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AR: How field-based operations are reaping the benefits

Rob Stirling, Mobility Specialist at O2, considers innovative commercial uses of Augmented Reality (AR)

As a mobility specialist at O2, I support organisations with their digital transformation – helping them to implement automated and managed workflows to improve the experience they offer to their customers. My career at O2 has included working with construction, manufacturing, logistics and media businesses, as well as with several multinational corporates.

AR and gaming: Where it all began?

When I first considered ways in which AR might influence business applications, like many, I sought inspiration from the world of gaming and entertainment. There, more than anywhere else, we’ve seen how AR has transformed a marketplace, introducing entirely new and disruptive experiences such as Pokémon Go and Fortnite.

Now I’m seeing AR moving beyond the entertainment and gaming sectors into innovative, real-time business applications. But its use cases have been in areas that I hadn’t imagined, such as logistics, retail point of sale (POS), facilities management, and warehousing and fulfilment.

AR delivering real-time insights

Take O2’s work with Scandit, for example. We supply the mobile network and mobility solutions that enable Scandit to develop applications for high-quality barcode scanning, as well as text and object recognition. What makes their applications different, however, is that through an AR layer built into their scanning engine, they can also deliver real-time insights that empower employees and customers with actionable information to help them make instant and better decisions.

For Alaska Airlines, Scandit’s AR technology helps baggage handlers by displaying real-time luggage information with just a smartphone and the Scandit app. They can locate missing luggage, or luggage belonging to a no-show passenger quickly and easily, and overall they estimate that Alaska Airlines can reduce the time it takes to track baggage by up to 40%.

Their AR-embedded app helps passengers too, turning simple smart devices into powerful mobile boarding pass scanners. It adds essential passenger, flight and destination information to the image of the boarding pass on a passenger’s smartphone screen.

For Hermes, the delivery specialists, Scandit’s solution has not only helped to replace the company’s cumbersome and outdated barcode scanners with ordinary smartphones, but their AR technology has also enabled a series of welcome business efficiencies. For example, delivery drivers can view real-time information, such as parcel information or driver instructions, overlaid on their device screen, streamlining the last mile delivery process.

Would AR make you more effective?

Do you employ field-based agents, reliant on inputs and data from mobile scanners or readers? If you do, then now is the time to consider ways in which AR might enhance and support your current field processes, improve the productivity of your users, and transform the experience of your customers.

I have seen for myself how blending the physical and digital worlds brings real operational benefits as well as superior user experiences, both from my work with Scandit and others.

If you would like to talk about your own organisation’s digital transformation, or need help to identify the right mobility solution for you, then please get in touch. You can connect with me via LinkedIn.

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