A few months ago, chatting with my friend, she mentioned that her
company was already using robots working in Finance Share Center. The
robots can work 7×24 hours per week, no complains, no overtime pays. It
saved around 20 headcounts. Yes, we are living in the Big Data era. More
and more people believe that Big Data will change our lives and works
thoroughly within the next three years. Big Data delivers the potential
to find value no one knew before, whether you are trying to maximize
production, cut costs or boost efficiency. Data can be turned into
BY MICHAEL E. PORTER AND JAMES E. HEPPELMANN
Internet of Things (IoT) is the basis of Big Data. It refers to network
of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items which are
embedded with electronics, software sensors, actuators & network
connectivity that enable these objects to collect & exchange data.
Anything that can be connected, will be connected. The internet is
leveling the playing field. IoT is a game change technology. To be
competitive in the future, companies will need to take action now.
There is a fundamental disconnect between the wealth of digital data
available to us and the physical world in which we apply it. While
reality is threedimensional, the rich data we now have to inform our
decisions and actions remains trapped on two-dimensional pages and
screens. This gulf between the real and digital worlds limits our
ability to take advantage of the torrent of information and insights
produced by billions of smart, connected products (SCPs) worldwide.
• Real time operating data – Information for agile decision-making to
improve the bottom line
Augmented reality, a set of technologies that superimposes digital data
and images on the physical world, promises to close this gap and release
untapped and uniquely human capabilities. Though still in its infancy,
AR is poised to enter the mainstream; according to one estimate,
spending on AR technology will hit $60 billion in 2020. AR will affect
companies in every industry and many other types of organizations, from
universities to social enterprises. In the coming months and years, it
will transform how we learn, make decisions, and interact with the
physical world. It will also change how enterprises serve customers,
train employees, design and create products, and manage their value
chains, and, ultimately,how they compete.
• Advanced solutions – Cloud – enabled software that achieves greater
connectivity, unifies systems, processes more data and finds more ways
to use data to run a smarter operation.
In this article we describe what AR is, its evolving technology and
applications, and why it is so important. Its significance will grow
exponentially as SCPs proliferate, because it amplifies their power to
create value and reshape competition. AR will become the new interface
between humans and machines, bridging the digital and physical worlds.
While challenges in deploying it remain, pioneering organizations, such
as Amazon, Facebook, General Electric, Mayo Clinic, and the U.S. Navy,
are already implementing AR and seeing a major impact on quality and
productivity. Here we provide a road map for how companies should deploy
AR and explain the critical choices they will face in integrating it
into strategy and operations.
Fully one-quarter of the world’s economy will be digital by 2020,
forecasts a new report from Accenture. But that prediction doesn’t tell
the whole story. Because increasingly, all business processes will be
not only digitized – converted from analog to digital – but also
digitalized – transformed in a way that blurs the physical and virtual.
• Reduced unplanned downtime – Data analytics identify patterns that
reliably predict future events, giving companies the tools to detect and
prevent abnormal situations.
WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY?
Many organizations are struggling to respond. In fact, only five percent
of companies say they’ve mastered digital transformation to the point of
competitive differentiation, according to Forrester.
Under the environment of Big Data explosion and rapid growth of IoT,
customers expect companies to provide faster, agile & flexible analytics
and solutions. In order to better serve customers, not only high-tech
companies, but also a lot of traditional companies are enhancing their
strategy to grow software and data analytics capabilities.
Isolated applications of AR have been around for decades, but only
recently have the technologies required to unleash its potential become
available. At the core, AR transforms volumes of data and analytics into
images or animations that are overlaid on the real world. Today most AR
applications are delivered through mobile devices, but increasingly
delivery will shift to hands-free wearables such as head-mounted
displays or smart glasses. Though many people are familiar with simple
AR entertainment applications, such as Snapchat filters and the game
Pokémon Go, AR is being applied in far more consequential ways in both
consumer and business-to-business settings. For example, AR “heads-up”
displays that put navigation, collision warning, and other information
directly in drivers’ line of sight are now available in dozens of car
models. Wearable AR devices for factory workers that superimpose
productionassembly or service instructions are being piloted at
thousands of companies. AR is supplementing or replacing traditional
manuals and training methods at an ever-faster pace.
The challenge is especially acute for manufacturers. From innovation to
production to logistics, manufacturers are seeing their operations
revolutionized by digital technologies.
Along with business transformation, finance also need to deploy
transformation. Comparing to traditional finance structure, the major
changes of future state came from:
More broadly, AR enables a new information-delivery paradigm, which we
believe will have a profound impact on how data is structured, managed,
and delivered on the internet. Though the web transformed how
information is collected, transmitted, and accessed, its model for data
storage and delivery—pages on flat screens—has major limits: It requires
people to mentally translate 2-D information for use in a 3-D world.
That isn’t always easy, as anyone who has used a manual to fix an office
copier knows. By superimposing digital information directly on real
objects or environments, AR allows people to process the physical and
digital simultaneously, eliminating the need to mentally bridge the two.
That improves our ability to rapidly and accurately absorb information,
make decisions, and execute required tasks quickly and efficiently.
That starts with research and development. Here are four key ways
digitalization is transforming R&D:
• Commercial finance would be the primary partners of business. It would
be embedded into the business as one core part of management theme to
deliver P&L results, involve planning & forecasting, making investment
decisions and cost management.
