Mixed reality is predicted to have a significant impact on businesses in manufacturing. This new technology is blending the world around us with the virtual world by utilizing a headset. The most notable difference right now between the older augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) is that augmented reality is viewed through a flat-screen device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Mixed reality uses headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens and Google Glass to see virtual information and virtual reality.
So how will mixed reality technology impact businesses, especially manufacturing in the future? One expert predicts that we would have business meetings conducted through a virtual reality world using mixed reality. Such a practice could reduce the need for traveling to meet with business partners. If this practice becomes widespread, it could impact the hotel and transportation industry. This idea is still a long shot and may never happen, though.
Another prediction made by an expert is that mixed reality could impact education, especially hands-on education. Mixed reality can provide information on how to assemble and repair a product right in front of our eyes using a headset. Will this mean that we will no longer have to train technicians to fix and assemble things? Once again, employees will still have to be trained to be familiar with parts and terminology. This does not mean that mixed reality cannot enhance education or provide us with new ways of learning.
By far, the most prominent implementation and use of mixed reality have been in the manufacturing sector. Companies such as Renault Trucks and Thyssen Krupp are giving their employees mixed reality headsets. The headsets let employees see in the form of mixed reality what steps they need to take to assemble or check a product.
Before mixed reality, assembly and quality control employees at Renault would have to resort to using paper instructions. The use of a handset is much more convenient and efficient. BAE Systems, a manufacturer of defense and aerospace equipment, says that its has reduced assembly times by over 50% since it gave employees mixed reality headsets.
Consulting company Deloitte says that up to 10% of Fortune 500 companies are testing or already using mixed reality technology to some extent. A business study conducted by Forester Research states that tens of millions of American workers could be using mixed reality glasses within a decade. The forecast is clear that mixed reality is set to slowly creep into the workforce and increase productivity in the workplace.