Everything changes—this may be an over-used cliché, but it does hold a lot of truth. Especially in the tech sector, where innovations happen with tremendous velocity. So, which technological developments should you be on the lookout for in 2023? That’s what we asked our Chief Product Officer, Dr. Hendrik Witt. Read on to discover where he thinks the tech world is headed and what it means for companies like yours.
What do you think digitalization will look like for businesses in 2023?
Businesses have been focusing on digitalizing work for decades now. But they haven’t paid too much attention to frontline workers yet, so this is a huge opportunity. Because about 80% of the global workforce are frontline workers. That means the potential to improve efficiency is huge, especially by providing support in the form of digital tools.
Two technologies, augmented (AR) and mixed reality (MR), are currently building the foundation for the industrial metaverse. By linking AR and MR solutions to data and workflows, industrial enterprises can create new platforms built around the needs of shopfloor workers and, in the process, establish the industrial metaverse.
2023 will see companies leveraging these technologies to radically improve their efficiency, productivity, onboarding, and safety. According to a survey, 80% of onboarding leaders expect frontline employee productivity to increase in 2023 due to new technology. The industrial metaverse will help frontline workers be more productive.
But it’s also going to boost job satisfaction. That’s another reason we think the pace of adoption of industrial metaverse technologies is going to pick up over the next few quarters.
What do companies need to keep in mind when implementing these solutions?
To succeed with the implementation, companies need to lower barriers to entry. Wearables like smart glasses and the corresponding AR software can do that, and we expect these technologies to continue to improve.
Wearables free up your hands, which makes it easier to accomplish tasks while using AR. But we think there will also be an increase in smart phones to bridge the gap as well.
If we do enter a recession, how will that affect technology adoption?
There is a lot of uncertainty about the economy right now. So, organizations are naturally looking to boost the productivity of their frontline workers. They’re evaluating advanced technologies like wearables and augmented (AR) as well as mixed reality (MR). We’re seeing companies that use AR for training purposes being many times more likely to hit their onboarding goals. These benefits are the result of better compliance, progress tracking, error reduction, employee experiences, and memory retention.
With all the benefits AR and MR bring to frontline worker onboarding, leaders are beginning to take notice. Most organizations are now planning to increase spending on technologies that support frontline workers in 2023.
Why are you talking about AR but not VR as much?
It’s interesting, augmented reality is no longer on Gartner’s hype cycle. Which is a good thing because it means the technology has evolved from “one to watch” to “one to use.”
Unlike virtual reality, which creates an immersive virtual environment, AR takes information and layers it on top of a real-world scene. Industrial settings are better suited for AR and MR because these technologies don’t take away the users’ awareness of their physical surroundings.
How does AI fit in to everything?
AI promises to help businesses improve day-to-day operations and make workflows more efficient. Enriching complex manual processes with self-learning AI algorithms is a game-changer for digitization. It also adds immediate value.
Businesses are beginning to realize that AI capabilities can integrate into AR workflows to for instance perform verification assessments through image recognition, reduce the likelihood of human errors, and increase worker agility and productivity. Companies will also be leveraging the combination of AI and AR for automated safety checks to provide an intelligent means of protecting against common occupational hazards.
You mentioned AI. What about artificial intelligence to process big data?
Oh definitely. The digital transformation of manufacturing, logistics, and enterprise processes has generated a goldmine of data. So much data, in fact, that it’s not humanly possible to sift through and process all of it. This is why we expect to see more manufacturers leveraging AI in 2023, particularly for predictive and data analytics, as well as just day-to-day operations.
Customers will see immediate value as self-learning algorithms enrich complex manual processes. AI will become much more accessible through platforms, which will bring the value straight to frontline workers, too.
So far, we’ve only talked about technologies. What trends can we expect to see from the tech companies themselves in 2023?
Partnerships have always been a great tool for expanding the reach and usability of a product or service, while also benefiting the end-user. When solutions are bundled, you don’t need to select multiple vendors.
Enterprises need to do more with less these days. They are looking to technology and data to make it happen, but technologies can no longer live in isolated bubbles. Disconnected point solutions can’t handle what are often global problems.
So, to make digital transformation happen, enterprises will need to connect devices, information, and people through strategic partnerships. And that benefits the entire organization. This is especially true with emerging technologies in the industrial metaverse, which will see greater adoption because of these partnerships.
And what about employees? What will work look like next year?
The pandemic continues to change how businesses deal with introducing new technologies. There are still many opportunities for software to fill gaps in this hybrid world, but things have stabilized to a great extent. That means companies will be able to take a more sustainable approach in 2023 that will drive their digital transformation long-term.
From onboarding and training to productivity and efficiency, software and hardware are converging to deliver information when and where it’s needed most. This trend will continue to accelerate as technologies like AI and AR mature further. The result will be usable, connected platforms that reach across the enterprise to deliver cost-savings, productivity gains, and more satisfied employees.
What is the Industrial Metaverse and how well does the public know it?