AR displays in cars are a vivid illustration of this. Until recently,
drivers using GPS navigation had to look at a map on a flat screen and
then figure out how to apply it in the real world. To take the correct
exit from a busy rotary, for example, the driver needed to shift his or
her gaze between the road and the screen and mentally connect the image
on the map to the proper turnoff. AR heads-up displays lay navigational
images directly over what the driver sees through the windshield. This
reduces the mental effort of applying the information, prevents
distraction, and minimizes driver error, freeing people to focus on the
road. (For more on this, see the sidebar “Enhancing Human Decision
科技(science and technology)给予用户越来越多自由。方今用户已经具有及时和安宁的新闻，包蕴产品、质量和价格
那不仅是发卖和商海的主题素材，那也化为研究开发的主题素材，因为他们必须用最快的快慢对客户改造的供给开始展览反馈，好音信是科技(science and technology)已经有了消除方案。举个例子，重新设计智能产品，利用了物联网（IoT）传感器，研究开发人士能够取得使用数据去探听客户的必要，以及产品表现多少，可用来学学以及高效革新产品。
• In the meanwhile, finance operations would be centralized in corporate
level to provide consistent high-value finance services to all
businesses, such as management reporting & analysis, closing and booking
reconciliation, collections & payments management, travel & expense
AR is making advances in consumer markets, but its emerging impact on
human performance is even greater in industrial settings. Consider how
Newport News Shipbuilding, which designs and builds U.S. Navy aircraft
carriers, uses AR near the end of its manufacturing process to inspect a
ship, marking for removal steel construction structures that are not
part of the finished carrier. Historically, engineers had to constantly
compare the actual ship with complex 2-D blueprints. But with AR, they
can now see the final design superimposed on the ship, which reduces
inspection time by 96%—from 36 hours to just 90 minutes. Overall, time
savings of 25% or more are typical for manufacturing tasks using AR.
1. End consumers are more empowered
Technology has put consumers in the driver’s seat. Customers now have
instant, constant access to information about products, quality, and
pricing – for both you and your competitors. In the past, if you had
established yourself as a leader in a region, the competition was at a
disadvantage. Today, customers know how you stack up against rivals
around the world, and your past market leadership is irrelevant. This
isn’t just a problem for sales and marketing. It’s also a problem for
R&D, which must respond – in as near to real time as possible – to
changing customer demands. The good news is that technology is also the
solution. For example, by designing smart products that leverage
Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, R&D can capture usage data to
understand customer desires and capture performance data to learn how to
improve products rapidly.
The changes of finance operating model would help commercial finance to
split from routine daily finance transactions so as to concentrate on
driving business profitable growth. All business performance will be
finally reflected by finance reports. Stakeholders would like commercial
finance team to improve on below 3 aspects:
AR’S KEY CAPABILITIES
• Helping business to achieve growth target.
As we’ve previously explained (see “How Smart, Connected Products Are
Transforming Competition,” HBR, November 2014), the SCPs spreading
2. Transparency is rewriting how manufacturers collaborate
Information access is changing the way manufacturers interact both
internally and with suppliers. This is true for every function, but
especially for R&D.
As R&D creates more smart products, the skills it requires are changing.
The automotive industry is a case in point. Fifteen years ago, cars
began to incorporate electronics such as engine-control systems. Today,
electronics are where most automotive R&D is happening, and within 10
years, electronics will allow cars to pretty much drive themselves.
That dramatically changes how cars are designed. In the past, mechanical
engineers led design efforts, and electronics were merely an add-on.
Today, software development – with its very different requirements and
design cycles – is integral to the process. In the automotive industry
and in virtually every other industry, product design will involve new
stakeholders who must work together in new ways.
• Anticipating needs and requirements proactively
through our homes, workplaces, and factories allow users to monitor
product operations and conditions in real time, control and customize
product operations remotely, and optimize product performance using
real-time data. And in some cases, intelligence and connectivity allow
SCPs to be fully autonomous.
• Providing user friendly finance tools and reports.
AR powerfully magnifies the value created by those capabilities.
Specifically, it improves how users visualize and therefore access all
the new monitoring data, how they receive and follow instructions and
guidance on product operations, and even how they interact with and
control the products themselves.
3. Business models are growing more flexible
In the past, product designers worked for companies that sold products.
But increasingly, manufacturers will sell not products but services.
That affects R&D in fundamental ways.
A good example is a midsize SAP client that makes industrial air
compressors. Some years ago it realized customers wanted not air
compressors but compressed air. So it began offering compressed air as a
service. Before this time, it designed and manufactured air compressors
and then sold them to customers. Now, it designs and manufactures air
compressors, installs them at customer sites, and then charges for the
compressed air customers consume.
That new business model changes how R&D develops products. First, it
needs to design in IoT sensors to monitor the compressors in real time
and enable predictive maintenance. Second, it needs to optimize
longevity and ease of maintenance. One way the company achieves that is
by having engineers regularly spend time with field service to see
firsthand how equipment is performing.
To achieve the target from report-driven to analysis-driven and improve
satisfaction of stakeholders, finance need to deploy a series of
activities on business analytics transformation.
X-ray vision, revealing internal features that would be difficult to see
otherwise. At the medical device company AccuVein, for instance, AR
technology converts the heat signature of a patient’s veins into an
image that is superimposed on the skin, making the veins easier for
clinicians to locate. This dramatically improves the success rate of
blood draws and other vascular procedures. AR more than triples the
likelihood of a successful needle stick on the first try and reduces the
need for “escalations” (calling for assistance, for example) by 45%.
Common Process / System
Bosch Rexroth, a global provider of power units and controls used in
manufacturing, uses an AR-enhanced visualization to demonstrate the
design and capabilities of its smart, connected CytroPac hydraulic power
unit. The AR application allows customers to see 3-D representations of
the unit’s internal pump and cooling options in multiple configurations
and how subsystems fit together.
4. Business processes are becoming more customer centric
In fact, 83% of executives believe digitalization is driving a shift
from supply-side economies of scale to demand-side economies based on
interconnection with customers and partners, according to the Accenture
Manufacturers will have to be more connected to customers, because new
business models will demand it. Take the air compressor customer. It
hasn’t invested in a capital-intensive air compressor; it’s simply
contracted for compressed air. At the end of the contract, there’s
little disincentive to switching to a more attractive contract. The same
will be true for many products across many industries.
How does that change R&D? Design cycles will have to accelerate to
maintain competitive differentiation. For example, most carmakers update
a car’s electronics only if the customer happens to come in for service.
Tesla has upped the ante by sending new features and functions directly
to the consumer through regular software updates. Don’t be surprised if
its competitors start to follow.
Ultimately, the digital economy begins and ends with the customer.
Customers are more empowered, so companies need to become more
customer-centric. And nowhere is that more true than in R&D.
For more insight on the new customer-centric digital economy, see
Customer Relationship Status: It’s Complicated.
Multi-national companies normally organize several of Business Groups.
