The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industrial sector is becoming more and more of a reality. In fact, industrial work processes can hardly do without digital support these days. This includes wearables such as smart glasses that guide skilled personnel in maintenance, servicing, and other tasks. With AI-powered wearables, work processes become even more efficient and safer. [By Jarmo Voegt].
80% of the world’s workforce does not work at a desk. At the same time, only 45% of frontline workers believe that digital communication technologies and collaboration software will become relevant to their profession. Breaches between the digital and physical worlds are therefore still inherent within industrial processes. However, there is great potential in connecting these two worlds.
Connectivity is a basic requirement for the continuous improvement of industrial processes and thus for growth. Here, networked machines provide real-time data that is analysed centrally by systems to automate processes, increasingly using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The potential of AI technologies is enormous, but so far, requires a high level of IT expertise and investment. This makes a quick return on investment (ROI) difficult. The TeamViewer Frontline add-on AiStudio, for example, offers easy access to AI technology. AiStudio, as well as Frontline itself, follow a no-code approach to set up AI processes.
Dream Team: Smart Glasses and AI
Automation using AI is by no means about replacing skilled workers. Rather, AI technologies, such as in TeamViewer Frontline, are designed to support people in their daily work in the best possible way. This begins with wearing smart glasses, which project work instructions directly into the field of vision via Augmented Reality (AR). Therefore, frontline workers have both hands free for the actual activity and do not have to worry about documenting work steps.
AI is the next logical step in the use of smart glasses, and can automatically warn employees of hazards in their field of vision or confirm that prescribed safety clothing, such as gloves, have been put on correctly. Furthermore, AI makes it possible to check and confirm work steps, which can greatly facilitate the quality control of routine processes.
Greater Focus on Safety and Quality
The German crane manufacturer Liebherr, for example, uses smart glasses to minimize safety risks. Previously, crane operators had to keep an eye on the load and surroundings, as well as the data from the machine sensors on an external display. With smart glasses, the information from the sensors is now available directly in the field of vision. This allows the crane operators to focus completely on the load and the surroundings.
Another example is intelligent image recognition. Thanks to machine learning, smart glasses can, among other things, compare the actual and target states of manufactured products. In the food industry, smart glasses recognize whether employees are wearing their required gloves. This application further safeguards quality control and avoids errors.
Wearables as a Bridging Technology
Where large amounts of structured or unstructured data are available, AI is much faster and more reliable than humans. By giving employees access to AI-supported data at the right moment, added value is created for both employees and companies. It is important that the information provided is always contextually relevant. In the case of smart glasses, for example, this means that users always have information about the respective work step displayed directly in their field of vision.
As with any new technology, it is important to thoroughly prepare and train employees when introducing and using AI in companies. Wearables are a suitable bridging technology here, as their use is often already known at the core. Moreover, they can be established within a very short time to support employees in their daily work.
Augmented Intelligence Elevates the Potential of the Workforce
Platforms like TeamViewer Frontline and the add-on AiStudio make access to modern AI applications as easy as possible. The concept behind the combination of wearables and AI can also be described as Augmented Intelligence: Potentials that your workforce already has, such as their expertise and experience, can be focused on critical tasks or crucial elements of a task, while routine procedures such as checks, documentation, etc. are taken over by the AI-supported technology.
Augmented Intelligence’s approach of combining Artificial Intelligence with wearable computing to combine machine and human strengths increases employee performance and safety. There exists a great opportunity for the industrial sector in linking these technologies.