Augmented Reality or AR is gaining immense popularity with each passing day, and rightly so. An increasing number of organizations across industries are tapping it to achieve their goals and stay ahead of the curve. Given its limitless possibilities, it is finding utility in numerous growth-oriented activities such as recreation and skill enhancement.
And that is why it becomes important for those who want to lead the market to know about the benefits AR brings. Hence, in this blog, we will explore AR technology, its application in training employees of different sectors, and finally the benefits of AR training.
Introduction of Augmented Reality (AR)
AR is the technology that adds more elements to your reality and enriches its interactivity. It enhances the perception of real-world objects through computer-generated information.
There are three defining features of AR:
- Convergence of the real and digital world
- Real-time interaction
- 3D registration of real and virtual objects accurately
To understand it better, we can take the example of Snapchat filters, one of the most common examples of AR. Here, the user is in a real-life situation but they can add virtual elements like sunglasses, hats, masks etc to their image during video recording. These elements are not there in the real world and can only be seen through AR devices such as smartphones. Thus, it is the convergence of the real and digital world.
Moving on to the second defining feature, it implies that the user can interact with the digital world in real-time. For example in one of the Snapchat filters named the puppy face as soon as the user opens its mouth a virtual tongue comes out and does a licking maneuver.
Lastly, the third feature of 3D registration signifies that AR technology should deal with the real world and virtual world objects in three-dimensional coordinates in an accurate manner.
These three features provide AR unmatchable utility in different industrial sectors from entertainment to infrastructure. And one of the incredible usages of AR is in offering corporate training.
What is Augmented Reality (AR) Training? How can it be used?
We all are aware of the importance of human resource development. It is one of the important pillars for ensuring organizational success and is equated to a high return on investment that results in a reliable and skilful workforce. Therefore, AR can be a great tool for offering highly effective training that renders employees well-equipped and well-positioned to face challenges.
Augmented Reality training helps the employees achieve clarity on complex concepts, give them a visual representation of high-end machine functioning, train them by creating life-like scenarios and much more. Let’s discuss some of these uses in detail.
- Better onboarding experience
AR can improve the learning experience manifold of new joiners. They can wear their AR glasses and take a tour of the premises to get all the required information. They can choose the object they want to learn about and get all the information about it through their AR devices like glasses, headsets etc. This will not only improve the learning experience and result in better learning outcomes but also save a lot of training costs.
- Reduce the risk in heavy machinery and equipment training
Imagine your organization has to train employees on a very high-end, sophisticated and heavy machine wherein a simple mistake in operation can incur huge costs. Here, utilizing AR for training the employees is the best option. It is safe, useful and cost-effective.
AR will help the employees understand the functioning of each and every part of the machinery with the need to open it up. The AR devices would scan the machine and open it up in the virtual world and the employees can understand it in much more clarity.
Moreover, you can use Virtual Reality to simulate the environment and give the employees a life-like experience of operating the machine. A topic for some other day.
- Improve quality assessment training
Another important utility of AR is for training the employees in quality assessments. AR can help the employees better understand the products and their utility and thereby better evaluate their functioning’s.
AR can help employees chart out the aspects that they need to evaluate in a product and make a well-informed decision on its basis. Moreover, looking at the whole picture by combining the effects of AR on the overall performance, AR significantly reduces the chances of error on the part of employees.
- Conduct and provide sound employee safety training
Lastly, AR can keep the untrained employee safe and protected by providing a virtual training environment that is safer than the real environment. This will contribute to the safety of the employees which is the top-most priority of the organization.
Moreover, when combined with other futuristic technologies like Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence, AR would be able to detect any potential occupational hazards present in any office setting. One such example is that of ‘Formaspace’, an organization that employed AR to detect any potential occupational hazard in a work environment.
These are methods through which AR can contribute to the training of employees. There are many industries that have been capitalizing on the new-wave advantages the AR brings to the table. In the next section, we will discuss these industries.
Where is AR training used?
Various industries across the spectrum are utilizing AR to upscale their productivity and enhance the profit margin. These industries vary from highly challenging Space Science to as simple as Retail stores. Following are discussions on such industries one by one.
One of the most fascinating and crucial roles of AR has been found in Space explorations. AR is being used to train ESA astronauts for International Space Station (ISS). With its help, They learn to work on differing space station systems, operate robotic arms as well as train for the launch while the simulator creates similar shaking and noise to the actual launch.