Each business group has several of business units and each business
units has several of line of business. Some legal entities are shared by
several of business units. Some legal entities are standalone for exact
Instruct and guide. AR is already redefining instruction, training, and
coaching. These critical functions, which improve workforce
productivity, are inherently costly and labor-intensive and often
deliver uneven results. Written instructions for assembly tasks, for
instance, are frequently hard and timeconsuming to follow. Standard
instructional videos aren’t interactive and can’t adapt to individual
learning needs. In-person training is expensive and requires students
and teachers to meet at a common site, sometimes repeatedly. And if the
equipment about which students are being taught isn’t available, they
may need extra training to transfer what they’ve learned to a real-world
In addition to the complex legal entity structure, multi-national
companies have the complicated business models as well, not only
including comprehensive product basis business in different kinds of
industries, but also long term project basis business which combined
products, engineering delivery, service, software etc. to provide total
solutions to customers. Furthermore, besides organic growth,
multi-national companies always seek growth opportunities from merger
and acquisitions. All these factors put together have increased the
complexity on finance management dramatically.
AR addresses those issues by providing real-time, on-site, step-by-step
visual guidance on tasks such as product assembly, machine operation,
and warehouse picking. Complicated 2-D schematic representations of a
procedure in a manual, for example, become interactive 3-D holograms
that walk the user through the necessary processes. Little is left to
the imagination or interpretation.
Under this circumstance, Common Process / System is needed to cultivate
one company culture. The vision is to deliver common best practice
business processes with enabling systems and technologies to drive
profitable growth and business transformation across corporation. The
program is using global design model to connect commercial and
Integrated Supply Chain (ISC) initiatives, deliver measurable business
value, and best in class business processes.
At Boeing, AR training has had a dramatic impact on the productivity and
quality of complex aircraft manufacturing procedures. In one Boeing
study, AR was used to guide trainees through the 50 steps required to
assemble an aircraft wing section involving 30 parts. With the help of
AR, trainees completed the work in 35% less time than trainees using
traditional 2-D drawings and documentation. And the number of trainees
with little or no experience who could perform the operation correctly
the first time increased by 90%.
Common process system not only provides more security and uniform
environment, but also supplies better integration interfaces for merger
Multi-national companies will take benefits through common process
AR-enabled devices can also transmit what an on-site user is seeing to a
remote expert, who can respond with immediate guidance. In effect, this
instantly puts the expert at the user’s side, regardless of location.
This capability not only improves worker performance but substantially
reduces costs—as Lee Company, which sells and services building systems,
has discovered. It uses AR to help its field technicians with
installations and repairs. A remote expert can see what the tech is
viewing through his or her AR device, guide the tech through the work to
be done, and even annotate the tech’s view with instructions. Getting
expert support from a central location in real time has increased Lee’s
tech utilization dramatically. And, by reducing the number of repeat
visits, Lee saves more than $500 per technician per month in labor and
travel costs. The company calculates a return of $20 on every dollar
invested in AR.
• Consistent approach into defining and agreeing the business scope.
Interact. Traditionally, people have used physical controls such as
buttons, knobs, and, more recently, built-in touchscreens to interact
with products. With the rise of SCPs, apps on mobile devices have
increasingly replaced physical controls and allowed users to operate
• Early engagement of senior business leadership. The project management
tools such as Business Readiness Scorecard and project plan provide
better visibility on the progress of the project and business readiness.
AR takes the user interface to a whole new level. A virtual control
panel can be superimposed directly on the product and operated using an
AR eadset, hand gestures, and voice commands. Soon, users wearing smart
glasses will be able to simply gaze at or point to a product to activate
a virtual user interface and operate it. A worker wearing smart glasses,
for instance, will be able to walk a line of factory machines, see their
performance parameters, and adjust each machine without physically
• Focus on Business Engagement drives commitments and ownership into the
business. Clarity of business readiness to implement the change.
The interact capability of AR is still nascent in commercial products
but is revolutionary. Reality Editor, an AR app developed by the Fluid
Interfaces group at MIT’s Media Lab, provides a glimpse of how it is
rapidly evolving. Reality Editor makes it easy to add an interactive AR
experience to any SCP. With it, people can point a smartphone or a
tablet at an SCP (or, eventually, look at it through smart glasses),
“see” its digital interfaces and the capabilities that can be
programmed, and link those capabilities to hand gestures or voice
commands or even to another smart product. For example, Reality Editor
can allow a user to see a smart light bulb’s controls for color and
intensity and set up voice commands like “bright” and “mood” to activate
them. Or different settings of the bulb can be linked to buttons on a
smart light switch the user can place anywhere that’s convenient.
• The structure, methods and phases gate outcomes drive the quality and
consistency in the projects approach and outcomes. Business team
prepared for successful operation from day one.
The technologies underpinning these capabilities are still emerging, but
the accuracy of voice commands in noisy environments is improving, and
advances in gesture and gaze tracking have been rapid. GE has already
tested the use of voice commands in AR experiences that enable factory
workers to perform complex wiring processes in wind turbines—and has
achieved a 34% increase in productivity.
• A consistent focus on the measurement of Business Readiness ensures
superior outcomes during project and post go live.
COMBINING AR AND VIRTUAL REALITY
AR’s well-known cousin, virtual reality, is a complementary but distinct
technology. While AR superimposes digital information on the physical
world, VR replaces physical reality with a computer-generated
environment. Though VR is used mostly for entertainment applications, it
can also replicate physical settings for training purposes. It is
especially useful when the settings involved are hazardous or remote.
Or, if the machinery required for raining is not available, VR can
immerse technicians in a virtual environment using holograms of the
equipment. So when needed, VR adds a fourth apability—simulate—to AR’s
core capabilities of visualize, instruct, and interact.
Although standardization deployment was an operational excellence
initiative which initially designed to improve the capabilities of
manufacturing sites, it has proven successful in functional areas as
well. Processes optimization is fostering speed and entrepreneurialism
among our global business enterprises while allowing us to leverage the
scale and process strength of a large company.
Taking standardization deployment from plant to back office is one of
development strategy for many famous companies. Standardization
deployment will position finance organization for growth and improve
business partnership through better process streamline across different
business groups to increase efficiency and improve accuracy.
