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Questions from Applied Materials Webinar

April 7, 2021

Thank you for attending our recent webinar on “Immersive Technologies in Production Environments.” Here are the iQ3Connect team’s responses to questions from attendees.

Q. What is the importance of OpenXR / WebXR in the XR space?

A. OpenXR is a standard API agreed upon and supported by major platform vendors like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and most recently by Apple. It plays the same role OpenGL played for graphics cards. OpenGL provides an abstract layer between the graphics hardware and software programs that run on the hardware. Software developers don’t have to worry about a specific graphics hardware when writing their 3D graphics programs. Similarly OpenXR abstraction enables XR software to be developed independently from XR devices today and in the future. It makes the XR software device agnostic and future proof. Browsers that support OpenXR enable XR hardware to work without any additional software plugins or extensions.

Q. How are you dealing with the security of content in XR collaboration?

A. See our blog on “How Does iQ3Connect Ensure Secure Collaboration?”

Q. What are the most successful use cases, training, or remote collaboration reviews

A. The ability to collaborate remotely is a fundamental benefit for most XR use cases. Reduced barriers to collaboration will increase the success of use cases. Using CAD data for collaborative reviews with external teams such as manufacturing, technical support, and we expect suppliers in future, has seen strong adoption. These include reviewing manufacturing and sharing knowledge of product lines between teams. Such reviews involve non-CAD experts not familiar with CAD applications. Providing a simple interface with the necessary tools with real-time collaboration solves a critical business pain point. Training extends the concepts to a more structured approach for knowledge and instruction on a product. It can also involve other aspects such as safety training. Training in virtual reality also saves time and cost savings. Employees can train on demand from any location without having access to physical hardware.

Q. ROI, justifying reduction of errors attributed to AR/VR deployment

A. ROI attributed to the use of AR/VR in the reduction of errors has been validated in both product development and training. Each specific use is unique but in general for the product development example the ROi is calculated by looking at the cost to solve the issue earlier in the development process, for example 1 problem address in the design phase vs once the product is in manufacturing reduce the cost by a factor of 1000.

For training, studies have proven that retention is significantly improved versus standard training practices. This retention of the content and process leads to fewer errors in manufacturing and service. As mentioned in the webinar do not let the ROI discussion stop you from moving ahead. Do a small pilot where the initial investment is low to prove out your concept and do a rough ROI estimate to then justify a larger commitment. With the right AR/VR partner you will be able to quickly validate your ROI.

Q. What are the top change management issues faced in deploying new innovation in an enterprise?

A. We recommend watching our on demand webinar to learn from our guest speaker: Click Here

Q. Is there a risk that VR/AR tech is a passing fad? Do you see this as a long term strategy and is it growing into your business process?

A. VR and AR have gone through the hype cycle, but today they are gaining real business traction in enterprises. The rapid improvement in XR hardware just over the last few years combined with computing and graphics hardware is adding momentum to the adoption. Advances in the consumer space also provide momentum to enterprise adoption. COVID has accelerated digital transformation and cemented XR as part of this digital roadmap. Any enterprise should view an investment in XR as a long term strategy and have an appropriate roadmap for deployment (see change management above).  

Q. You mentioned that training is an application that you have implemented for both AR & VR, when do you use one versus the other?

A. Both have unique advantages and benefits. Eventually AR and VR will be combined in one hardware device. From a use case perspective, VR does not require the user to be in front of physical hardware. That makes it possible to use on demand from anywhere even before manufacturing the product. VR can be used from home. AR is best used as an overlay over physical hardware for work instructions and animated procedures on top of physical hardware. Therefore AR based training works best in a lab or manufacturing floor environment.

Q. What are the options for standardised HMD within the business? Ironically the 1st gen WMR headsets showed great promise before they dropped off the face of the earth! All the current headsets currently require higher spec machines or are of high cost. Wireless headsets aren’t quite where they need to be yet and for business deployment at scale. There are issues in connecting them to the internal network, and other technical issues for reliable use.

A. Each headset on the market today comes with pros and cons. Oculus and SteamVR are gaming focused VR headset. The installation of runtime packages in these headsets in strictly controlled IT environments is a challenge. HTC does have an enterprise SteamVR installation that is IT friendly but still requires an additional installation. Windows Mixed Reality is probably the most business friendly solution today. The HP Reverb G2 VR headset is compatible with Microsoft Mixed Reality. It’s considered to be most appropriate for enterprise setup. We are also exploring promising Pico headsets and will keep readers posted on our findings. All these HMDs are comparable from a comfort and performance standpoint.

Q. What’s your deployment strategy for VR hardware? Do you have a central armoury for equipment that sends out to users as needed, or do you have equipment strategically located between your different BUs? What is the right balance for maintenance, accountability, and accessibility?

A. We have seen different strategies at our customers. Some companies have dedicated VR labs or rooms with ready to use VR systems. Some companies have retrofitted conference rooms with VR systems for dual purposes. We have also seen individual / personal VR systems that specific power users can carry anywhere. We are seeing newer standard issue laptops with VR ready video cards, and shopping carts for requesting VR headsets. Untethered headsets like Quest make it easy to use VR from anywhere. In the last year with COVID restrictions, we have seen users set up VR systems in their home offices. iQ3 also supports a desktop  VR mode (hybrid) where anyone can fully participate in a VR meeting from their laptop, tablet or PC without immersive VR.

Q. How do the instant iQ3 meetings work? Can you share some examples and how to use them

A. iQ3 Instant meetings are preconfigured iQ3 workspaces where an author can preselect the content, predefined scenes, animations, or training workflows. It can be deployed with a simple web link and embedded almost anywhere. For instance, a website, google docs, and learning/education platforms. This can be used by single user, collaborative, VR enabled, and is configurable with custom menus. Check our instant workspaces at https://iq3connect.com/express_trials/

Q. How does it work to see if tools will fit (in IQ3)? Is everything proportional

A. Reference our blog article on Reducing The Cost And Complexity Of VR Based Ergonomic Studies 

Q. I sometimes have a hard time explaining and understanding MR vs AR. Could you explain these common terms?

A. Our guest speaker has done an excellent job of explaining these terms. Please watch our on demand webinar.

Authored by

Ali Merchant
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