply chains can be modelled to identify bottlenecks and optimise inventories. These digital twins depend on data generated by sensors on real-world machines, which must then be fed into the simulation.
The usage of digital twins by Lufthansa for their augmented reality project, which displays movable design components like furniture against a real-time video image of the interior of the cabin for personalised, opulent VIP interiors, is once again amazing. This is also beginning to take off in the automotive industry for e.g. enabling far greater individualisation in the design of electric vehicles (EVs) – here, varying body shapes and interiors can be added to the standard chassis. This customisation is being powered by fully immersive VR, allowing the end-customer to experience and alter the design, with the feeling that they are sitting in there as yet unbuilt new car. Customised body parts can then be produced through – although still in its early days – Additive Manufacturing or 3D Printing.
Ensuring the right connectivity
To enable end-user capabilities for VR-based customisation, an immersive simulation of the product concerned needs to be made available publicly. This necessitates exceptionally high bandwidth and low latency connectivity between the end-user access networks and the manufacturer’s data centre (or the cloud from which the simulation is sourced). While FTTH/B and 5G networks are capable of delivering high bandwidth and low latency on the factory floor, it is crucial to make sure that this level of connection can be offered end-to-end, from the manufacturer to their clouds and apps, and then on to the end-customer networks.
By directly integrating with other networks at an Internet Exchange, you can ensure the highest level of connection and resiliency. This enables the manufacturing company to control data flow to business partners and suppliers, to clouds and applications, and to customer networks, bypassing the public internet. As a result, the data channels are shorter and more direct, resulting in lower latency, improved application performance, and high-end digital content, like VR simulations, with the added benefit of greater data flow security. To make sure your business stays competitive in the new digital world, you need to put in place a plan that includes the following:
Implementing AR technology: This will allow you to test products in real-time and see if they are functioning properly before releasing them into production. Additionally, it will enable you to train staff members on how to utilise the product so that they won’t require additional training after it is put into production.
Implementing VR technology: This will allow you to have an immersive experience when interacting with your customers or clients so that they feel as though they are part of what is going on around them rather than just watching from afar like they would if they were using traditional media such as television or internet videos today.
Augmented Reality is one of the most common ways that technology is being incorporated into manufacturing. It’s already present in almost all physical processes that involve product design or production. Augmented Reality refers to the use of computer-generated images to enhance or enhance an existing environment through technology like cameras and screens.
VR is another way that technology is being integrated into manufacturing processes. Similar to a video game where you may move around in a simulated environment instead of just sitting at home playing video games on your computer screen, virtual reality employs computer software to create an immersive virtual world for users to interact with in real-time.
Increasing operational efficiency
In recent years, AR and VR have become popular tools for businesses. While virtual reality uses computer technology to create an immersive environment that can be experienced through special goggles or glasses, augmented reality uses computer visuals to overlay information on the real world. Businesses have embraced technology to lower costs, boost efficiency, and enhance customer service. For instance, a business might give clients more individualised service by utilising AR or VR technologies to give them the impression that they are speaking to real people rather than computerised systems. The same is true of manufacturing facilities.
AR and VR, and all associated visual digital content present enormous possibilities for manufacturing companies as they digitalise to keep pace with the modern world. But before any of these can be used to their fullest extent, a business must first do its homework, developing and building digital infrastructure to guarantee the highest level of connectivity, dependability, and security, safeguarding its vital data flows. An important element in this infrastructure is an Internet Exchange – allowing companies to directly interconnect with their valuable business partners and customers in a high-performance and secure manner.