Finance standardization has not only the benefit to decrease the number
of touch points so as to achieve fewer mistakes and quicker turnaround
time, but also has the benefit to utilize existing personnel in higher
impact activities, such as analytical tasks and greater professional
growth. Finance transition will occur in the following aspects
AR will be far more widely applied in business than VR will. But in some
circumstances, combining AR and VR will allow users to transcend
distance (by simulating faraway locations), transcend time (by
reproducing historical contexts or simulating possible future
situations), and transcend scale (by allowing users to engage with
environments that are either too small or too big to experience
directly). What’s more, bringing people together in shared virtual
environments can enhance comprehension, teamwork, communication, and
• Implementation of leadership standard work: Listing activities of
daily / weekly / quarterly / annually for each finance roles such as
finance analyst, finance manager, finance director, controllership etc.
Ensuring people focus on the right thing consistently.
AR will be far more widely applied in business than VR will. But in some
circumstances, combining AR and VR will allow users to transcend
distance (by simulating faraway locations), transcend time (by
reproducing historical contexts or simulating possible future
situations), and transcend scale (by allowing users to engage with
environments that are either too small or too big to experience
directly). What’s more, bringing people together in shared virtual
environments can enhance comprehension, teamwork, communication, and
How IoT Is Impacting 7 Key Industries Today
• Documentation of top three Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for
each finance function: Reducing variability in process and approaches.
It also help finance operation team to maintain high job quality even if
challenged by high turnover rate.
Ford, for example, is using VR to create a virtual workshop where
geographically dispersed engineers can collaborate in real time on
holograms of vehicle prototypes. Participants can walk around and go
inside these life-size 3-D holograms, working out how to refine design
details such as the position of the steering wheel, the angle of the
dashboard, and the location of instruments and controls without having
to build an expensive physical prototype and get everyone to one
location to examine it.
There is no single way to describe the Internet of Things (IoT)—it
varies by industry, both in types of systems and in use cases. IoT in
one sector is different from IoT in another. To better understand just
how IoT is impacting a variety of industries, Forbes Insights, in
partnership with Intel, conducted a survey of 700 executives familiar
with their organization’s implementation of IoT programs.
• Implementation of tiered accountability: Engaging all in identifying,
developing and implementing improvements for the business. Harnessing
the many and not just relying on the few.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is going a step further by
combining AR instructions with VR simulations to train personnel in
responding to emergency situations such as explosions. This reduces
costs and—in cases in which training in real environments would be
dangerous—risk. The energy multinational BP overlays AR training
procedures on VR simulations that replicate specific drilling
conditions, like temperature, pressure, topography, and ocean currents,
and that instruct teams on operations and help them practice coordinated
emergency responses to disasters without high costs or risk.
Growth in IoT systems has been most pronounced within the manufacturing
and financial services sectors, with 47% and 42% of executives in these
sectors, respectively, reporting growth in their networks exceeding 10%
over the past three years.
• Visual management: Putting important documents in share folder and
giving access to all team members. Making things simple, easy to
understand and providing effective communication.
HOW AR CREATES VALUE
As the survey found, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing
are leaders in IoT thinking, and in many cases, are connecting IoT
capabilities with powerful advanced analytics or artificial
intelligence. Close to six in 10 executives in the financial services
sector, 58%, report having well-developed IoT initiatives, followed by
healthcare organizations (55%). Growth in IoT systems has been most
pronounced within the manufacturing and financial services sectors, with
47% and 42% of executives in these sectors, respectively, reporting
growth in their networks exceeding 10% over the past three years.
• Rapid problem solving and value stream mapping: Involving functional
experts on process design and streamline. Fixing issues quickly and
finally, rather than letting them re-occur.
AR creates business value in two broad ways: first, by becoming part of
products themselves, and second, by improving performance across the
value chain—in product development, manufacturing, marketing, service,
and numerous other areas.
Keep reading to find out more about how executives in communications,
energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail and
transportation are leveraging IoT.
Global Data Warehouse (GDW) Initiative
AR as a product feature. The capabilities of AR play into the growing
design focus on creating better user interfaces and ergonomics. The way
products convey important operational and safety information to users
has increasingly become a point of differentiation (consider how mobile
apps have supplemented or replaced embedded screens in products like
Sonos audio players). AR is poised to rapidly improve such interfaces.
1.Communications: For telecommunications providers and other
communications companies, the mobile revolution is underscoring the
shift to IoT. About half of the communications companies represented in
the survey, 53%, either have IoT embedded into their processes or have
it in key business areas. In communications companies, the most
prevalent IoT data sources include audio devices (45%), followed by
mobile phones (42%). The most prevalent application is preventive
maintenance (44%), followed by efforts to increase employee productivity
(40%). In addition, more than one-third of communications providers are
in the forefront of applying approaches with computer vision and
analytics to better understand and predict customer behavior, as well as
the viability of assets. In total, 38% report they have implemented
visual analytics across parts of their enterprises.
Through common process system and standardization implementation, it
provides a good basis for GDW initiative. With ERP, for example Oracle,
SAP, Hyperion etc. and business intelligence technology, such as
Tableau, Brio, Global Data Warehouse (GDW) tool provides platform for
optimal business intelligence solutions.
Dedicated AR heads-up displays, which have only recently been
incorporated into automobiles, have been a key feature in elite military
products, such as fighter jets, for years and have been adopted in
commercial aircraft as well. These types of displays are too expensive
and bulky to ntegrate into most products, but wearables such as smart
glasses are a breakthrough interface with wide-ranging implications for
all manufacturers. With mart glasses, a user can see an AR display on
any product enabled to communicate with them.
2.Energy: Energy companies tend to have operations spread across remote
locations such as oil and gas fields, which require continuous
monitoring. Close to half of executives in the energy sector, 47%,
indicate they either have implemented IoT across selected
functions/business areas or have extensive IoT deployments. Leading data
sources include machinery (49%) and robots (46%). Energy companies are
turning to IoT to monitor asset performance (45%), enhance their
customers’ experience (43%) and boost overall efficiency (40%). About
one-third, 34%, report they have deployed visual analytics deeply within
their enterprises. Camera-mounted drones, for instance, can help
companies monitor the health and safety of production fields and
facilities, spotting anomalies before they become a hazard.
