When it comes to Industry 4.0 and smart factories, we are talking about the new opportunities offered by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). According to the US market researcher Gartner, AR is one of 3 megatrends (see article in German) besides AI and digital platforms. Mixed reality applications in the production are based on process data and operating data of plants. These data are being collected and evaluated in the IoT platform, which is ensured by the IoT key technologies edge and cloud computing.
All the plant components are connected in the cloud and, thus, can be monitored in a centralized way. Functions range from device management (“Which devices are online?”), asset dashboard (“What is the current value of my data points? Which trends are emerging?”), condition monitoring (“Which is the status of my system?”), KPI builder (“Which KPIs can I derive from my time series data?”) to remote service with AR (“How can I resolve faults quickly, efficiently and remotely by using augmented reality?”).
Device Insight presented AR in Hanover as a practical application for smart services. This application provides additional information to images and videos made by service technicians with their smart glasses or tablets standing in a production hall. By this means, an expert can support maintenance works remotely via live stream and video telephony.
“The expert is able to see the machine or plant as if he was there. He can guide and navigate the technician whose hands are free while using smart glasses”, this is how Paul Martin Halm, Head of Product Management, explains the advantage of Device Insight’s solution. If required, the expert can watch the records on a machine’s critical transmission, pause it, take screenshots and recommend suitable actions. Malfunctions are quickly eliminated and time-consuming on-site inspections are reduced.
The feature proves to be unique combining AR and IoT data, which are displayed via a head-up view in the technician’s vision field. Thus, the service employee has a permanent virtual dashboard on his smart glasses or a tablet.
From an IoT perspective, applications that combine plant data from an IoT platform with local sound and image files are particularly important. They optimize maintenance processes, allow a higher availability and productivity of machines and bring genuine added value to a smart production.