How augmented reality can improve your service reality

You’re already using augmented reality. Every time you turn a football game on TV, augmented reality shows you the first down marker, the line of scrimmage and the yardage your team has to move the ball. Today’s heavy-duty service training solutions bring that same enhanced view of your shop to your lineup of technicians.

You’re already using augmented reality. Every time you turn a football game on TV, augmented reality shows you the first down marker, the line of scrimmage and the yardage your team has to move the ball. Today’s heavy-duty service training solutions bring that same enhanced view of your shop to your lineup of technicians. 

“With some new technicians, they don’t know where the sensors or specific components are on the truck. Augmented reality can be as simple as identifying where those service points are and how they can access them,” said Matt Johnston, division head of commercial solutions for Design Interactive Inc., which is bringing its Augmentor service training augmented reality technology to the market. 

Augmentor is a software platform that can be utilized by augmented reality devices available from the likes of Microsoft and Google. These headsets lay images over the view of the real world you see through oversized glasses. The software also will be available using your Android or iOS device. 

Imagine doing a PM inspection and seeing inspection points appearing as pins on the truck, complete with inspection instructions that hover within a window. The technology offers an opportunity to level up an unexperienced technician’s game with service processes created by your master techs.

Consider tire service training. 

“I visited a fleet and noticed that they had thirteen out-of-service tires up against the wall of the training facility at their headquarters—not their maintenance facility—and each one had a different wear pattern on them,” Johnston recalled. “To train their techs, they had to bring them from the maintenance facility to the headquarters or they had to have a training event somewhere. That means high travel cost for techs or the cost to ship the tires. But with augmented reality, we can put a virtual example of that tire in front of a tech at his location.

“I don’t need the physical tire. I just have to click a button, and I can make it available to every single maintenance technician across the entire workforce instantaneously.”

Johnston said that compliance was one of the biggest fleet challenges when it comes to training technicians. 

“Their challenge was to make sure that every single person across all of  their facilities was doing the exact thing,” he said. “With augmented reality and a headset, you’re connected. If you need a procedure to help the technician do something that he’s less familiar with, augmented reality can guide him at the asset.”

In Johnston’s view, this technology will be instrumental in brining the next generation of technician to the bay—a generation that is already gaming with VR and AR headsets and would expect to see that technology when they enter the workplace, just as they will use their mobile phones for business and not just Fortnite

“It’s the same console that your children are going to ask for this Christmas,” he said. “The technology is ubiquitous. It’s available. It’s largely inexpensive, relatively speaking. And it’s becoming an expectation by the workforce.”

Currently, Augmentor content is developed by customers in conjunction with supplier service training material. The software comes with a web portal for creating, editing and distributing training modules to Android and iOS mobile devices and HoloLens headsets. The training materials can be deployed across multiple locations via the cloud.