Before GDW implementation, since most analysis and reporting are done
offline using Excel, it directly leads to finance team spending most of
their time on report maintenance rather than value-added activities for
business. Furthermore, the manual reports have the following gaps:
If you view a kitchen oven through smart glasses, for example, you might
see a virtual display that shows the baking temperature, the minutes
remaining on the timer, and the recipe you are following. If you
approach your car, an AR display might show you that it is locked, that
the fuel tank is nearly full, and that the left-rear tire’s pressure is
3.Financial Services: Financial services organizations are highly
security conscious, and therefore increasingly rely on networks of
cameras and other visual sensors to ensure the viability of their
facilities. As noted above, financial services leads the way in IoT
deployment, with 58% of survey respondents having some degree of
capabilities. Companies in this sector are also well ahead in terms of
visual analytics adoption—51% report they have developed and implemented
capabilities employing cameras and visual sensors connected to AI and
analytics systems. Mobile phones are the leading endpoint choice for
financial companies (cited by 51%), along with cameras and sensors
(48%). While financial firms have multiple goals in their IoT efforts,
most pronounced is the need to expand the connectivity of their networks
(31%), along with employing IoT as vehicle for greater security (30%).
• Insufficient analytical capability (end-to-end, drilling,
Because an AR user interface is purely software based and delivered via
the cloud, it can be personalized and can continually evolve. The
incremental cost of providing such an interface is low, and
manufacturers also stand to save considerable amounts when traditional
buttons, switches, and dials are removed. Every product manufacturer
needs to carefully consider the disruptive impact that this
nextgeneration interface may have on its offering and competitive
4.Healthcare: Within healthcare, there is concern about the experiences
customers receive not only at bedsides, but also in waiting rooms,
emergency rooms and business offices. Healthcare organizations are also
leading the way with IoT, with 55% having fairly robust deployments in
place. In healthcare, audio devices and mobile phones are the most
essential devices in use, mentioned by 46% of respondents in the sector.
Employee monitoring is the most prevalent use case (41%), along with
monitoring facilities and enhancing customer experiences (each cited by
38%). The majority, 57%, also employ visual analytics to improve their
levels of customer service and patient care.
• Inadequate visualization tools
AR can already be seen across the value chain, but they are more
advanced in some areas than in others. In general, visualize and
instruct/guide applications are now having the greatest impact on
companies’ operations, while the interact capability is still emerging
and in pilot testing.
5.Manufacturing: Manufacturers, more than companies in other industries,
rely on heavy machinery to produce products and therefore have a deep
interest in understanding the performance of these machines.
Manufacturing organizations have a range of opportunities—through
computer vision to manage and track the movement of goods, linked to
artificial intelligence-enhanced systems that can predict, and even
remediate, events before they happen.But there’s more to the story than
managing machines. Overall, compared with other industry groups,
manufacturers are seeing the greatest transitions from IoT. A majority
of executives in manufacturing firms, 51%, “strongly agree” that IoT is
opening up new lines of business for their organizations. In addition,
29% of manufacturing executives report their IoT efforts have enabled
them to offer new products or services, along with 29% of those with
communications companies. A majority of manufacturers, 51%, state either
that selected business areas are supported by IoT or that they have
deployed it extensively across their organizations. A majority, 52%, of
manufacturers indicate they have visual analytics capabilities in place
as well, enabling the real-time monitoring of assets and products.
Mobile phones and computer systems are the main sources of IoT data for
manufacturers (cited respectively by 48% and 47%), and the leading use
cases in this sector are preventive maintenance (51%) and increasing
• No mechanism for rapid integration of acquisition financial data
Product development. Though engineers have been using computeraided
design (CAD) capabilities to create 3-D models for 30 years, they have
been limited to interacting with those models through 2-D windows on
their computer screens, which makes it harder for them to fully
conceptualize designs. AR allows 3-D models to be superimposed on the
physical world as holograms, enhancing engineers’ ability to evaluate
and improve designs. For example, a life-size 3-D hologram of a
construction machine can be positioned on the ground, and engineers can
walk around it, peer under and over it, and even go inside it to fully
appreciate the sight lines and ergonomics of its design at full scale in
its intended setting.
6.Retail: In retail, what happens on the sales floor doesn’t stay on the
sales floor—customer behavior and reactions are studied, evaluated and
evolved. Half of the retail executives in the survey, 51%, report having
robust IoT efforts underway—either deployed across departments or
extensively across their enterprises. A majority, 53%, also report
employing visual analytics to some degree, enabling a greater
understanding of customer preferences and behavior. The most prominent
IoT data sources include computer systems (51%) and sensors (47%). For
retail organizations, the main use cases are enabling business
transformation (44%) and providing training enhanced by augmented
virtual reality (43%).
• Lack of consolidated reporting across business unit
AR also lets engineers superimpose CAD models on physical prototypes to
compare how well they match. Volkswagen is using this technique—which
makes any difference between the latest design and the prototype
visually obvious—to check alignment in digital design reviews. This
improves the accuracy of the quality assurance process, in which
engineers previously had to painstakingly compare 2-D drawings with
prototypes, and makes it five to 10 times faster.
7.Transportation: Transportation is about movement and logistics, and
IoT systems are playing a role in managing these capabilities. About
half of the executives in the survey in transportation-related
organizations, 47%, report having either departmental-level IoT efforts
underway or implementations that reach across their enterprises. The
most important use cases are increasing productivity (40%) as well as
logistics monitoring and routing (40%). Close to half of transportation
companies, 46%, have some level of visual analytics incorporated into
their IoT efforts. Cameras and sensors, for example, may be placed along
railroad tracks to monitor wear and tear on wheel assemblies or
anomalies with freight cars.
• Human mistakes
We expect that in the near future AR enabled devices such as phones and
smart glasses, with their embedded cameras, accelerometers, GPS, and
other sensors, will increasingly inform product design by exposing when,
where, and how users actually interact with the product—how often a
certain repair sequence is initiated, for example. In this way the AR
interface will become an important source of data.
