Using augmented reality to transform real-time collaboration

04/29/2020

Industrial applications of augmented and virtual reality promise to transform how we share crucial knowledge and experience through connected devices. For us, it’s more than a promise – we’re putting these technologies to work for business by developing, testing and implementing an internal augmented reality (AR) app.

 

Our fully implemented platform makes the expertise of our global company available when it’s needed, where it’s needed. For you, that means a partner who can deliver with faster collaboration, less downtime and more flexible, efficient processes.

 

AR and VR bring real-time collaboration to industry 

 

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) aren’t just for gaming anymore. According to a 2020 report by VR Intelligence, 65% of AR companies surveyed are working on industrial applications, while just 37% are focused on consumer products and software.

 

In this era of industry 4.0, cyber-physical systems require people and machines to be in constant communication, which means teams need real-time forms of collaboration and troubleshooting.

 

Our global workforce demands decentralized expertise

 

With operations across more than 100 sites in 30 different countries, we understand the complexities of knowledge sharing in a global network. Our efforts to distribute our rich network of expertise between Flex sites around the world began more than two years ago. A dedicated team of developers, engineers and user interface (UI) experts went to work answering the question: How can we pair technicians with the right subject matter experts instantly, without crossing oceans?

 

The question also spoke to a broader market need for new ways to disperse tribal knowledge, or information gained only through shared experience. Since few spend an entire career at one company, the modern workforce demands faster, easier forms of knowledge sharing independent of physical location.  

Solving diverse problems faster with our remote assistance app  

 

Like a rideshare application, our remote assistance platform allows our employees to make their expertise available to colleagues on-demand. For example, a technician might encounter issues with a screen printer. That employee logs in to the application, indicates the type of expertise needed and selects from available experts within the company. Then the two can connect to troubleshoot an issue.

 

But this is no ordinary video call. Users can draw on the screen, make shapes, take pictures of what the other person is seeing, freeze the frame, ’walk’ around the line and more.

 

A platform with unexpected applications – and benefits  

 

Our global expertise is no longer limited to a region or single site – it’s available on one distributed network around the world. Although we initially imagined the platform as a tool for technicians on the floor of manufacturing facilities, it’s also become a company-wide vehicle for the transfer of information and experience. 

 

Our employees use it to carry out supplier audits, training programs across countries, product transfers, IT support – and more.  “Our employees are very creative,” says Zohair Mehkri, simulation and XR engineering manager at Flex. “You give them a tool, especially one that’s brand new, with no history, and they’ll think of some pretty phenomenal things, which is always really exciting.”

 

With diverse adoption comes a range of benefits. The platform breaks down physical barriers, reducing the need for travel and face-to-face interactions. As a company, we can design and develop your products faster with fewer resources thanks to less downtime and human error, all while better protecting our teams.

 

Transform your operations with our innovative manufacturing technologies 

 

As AR joins the wave of digital technologies reshaping product development and manufacturing, we’re helping define industry standards through our developments in both AR technology and intuitive UI design.

 

By incorporating AR technology into our workspaces, we’re making knowledge more shareable, technology more usable – and safety a priority for all our employees. As your partner, we’re ready to help you deliver faster than ever on your next product.

 

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