AR and Mixed Reality More Disruptive Than AI, Report Claims

Manufacturers may only just be coming to terms with artificial intelligence (AI) and seeking to assess its potential value and impact but hold on: it is reported that some existing technologies, including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) will be more disruptive, more quickly.

 

Some technologies are born disruptive, some achieve disruption and some have disruption forced upon them.

GlobalData’s Emerging Technology Sentiment Analysis Q2 2021 reports that AR has replaced artificial intelligence (AI) at the top of the list of most disruptive emerging technologies. The findings were based on hundreds of responses from technologies executive to its regular online survey.  

A few numbers are worth highlighting.

In the last two quarters, the number of respondents perceiving AI as disruptive has been falling.

Approaching three-quarters (70%) of respondents said that they expected AR to deliver slight or significant disruption to their industry. This is quite a jump from the previous quarter, when only just over half (51%) said that they saw AR as disruptive.

Cybersecurity and cloud computing are already engaged in disruption, respondents maintain. The fact that both technologies are widespread and have clear use cases may have served to foster those responses.

Global Data’s survey focuses on seven emerging technologies: 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, blockchain, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and the Internet of Things.

Emerging technologies are often viewed with fear and/or suspicion, precisely because they are disruptive. The best-laid plans of companies across the world have to be rethought; strategies restructured; supply chains rethought. It can be an expensive business.

History has also taught us that businesses – especially manufacturers – who embrace new technologies often turn out to be the leaders, the most profitable and the most successful going forward, whether it be the assembly line pioneered by Ford or computerisation embraced by German auto manufacturers – although it must be conceded that the opportunities presented by on the Internet has been most visibly seen in retail, with the rise of Amazon, especially. 

Given the historical background of suspicion and reluctance it is, therefore, a pleasant surprise to see that 58% of respondents said that they have become more positive towards AR over the past 12 months – only cybersecurity had a higher positive rating.

The past year has seen business and industry severely disrupted by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The upheavals brought about by external and internal disruption, actual and potential, may be connecting. These responses may well be evidence of fundamental strategic rethinking.  

AR has already been adopted in some industries, for training especially; in April 2021, Delta Airlines announced that it would equip all flight attendants with AR technology delivered via 5G to enhance training and help staff with in-flight catering. It has been used for industrial assembly training and for improving performance and effectiveness of surgical operations.

5G may be crucial for effective adoption of AR/VR. In this edition of All Systems go Dijam Panigrahi, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of GridRaster, who develop and provide AR/VR solutions for manufacturers, discusses with Ruari McCallion how the technology already has and will continue to transform industries, including manufacturing.

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