As these examples demonstrate, every industry has the potential to reap
the benefits from IoT. Yet it’s up to executives to recognize the
potential of these technologies and determine how best to leverage them
within their companies and respective industries. Those who do will
certainly reap the rewards.
After GDW implementation, it helps company to gain below benefits:
Manufacturing. In manufacturing, processes are often complex, requiring
hundreds or even thousands of steps, and mistakes are costly. As we’ve
learned, AR can deliver just the right information the moment it’s
needed to factory workers on assembly lines, reducing errors, enhancing
efficiency, and improving productivity.
• The tool is intuitive and easy to use. It provides real-time,
actionable information, enabling faster, better decision making.
In factories, AR can also capture information from automation and
control systems, secondary sensors, and asset management systems and
make visible important monitoring and diagnostic data about each machine
or process. Seeing information such as efficiency and defect rates in
context helps maintenance technicians understand problems and prompts
factory workers to do proactive maintenance that may prevent costly
downtime. Iconics, which specializes in automation software for
factories and buildings, has begun to integrate AR into its products’
user interfaces. By attaching relevant information to the physical
location where it will be best observed and understood, the AR
interfaces enable more-efficient monitoring of machines and processes.
• Enable self-service reporting and analysis. It will involve business
team to participate in dashboard design, facilitate the perception of
elevated service while doing it yourself.
Logistics. Warehouse operations are estimated to account for about 20%
of all logistics costs, while picking items from shelves represents up
to 5% of warehouse costs. In most warehouses, workers still perform this
task by consulting a paper list of things to collect and then searching
for them. This method is slow and error-prone.
• Enable advanced analytics capabilities by data drilldown and
The logistics giant DHL and a growing number of other companies are
using AR to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of the picking process.
AR instructions direct workers to the location of each product to be
pulled and then suggest the best route to the next product. At DHL this
approach has led to fewer errors, more-engaged workers, and productivity
gains of 25%. The company is now rolling out AR-guided picking globally
and testing how AR can enhance other types of warehouse operations, such
as optimizing the position of goods and machines in layouts. Intel is
also using AR in warehouses and has achieved a 29% reduction in picking
time, with error rates falling to near zero. And the AR application is
allowing new Intel workers to immediately achieve picking speeds 15%
faster than those of workers who’ve had only traditional training.
• Simplify and streamline development of dashboards, reports, and
analytics. It provides forward-looking, predictive insights.
Marketing and sales. AR is redefining the concept of showrooms and
product demonstrations and transforming the customer experience. When
customers can see virtually how products will look or function in a real
setting before buying them, they have more-accurate expectations, more
confidence about their purchase decisions, and greater product
satisfaction. Down the road, AR may even reduce the need for
brick-and-mortar stores and showrooms altogether. When products can be
configured with different features and options—which can make them
difficult and costly to stock—AR is a particularly valuable marketing
• Enable rapid integration of acquisition data
The construction products company AZEK, for instance, uses AR to show
contractors and consumers how its decking and paver products look in
various colors and arrangements. Customers can also see the simulations
in context: If you look at a house through a phone or a tablet, the AR
app can add a deck onto it. The experience reduces any uncertainty
customers might feel about their choices and shortens the sales cycle.
• Enable business unit integration data into business segment
In e-commerce, AR applications are allowing online shoppers to download
holograms of products. Wayfair and IKEA both offer libraries with
thousands of 3-D product images and apps that integrate them into a view
of an actual room, enabling customers to see how furniture and decor
will look in their homes. IKEA also uses its app to collect important
data about product preferences in different regions.
• Enable commercial finance and operation finance employees to focus on
analysis and business partnering activities
After-sales service. This is a function where AR shows huge potential to
unlock the value-creating capabilities of SCPs. AR assists technicians
serving customers in the field in much the same way it helps workers in
factories: by showing predictive analytics data generated by the
product, visually guiding them through repairs in real time, and
connecting them with remote experts who can help optimize procedures.
For example, an AR dashboard might reveal to a field technician that a
specific machine part will most likely fail within a month, allowing the
tech to preempt a problem for the customer by replacing it now. At KPN,
a European telecommunications service provider, field engineers
conducting remote or on-site repairs use AR smart glasses to see a
product’s service-history data, diagnostics, and location-based
information dashboards. These AR displays help them make better
decisions about demand through AR. AR allows instruction to be tailored
to a particular worker’s experience or to reflect the prevalence of
particular errors. For example, if someone repeatedly makes the same
kind of mistake, he can be required to use AR support until his work
quality improves. At some companies, AR has reduced the training time
for new employees in certain kinds of work to nearly zero and lowered
the skill requirements for new hires. This is especially advantageous
for the package delivery company DHL, which faces surges in demand
during peak seasons and is heavily dependent on the effective hiring and
training of temporary workers. By providing real-time training and
hands-on guidance on navigating warehouses and properly packing and
sorting materials, AR has reduced how to resolve issues, producing an
11% reduction in overall costs for service teams, a 17% decrease in
work-error rates, and higher repair quality.
Refer to below chart for the Changes from Global Data Warehouse
Xerox used AR to connect field engineers with experts instead of
providing service manuals and telephone support. First-time fix rates
increased by 67%, and the engineers’ efficiency jumped by 20%.
Meanwhile, the average time it took to resolve problems dropped by two
hours, so staffing needs fell. Now Xerox is using AR to connect remote
technical experts directly with customers. This has increased by 76% the
rate at which technical problems are resolved by customers without any
on-site help, cutting travel costs for Xerox and minimizing downtime for
customers. Perhaps not surprisingly, Xerox has seen its customer
satisfaction rates rise to 95%.
Once Global Data Warehouse project 100% implementation, finance will
change from current state to focus on “what happened” and “why” to
future state to focus on “what will happen” and “what should we do”.
That is great changes on business analytics transformation.
Human resources. Early AR adopters like DHL, the U.S. Navy, and Boeing
have already discovered the power of delivering step-by-step visual
worker training on DHL’s need for traditional instructors and increased
the onboarding speed for new employees.
