How Mixed Reality (MR) is used in Industry 4.0?

Mixed Reality is one of the fastest growing technologies that is being widely embraced by many manufacturers in the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this process as technology has played a key role in sustaining all operations associated with a running plant or factory.

It is no longer a technology that is used to enhance a company’s overall competitiveness in the market, but an essential one for sustainable success. MR is viewed as an enhanced version of AR that provides an immersive experience for its users. MR applications integrate the physical experience of a user with digital assets and deliver a unified experience that fulfils the organization’s desired goals. MR finds applications in all areas starting from design, operations, maintenance, customer service and marketing. The development in computing technologies and support from industry majors has accelerated the usage and popularity of Mixed Reality.

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The collaboration, review and finalization of designs has been speeded up by MR as it brings together several users, specialists and engineers on a common application. Ideas and feedback are easily conveyed, understood, debated and finalized more quickly than any conventional approach. The biggest benefit has been savings in cost, time and effort. The uniqueness of MR is its ability to map the user’s environment accurately, recognizing the various elements and making it interactive with simulations. The value generated is data, insight, experimentation with zero consequence that helps with the design and other processes. There are many MR applications that can be tailored to the specific use case in every industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made industries turn towards increased digitalization. While the profusion of Zoom meetings seems to be the obvious and visible effect of the pandemic, there are far more potent application that have been established. One of the most important ones is providing remote support from specialists and experts with the aid of mixed reality headsets. Newer and more advanced headsets are available now for enhanced use of MR applications. In the event of a plant shutdown due to machinery breakdown, expertise is needed to find the root cause and implement the fix. With many crores in lost profit, companies wish to accelerate this process and restore operations. Guidance and instructions are digitally delivered in real time to the worksite from the expert to the work crew at site. MR enables overlay of the live data, design information, specification etc. that help with faster decisions and better outcomes.

The future of MR is exciting. To map use cases and help companies with their digitalization objectives, the help of experienced mixed reality companies is indispensable. CEOS, CTOs and CFOs need to have the vision, capabilities and budget to make this possible. This applies to all industries under the sun, particularly those that are capital and labour intensive. There are quite a few mixed reality solution providers in India who have the expertise in technology and domain knowledge to customize solutions. It is important for companies to get onboard with the deployment of mixed reality and become a key player in their respective sectors.

Authored by: Dr. CSS Bharathy

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