The trick with AR in industry is to keep lights on and services flowing even during periods of absence, as enforced in extremis by the coronavirus pandemic. The kinds of remote assistance tools being offered by companies like Microsoft and PTC, and some of the others interviewed in this paper, bring knowledge and expertise to the coalface of industry.
They have seen a surge among industrialists during lock-down, as home-working has been enforced. Demand for AR headsets has been turned up, even as supply chains have been turned down. Industrial AR makes experts of novices, capable of intricate tasks and abstract thinking that robots cannot be trusted with. It offers a counterpoint to the industrial narrative about automation and analytics.
This paper considers the growing power of AR as a work tool in the industrial space, including types of industrial AR, applications of industrial AR, worked ROI calculations for industrial AR, and the challenges that remain for it, particularly around the usability and functionality of AR hardware and difficulty of AR content creation.