AR AND STRATEGY
It may spend millions of dollars and it may suffer a lot of pain points
during the transformation. But from the long run, it is worthy of it.
Analytics is changing the way we do business.
AR will have a widespread impact on how companies compete. As we’ve
explained in our previous HBR articles, SCPs are changing the structure
of almost all industries as well as the nature of competition within
them—often expanding industry boundaries in the process. SCPs give rise
to new strategic choices for manufacturers, ranging from what
functionality to pursue and how to manage data rights and security, to
whether to expand a company’s scope of products and compete in smart
systems. The increasing penetration of AR, along with its power as the
human interface with SCP technologies, raises some new strategic
questions. While the answers will reflect each company’s business and
unique circumstances, AR will become more and more integral to every
In the Big Data Era, in order to survive and achieve sustainable growth,
the company needs to keep evolving to become even more global, more of a
software company, and more nimble in a new era. In the meanwhile, as
commercial finance, embracing analytics culture, we need to recognize
data as an asset, link analysis to value and link analysis to action. We
need to think about analytics all the time to ensure we are on the right
track and taking the right approach on:
Here are the essential questions companies face:
• Improving revenue growth, margin expansion, and free cash flow
What is the range of AR opportunities in the industry, and in what
sequence should they be pursued? Companies must weigh AR’s potential
impact on customers, product capabilities, and the value chain.
How will AR reinforce a company’s product differentiation? AR opens
up multiple differentiation paths. It can create companion experiences
that expand the capabilities of products, give customers more
information, and increase product loyalty. AR interfaces that enhance
products’ functionality or ease of use can be big differentiators, as
can those that substantially improve product support, service, and
uptime. And AR’s capacity to provide new kinds of feedback on how
customers use products can help companies uncover further opportunities
for product differentiation. The right differentiation path will depend
on a company’s existing strategy; what competitors are doing; and the
pace of technology advances, especially in hardware.
Where will AR have the greatest impact on cost reduction? AR enables
new efficiencies that every firm must explore.As we’ve noted, it can
significantly lower the cost of training, service, assembly, design, and
other parts of the value chain. It can also substantially cut
manufacturing costs by reducing the need for physical interfaces. Each
company will need to prioritize AR-driven cost-reduction efforts in a
way that’s consistent with its strategic positioning. Firms with
sophisticated products will need to capitalize on AR’s superior and
low-cost interface, while many commodity producers will focus on
operational efficiencies across the value chain. In consumer industries
and retail, marketing-related visualize applications are the most likely
starting point. In manufacturing, instruct applications are achieving
the most immediate payoff by addressing inefficiencies in engineering,
production, and service. And AR’s interact capability, though still
emerging, will be important across all industries with products that
have customization and complex control capabilities.
• Improving pricing decision
• Improving integrated supply chain productivity
- Should the company make AR design and deployment a core strength, or
will outsourcing or partnering be sufficient? Many firms are
scrambling to access the digital talent needed for AR development, which
is in short supply. One skill in great demand is user experience or user
interface (UX/UI) design. It’s critical to present 3-D digital
information in ways that make it easy to absorb and act on; companies
want to avoid making a stunning but unhelpful AR experience that defeats
its core purpose. Effective AR experiences also require the right
content, so people who know how to create and manage it—another novel
skill—are crucial too. Digital modeling capabilities and knowledge of
how to apply them in AR applications are key as well. Over time we
expect companies to create teams dedicated to AR, just as they set up
such teams to build and run websites in the 1990s and 2000s. Dedicated
teams will be needed to establish the infrastructure that will allow
this new medium to flourish and to develop and maintain the AR content.
Many firms have started to build AR skills in-house, but few have
mastered them yet. Whether to hire and train AR employees or partner
with specialty software and services companies is an open question for
many. Some companies have no choice but to treat AR talent as a
strategic asset and invest in acquiring and developing it, given AR’s
potentially large impact on competition in their business. However, if
AR is important but not essential to competitive advantage, firms can
partner with specialty software and services companies to leverage
outside talent and technology.
Last but not least, I like the word “Data is the new oil and analytics
are the new refinery”. It was quoted by many people recently although I
don’t know where is the original. As long as you are a finance leader
with wisdom, I trust big data era bring you more opportunities rather
than challenges. Robots do the simple work and release us to do high
The challenges, time, and cost involved in building the full set of AR
technologies we have described are significant, and specialization
always emerges in each component. In the early stages of AR, the number
of technology and service suppliers has been limited, and companies have
built internal capabilities. However, best-ofbreed AR vendors with
turnkey solutions are starting to appear, and it will become
increasingly difficult for in-house efforts to keep up with them.
- How will AR change communications with stakeholders? AR complements
existing print and 2-D digital communication approaches and in some
cases can replace them altogether. Yet we see AR as much more than just
another communication channel. It is a fundamentally new means of
engaging with people. Just consider the novel way it helps people absorb
and act on information and instructions. The web, which began as a way
to share technical reports, ultimately transformed business, education,
and social interaction. We expect that AR will do the same thing for
communication—changing it in ways far beyond what we can envision today.
Companies will need to think creatively about how they can use this
“Internet of Things Global Standards Initiative”. ITU. Retrieved 26 June
Note: Original. Welcome to repost but please give sources if citing
another article or passage.
AR applications are already being piloted and deployed in products and
across the value chain, and their number and breadth will only grow.
Every company needs an implementation road map that lays out how the
organization will start to capture the benefits of AR in its business
while building the capabilities needed to expand its use. When
determining the sequence and pace of adoption, companies must consider
both the technical challenges and the organizational skills involved,
which vary from context to context. Specifically, organizations need to
address five key questions:
- Which development capabilities will be required? Some AR experiences
involve more complexity than others.Experiences that allow people to
visualize products in different configurations or settings—like those
created by IKEA, Wayfair, and AZEK—are a relatively easy place for
companies to start. Consumers just need to be encouraged to download and
launch AR apps, and only a mobile device is needed to use them.