One of the notable examples is that of applications like Magic Leap and HTC Vive that were being used to train astronauts for Space.
AR Training in Manufacturing goes a long way towards, saving cost, increasing efficiency and, thereby, widening the profit margin.
AR enhances the interactive aspect of the training, thus, the trainees can go through a step-by-step process to learn new skills and match the appropriate standards required Moreover, it also reduces the cost of inspection as the AR technology is providing feedback throughout the approach for course correction and performance enhancement.
With AR, theoretical and practical aspects of the training can be merged. Employees can start working on life-like situations from day one.
Moreover, utilizing AR training makes the training processes more independent in the sense that it allows the trainees to train as per their preference. In this way they can focus more on the aspect they find difficult to understand.
One of the biggest barriers in training medical students is the provision of hands-on experiences to the students. In the current scenario, it can involve life-threatening risks to the patient.
Therefore, in such a scenario, AR can be a tool of great help. Anatomy app can help the student understand the human body and work on it in real-life situations and practice surgeries.
AR is offering a variety of usages when it comes to automobile industries. It is being utilized to train the employees on different engines and their dynamics as well as improve their driving experience.
With the feature of superimposing on the real object, AR helps the employees to get a better grip on the operation and function of the engines. Moreover, it can also help the engine designers to better understand the application of different laws of physics such as aerodynamics, thermodynamics, acceleration to improve the performance of the vehicle.
AR is helping the retail in training employees for sales scenarios as well as training for a specific. AR can help in various practices such as sales training, learning the safety procedures, understanding the transactions and customer interaction.
What are the different types of AR Training Apps?
There are four options that one can choose from depending upon the end goal, the type of training required and other important factors depending upon the organization:
This method can be used to enhance the interactivity of the existing training material. This enriches the understanding of the reader in a better way by presenting the concept in an organized and comprehensible manner. These types of AR are more suitable for concepts that are descriptive or informative.
This type of application comes in handy when the organization requires to teach a new skill to the employee. In this app, the user has to undergo training in an AR scenario and complete the specified task to learn the related skill. These tasks vary in their difficulty level to offer a comprehensive and productive learning experience.
Virtual Assistant or Personal Trainer
The next application of AR training is for teaching any particular task to employees. In this mode of training, a virtual assistant is provided to the trainee. The assistant or trainer guides the trainee with the help of visual models and spoken/text dialogues.
Further, depending upon the outcomes, the virtual assistant helps the trainee to navigate through the training process and keep them aligned to the training goals by providing all the required information.
These training applications are used for training that includes long hours of studies. Under this application, the user is allowed to explore different concepts in the order they prefer.
This application is for organizations that need a customized AR solution for their employee training programs. Under this application, the AR is designed keeping in mind the requirements of the employer and the goal of training. It can be a mix of any two or all of the above-mentioned applications. This is the method that requires high expertise to get the desired results.
What benefits does AR Training bring for Employers & Employees?
AR training brings a lot of advantages to the business. These benefits help businesses to utilize their resources better and gain an edge over their competitors. That is why an increasing number of organizations are investing in this mode of training. Additionally, the AR training benefits are not just restricted to the employer but also offer a fair share of utility to employees as well.
So, what are these benefits? Let’s discuss them one by one starting with the employees
Benefits of using AR for Employee Training
- Easier and better understanding: As the AR training involves multiple modes of learning and has the scope of personalized learning, the trainee can understand the concept with more clarity.
- Free of location and time barrier: AR training allows the trainees to learn at the time and place of their own choice. The employees can learn in a manner they want to learn. This goes a long way towards enhancing the learning outcomes.
- Safety assured: This is one of the most important benefits. AR training provides a completely safe environment for employees to undergo training. This is extremely useful for the industries that work under challenging situations like medical emergencies, construction, etc.
- Better performance: This is the obvious pay-off that AR training has to offer. It helps the employee in performing better and be good at their job. Thus, bringing the mental satisfaction of being good at one’s job.
Benefits to Businesses by using Augmented Reality for Trainings
- Better business performance: Since AR training directly leads to excellent performance on the employees part, this transpires intro improved overall performance and phenomenal business growth.
- Cost Saving: AR training leads to a lot of cost-saving as it can completely replace manual training by automating the process. Moreover, once a training program is created, it can be used as many times as possible.
- No special equipment required: The best part of AR training is that the developments in this field allow the usage of smartphones to access the AR training. This further reduces the cost and make it more relevant to the organizational goals.
