Business and Human Resources leaders around the world are rethinking how they manage and enable their remote work policies as they prepare contingency plans for COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus that is spreading across the globe. While those with office jobs will lean on existing business applications and web conferencing tools in order to facilitate working remotely, industrial companies face a different set of challenges when it comes to ensuring the safety of frontline employees while meeting the needs of customers.

How will they protect the well-being of their factory- and field-based employees without a massive disruption to operations as health organizations around the world battle to get the virus under control?

Scaling expertise with augmented reality

Remote assistance solutions offer an answer to the challenges of remote work in the form of “see-what-I-see” augmented reality experiences, which industrial companies can use to deliver exclusive expert guidance and subject matter expertise to employees and customers in other locations—without having to send someone physically on-site. AR-enabled remote assistance is more impactful than a simple teleconference because remote employees can quickly overlay digital annotations onto their shared view of the environment, enabling the person who is on-site to make real-time repairs or perform critical maintenance more efficiently and effectively by connecting them with real-time expert insights into the task at hand.

With remote working arrangements and potential quarantines on the rise, it’s important that more employees have access to the information and processes that are necessary to maintaining business continuity. On factory floors, frontline employees can use AR remote assistance to get over-the-shoulder troubleshooting support from experts located elsewhere so they can avoid prolonged downtime. In customer service situations, technicians can use AR to guide customers through self-service procedures as if they were standing side-by-side. In both scenarios, subject matter experts can scale years’ worth of hands-on experience from a remote location in a way that’s simple and straightforward.

On-demand employee training

Many industrial organizations may be forced to bring in new or temporary workers to keep their businesses running as travel restrictions and health-related safeguards are implemented. AR-enabled training and work instructions make it easier for those organizations to train, upskill, and mentor new employees by turning institutional knowledge into an experiential learning experience that can be accessed on-demand and in-context.

AR not only benefits new recruits by improving their understanding, accuracy, confidence and safety, it can also help expert employees to capture and scale their procedural knowledge, without having to travel anywhere to conduct training or assist customers. With AR knowledge capture solutions, subject matter experts can create content and then easily publish it to employees or customers across the globe.

Keeping employees safe and businesses running

Industrial businesses face unique challenges in how they should prepare for COVID-19. Whether you’re investing in AR to tackle an immediate health issue or as part of a longer-term remote work strategy, you should consider how the tool will work for your employees. Out-of-the-box solutions that are simple for on-site employees or customers to use will make scaling your business-critical expertise easier. More importantly, enabling efficient and productive remote work arrangements that scale quickly can help your business overcome travel restrictions while keeping its frontline employees safe.

Want to learn how to address your most pressing business challenges with AR? Download our Industrial AR Buyer’s Guide.

choose the right augmented reality solution

About the Author

Greg Kaminsky Greg is a technology blogger telling real stories about industrial innovation, digital transformation, and futurism in the workplace. As a Content Marketing Manager at PTC, Greg is helping business leaders discover how augmented reality and the internet of things are empowering frontline employees, driving productivity, and differentiating brands.