Instruction applications, like the ones Boeing and GE employ in
manufacturing, are more difficult to build and use. They require the
capacity to develop and maintain dynamic 3-D digital content and often
benefit greatly from the use of headmounted displays or smart glasses,
which are still in the early stages of development. Apps that produce
interactive experiences, which create significant value for both
consumers and businesses, are the most challenging to develop. They also
involve less-mature technology, such as voice or gesture recognition,
and the need to integrate with software that controls SCPs. Most
companies will start with static visualizations of 3-D models, but they
should build the capability to move quickly into dynamic instructional
experiences that have greater strategic impact.
How should organizations create digital content? Every AR experience,
from the least to the most sophisticated, requires content. In some
cases it’s possible to repurpose existing digital content, such as
product designs. Over time, however, more-complex, dynamic contextual
experiences must be built from scratch, which requires specialized
expertise. Simple applications, such as an ARenhanced furniture catalog,
may need only basic product representations. More-sophisticated business
instruction applications, however, such as those used for machine
repair, will require accurate and highly detailed digital product
representations. Companies can create these by adapting CAD models used
in product development or by using digitization techniques such as 3-D
scanning. The most sophisticated AR experiences also need to tap
real-time data streams from enterprise business systems, SCPs, or
external data sources and integrate them into the content. To prepare
for broadening the AR portfolio, companies should take an inventory of
existing 3-D digital assets in CAD and elsewhere and invest in digital
How will AR applications recognize the physical environment? To
accurately superimpose digital information on the physical world, AR
technologies must recognize what they’re looking at. The simplest
approach is to determine the location of the AR device using, say, GPS
and show relevant information for that location without anchoring it to
a specific object. This is known as an “unregistered” AR experience.
Vehicle heads-up navigation displays typically work this way.
Higher-value “registered” experiences anchor information to specific
objects. They can do this through markers, such as bar codes, logos, or
labels, which are placed on the objects and scanned by the user with an
AR device. A more powerful approach, however, uses technology that
recognizes objects by comparing their shape to a catalog of 3-D models.
This allows a maintenance technician, for example, to instantly
recognize and interact with any type of equipment he or she is
responsible for maintaining and to do so from any angle. While markers
are a good starting point, shape-recognition technologies are advancing
quickly, and organizations will need the capability to use them to tap
into many of the highest-value AR applications.
What AR hardware is required? AR experiences aimed at broad consumer
audiences have typically been designed for smartphones, taking advantage
of their simplicity and ubiquity. For moresophisticated experiences,
companies use tablets, which offer larger screens, better graphics, and
greater processing power. Since tablet penetration is lower, companies
will often provide them to users. For certain high-value
applications—notably those in aircraft and automobiles—manufacturers are
building dedicated AR heads-up displays into their products—a costly
Eventually, however, most AR applications for service, manufacturing,
and even product interfaces will require head-mounted displays that free
users’hands. This technology is currently both immature and expensive,
but we expect that affordable smart glasses will become widely available
in the next few years and will play a major part in releasing AR’s full
power. Microsoft, Google, and Apple now offer AR technologies optimized
for their own devices. However, most organizations should take a
cross-platform approach that allows AR experiences to be deployed across
multiple brands of phones and tablets and should make sure they’re ready
for smart glasses when they arrive.
- Should you use a softwaredevelopment or a content-publishing model?
Many early AR experiences have been delivered through stand-alone
software applications that are downloaded, complete with digital
content, to a phone or a tablet. This approach creates reliable,
high-resolution experiences and allows organizations to make apps that
don’t require internet connectivity. The problem with this model is that
any change to the AR experience requires software developers to rewrite
the app, which can create expensive bottlenecks.
An emerging alternative uses commercial AR-publishing software to create
AR content and host it in the cloud. The AR experience can then be
downloaded on demand using a general-purpose app running on an AR
device. Like website content, the AR content can be updated or
supplemented without changing the software itself—an important benefit
when large amounts of information and frequent content changes are
involved.The content-publishing model will become common as more and
more machines and products include real-time AR interaction and control.
A content-publishing capability is essential to scaling AR up across the
THE BROADER IMPACT
The digital revolution, with its SCPs and explosion of data, is
unleashing productivity and unlocking value across the economy.
Increasingly, the constraint is not a lack of data and knowledge but how
to assimilate and act on them—in other words, the interface with humans.
AR is emerging as a leading solution to this challenge.
At the same time, the rapid evolution of machine learning and automation
is raising serious concerns about human opportunity. Will there be
enough jobs for everyone, especially for people without advanced
education and knowledge? In a world of artificial intelligence and
robots, will humans become obsolete?
It is easy to conclude that new technology diminishes human opportunity.
Yet new inventions have been replacing human labor for centuries, and
they have led to growth in employment, not a decline. Technology has
dramatically increased our productivity and our standard of living It
has given rise to new kinds of offerings that meet new needs and require
new types of workers. Many of today’s jobs involve products and services
that did not even exist a hundred years ago. A lesson of history is that
today’s digital revolution will generate new waves of innovation and new
kinds of work that we cannot yet imagine.
The role of humans in this future is misunderstood. People have unique
strengths that machines and algorithms will not replicate anytime soon.
We have sophisticated motor skills—well beyond what robots are capable
of today—that allow us to do the subtle manipulation that’s needed in,
say, replacing a machine part or wiring a turbine. Even relatively less
skilled work, such as drawing blood, pruning a garden, or repairing a
flat tire, requires human dexterity and defies automation. Human
cognition adapts instantaneously to novel situations; people easily
adjust the way they interpret information, solve problems, exercise
judgment, and take action to suit their circumstances. Humans have
flexibility, imagination, intuition, and creative ability that for the
foreseeable future are beyond the reach of any machine.
While the advances in artificial intelligence and robotics are
impressive, we believe that combining the capabilities of machines with
humans’ distinctive strengths will lead to far greater productivity and
more value creation than either could generate alone. What’s needed to
realize this opportunity is a powerful human interface that bridges the
gap between the digital and physical worlds. We see AR as a historic
innovation that provides this. It helps humans enhance their own
capabilities by taking full advantage of new digital knowledge and
machine capabilities. It will profoundly change training and skill
development, allowing people to perform sophisticated work without
protracted and expensive conventional instruction—a model that is
inaccessible to so many today. AR, then, enables people to better tap
into the digital revolution and all it has to offer.