- Scope for other positions: The technological advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are expanding the scope of AR training to unimaginable levels. It can be used to train on even complex situations that decision-makers at the top face.
- Easy & Fast Updation: AR training can be easily updated to accommodate the need of the user and serve the purpose effectively.
However, AR does come with its fair share of challenges. Although with appropriate preventive measures they can be overcome. Let’s see what these challenges are
Challenges faced while using AR for Trainings
- Over-involvement: Given the immersive nature of the AR training that allows trainees to learn well, may also lead to over-involvement and losing awareness of the surroundings leading to unwanted incidents. Hence the user must be cautioned of these probabilities and be aware while using the app.
- High-specialization: The development of AR training applications require a relatively large team of specialists compared to what is required for developing other apps. Here hiring a third party would be a better option. This will help you avail expertise at a reasonable expenditure.
- Accuracy in the tracking system: Accuracy in the tracking system of the training app is one of the crucial challenges to overcome. It allows the app to capture reality with precision and augment it with digital elements. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done as tracking is not easy to execute due to the inherent complexities of the world that it has to track.
- Small-screens for larger objects: The easiest way to access AR training is through smartphones. However, given the large object, it has to cover when it comes to AR training for employees might be a challenge for the organization. This can be done away with through other devices like AR glasses or AR headsets. We will discuss this challenge and the related remedy in detail in the next section.
Technical Requirements for Optimizing AR Training System
Having a sound functioning AR training system largely depends upon meeting the right technical requirements. What are these technical requirements and how you can fulfill them in the most optimum way, this is what we would discuss here.
There are majorly three aspects where you have to choose to optimize your AR training system:
- Tracking System
- Targeted devices
Tracking implies the method through which the AR app captures and interprets reality to augment it with digital elements. There are majorly two types of tracking systems:
- Marker-based Tracking
- Marker-less Tracking
Marker-based tracking is when the App scans the surrounding for the presence of a specific object. This is the object for which the app has been developed to train the employees. For example, if an employee is to be trained to operate a crane, then the control panel can be used as the marker. The employees can scan the control panel and operate a virtual crane to practice. Hence, this type of tracking system depends upon a specific object and the purpose is also very specific.
While Marker-less tracking is when the training is not dependent on a real-world object. Here, the AR devices just capture the surrounding for the matrics like surface, distance with other objects, etc. and augment it accordingly. This tracking system is more suitable for more elaborate training programs as it can provide the required conditions virtually rather than depending upon the availability of an object.
Developing of AR training system depends upon two types of software:
- Software used to create special effects like 3D objects, animation, User interface etc
- Software that accommodates the logic and other core app functions
Frankly speaking, this is where you should take the help of an expert. The reason is, there is a variety of software available in the market. And hence, choosing the right one can be tricky. For example, you can choose from 3DS Max, Blender, ZBrush, or Maya as your designing software depending upon your choice, But again, taking experts advice is highly recommended for a perfect choice.
The same goes for the logical part of the application. There are two main software competing for your attention – Unity and Unreal. As per your requirements and goals you can choose any of the two. The topic is quite vast and we will try to shed light on it in the upcoming blogs.
This is a crucial point to discuss. Because there are majorly two choices when it comes to the targeted AR devices – AR glasses and Smartphones.
Smartphones are the most commonly available devices, easily available and cost-effective. The advancements in smartphones allow us to access AR functions using additional accessories. However, given the limited dimensions of mobile-screen, it limits the user’s ability to access the functionality of the applications. So, keeping this in mind smartphones can be a great tool to use when you have a limited budget.
Next in the line is AR glasses, these overcome the limitations of smartphones. They are the perfect devices for AR applications as they are perfectly streamlined for this function. However, they too have some limitations.
First and foremost, the cost of buying AR glasses is too high, making the drawback of a smartphone fade away. Secondly, the apps for AR glasses are quite rare in the market. Thus, as for the current scenario, the smartphone seems to be a better option of the two.
How does Queppelin develop AR Training Solutions?
With over a decade of experience in the field of augmented reality and virtual reality, Queppelin offers the best solution to your Augmented Reality needs. We employ AR experts that work hard to get you the cutting-edge solution to your training programs.
Moreover, we offer both the option of Native and WebAR to choose from. Native AR involves developing an application specific to your training program and the user has to download this app before they can access the AR training program. While Web-based AR training programs can be accessed through internet explorer without downloading any specific app. The user has to just scan a QR code in the link and he is in the AR training program.