Once upon a time… well actually it was around 2017. There was a dashing innovation manager in an international oil company ;-). He was convinced that Augmented Reality could fundamentally change the way the industry operated. Fast forward to 2021, and glossing over the gargantuan amount of work it took, the team managed to roll out to thousands of users across the world.
Success!.. you might think. But as the AR deployments grew a fundamental problem became clear. We simply had no idea how the devices were being used and whether they were stuck in their lockers.
Old way of getting device usage information
In order to understand the user experience and problems they face we primarily had to rely on feedback from global community sessions. The reason for this is because the traditional methods of MDM (AirWatch, Intune, etc.) have challenges fully adopting wearable devices. This meant that we couldn’t receive the typical IT device/management information that we were used to for mobile phones and tablets. A secondary source was reporting based on app utilisation but that inherently offers a limited picture of user behaviour and device utilisation.
This meant that our awesome team had to continuously chase people and regional focal points about potential issues, how we could best support them and inquire about what kind of training and support was required.
When you are starting your Augmented Reality journey, your device fleet is limited and your team most likely is closely connected to the end users. But once you reach critical mass and deploy across multiple locations this simply becomes an impossible strain and ultimately leads to negative user experience.
How can it be done better?
Recognizing this fundamental problem, we designed the XR Sense platform to not only look outwards to understand the spatial environment of the device but also inwards to understand the device itself.
Because the platform runs in the background, we have the unique ability, to continuously monitor the health and utilisation of the device and aggregate that data into our platform. Understanding factors such as the actual device location, the average battery life, active duration, memory usage not only allows us to optimize our platform but at the same time provide a treasure trove of valuable insights. This is fundamentally required for the deployment and change management of Augmented Reality technology.
Image 1: Example of Device specific information.
To give you some examples:
When our device utilisation dashboard shows a device where the battery level on average drains within ~2-3 hours but the only application used is a Remote Assistance software package (And yes, this really occurred on several occasions) this can be an indication that the battery needs to be replaced. If you are lucky the end users will report this behaviour. Most likely, they will assume it as an inherent limitation of the technology and become disappointed (red: it will remain stuck in their locker). The XR Sense platform will flag this information automatically allowing the support team to investigate and ensure that the end user feels supported and has an optimum experience.
Often these AR devices are still “shift devices” and even used across teams at a location. This means that the device can be used in completely different areas than originally intended. While our Situational Awareness module will flag this information as well – the device utilisation report will also flag this. This can lead to situations where a user might use the device in an area where a wind-noise filter could be a game changing user experience. Identifying this and pro-actively informing the users about the availability of these filters can make or break the technology.
Image 2: Example of Site level specific information. This collates all information at a specific Site/Asset into an overview.
Targeted end-user communication for support and training
Frontline workers are busy folk! Their primary activities are around production and production optimisation. This sounds reasonable, right? Somehow innovation departments across the world expect users to not only provide feedback but also to read all the wonderful marketing and support PowerPoints that they have painstakingly created. (Please note, I have great respect for PowerPoint wizards, my own materials generally are rather plain and boring).
So how do we understand what the frontline workers need, without disrupting their work? Simply by looking at the available information with the right contextual framework. When device or application utilisation data shows a department or user that stands out in terms of usage, that is the champion you want to highlight. Make the effort to understand their use-cases and standard operating experiences. What are they doing that can be replicated?
If you identify the reverse situation. Do not go in guns blazing! While our analytics capability provides you with unique and rich insights – it never tells the whole story. Treat it as an opportunity to reach out and understand the situation. This allows your support and change management teams a more structured approach and road to success.
Image 3: Example of Client utilisation report. This report collates the information for all devices at all sites for a specific client.
These are just a few examples of how XR Sense provides valuable insights that allows you to truly get the most out of Augmented Reality in your operations. What kind metrics would you want to track and visualize?