Most of you who know me know that I love wine. It’s one of the main reasons I live minutes away from California’s wine country. When I was in my 20s, one of the most expensive things that ever happened to me was heading out of San Francisco, going to my first winery, and tasting a fantastic pinot noir (Gary Farrell, if you must know). I knew right there and then that I was in financial trouble.
Here’s the thing, once your palate tastes a wine like that, you can never un-taste it. Everything you’ve ever known about wine has changed forever. You can try to drink crappy wine, but it’ll never be enjoyable again. And your justification to move from a $10 bottle to a $60 bottle becomes a no-brainer…life is way too short to drink anything less.
What does this have to do with Augmented Reality?
It stems from what I witnessed firsthand several times at AWE 2018 in Munich last week. F-100 companies like Boeing, Airbus, CDM Smith, AMRC, and others presented on data-intensive AR use case pilots and small production roll-outs.
These applications used AR devices that were questionably ‘field-ready’ with just a sampling of data that was massaged to enable these POC scenarios.
The results were staggering: 25% + productivity gains, 70% improvements in accuracy, 57% time savings, the removal of critical path tasks on billion-dollar projects, and more.
These were not vendor-sponsored presentations by the way. Just engineers who wanted to share their success stories. And for these companies, these results were the tipping point for their C-levels to invest the big $$ it will take to make all of the relevant company data available for full-scale deployment – as quickly as possible.
JUST like my first sip of fine wine – they can’t un-see these results.
What happened in the audience for several F-500 C-levels and executives was JUST like my first sip of fine wine – they can’t un-see these results.
After speaking with a few people post-presentation, they seemed exasperated. Haunted by the fact that they have $10 million dollar HR reporting projects underway or multi-million dollar warehouse conveyor expansions in progress. All of which passed rigorous budget examinations and were happily approved to deliver 10% or 15% ROIs over several years. The projects promised soft improvements like improved job satisfaction and increased visibility to data that may or may not be worth the examination.
And with the end-of-year budget season upon them, even more of these types of large-scale, large $$ projects are currently on their desks for review with similar ‘rewards’.
How do they go back home knowing full well there are proven 50% and 70% ROI that aren’t on their horizon for 2019?
Probably via a long plane ride…drinking crappy wine. You can’t un-see it just like you can’t un-taste your first fine wine.
So when they do get home, many of these executives will be scrambling to get ‘AR Readiness’ projects into their budgets for 2019. Not for AR software or headset purchases, but for a 6-to-12 month long multi-million dollar data massaging projects, such as converting 2-d construction drawings to 3-d renderings. Or million dollar IT projects to align currently silo’d data, or IoT and AI projects to enable scaled intercommunication and decision-making of their entire network of plant equipment.
They’ll concurrently focus their Innovation teams on vetting all the AR hardware devices, old and new, as well as vetting, partnering, and investing in AR application software providers. Their IT departments will be forced to deliver ‘Yes’ answers to Android devices, find ways to manage fleets of wearable devices, and securely capture/enable the avalanche of inbound data these wearable devices will generate.
That way, when budget time comes around in Q4 2019, these new ‘AR Convert’ executives will be hand delivering large-scale AR deployment projects to their Board of Directors with borderline obscene ROIs and minuscule payback time-frames.
And what do you think that will do to their doubting colleagues and fearfully conservative competitors in 2020? They’ll be scrambling for their jobs and trying to save their market share. And what will those of us who actually deployed scaled AR projects be doing then? Probably sipping fine wine and writing our AWE2020 presentations from our new corner offices. 2019 is going to be a great vintage…time to invest in your futures.