Virtual and augmented reality technologies come of age, and manufacturers are uncovering innovative ways to adopt these technologies in ways that are furthering the push for a “digitally connected” factory floor on a number of fronts. For some manufacturers, the factory of the future is already upon us, as they apply the technology in ways as diversely across operations—from product development, to maintenance and repair, to worker training and safety. A PwC survey found, about one in three virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are already being adopted—or will be in the next three years.
VR/AR are ushering in a new age of efficiencies, connectivity and mobility which, for manufacturers who adopt the technologies well, offer new opportunities to compete among their peers in the US but also globally.
VR/AR on path of mainstreamed adoption
More than one-third of US manufacturers we surveyed either already use VR technology or plan to do so in the next three years, with adoption plans for AR technology roughly the same.
New visions for competitiveness
Looking ahead, nearly three of four respondents believe that VR will be at least moderately important to US manufacturing competitiveness.
Product design most common application for VR/AR
The most popular application of AR and AR was product design and development, followed by safety and manufacturing skills training, maintenance, repair or equipment operations and remote collaboration.
The VR/AR fence-sitters
About one-third of respondents not adopting say they are sitting on the fence because they have “yet to identify a practical application”.
Nearly 90% of US manufacturers believe that no more than half of all manufacturers in the US will be using AR/VR technology over the next decade--and over one-third believe less than 10% will.