Industrial AR: What is it? Why is it Important? How is it Challenged?

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Executive Summary

Industrial AR: Benefits and Barriers

One of augmented reality’s (AR) proposed beneficiaries is the enterprise. That can take many forms including data visualization in corporate settings, or software to create customer-facing AR experiences for brands. Impact will also occur through AR visualization in industrial settings.

The latter includes things like assembly and maintenance in manufacturing facilities. The idea is that AR’s line-of-sight visualization can guide front-line workers. Compared to the “mental mapping” they otherwise do with 2D instructions, line-of-sight support makes them more productive.

This plays out in a few ways including speed, effectiveness, error reduction and safety. These micro efficiencies can add up to worthwhile bottom-line impact in large-scale operations. Macro benefits meanwhile include lower strain and turnover, leading to higher morale and institutional knowledge.

These benefits were examined in ARtillery Intelligence’s February 2018 report, Enterprise XR: Impacting the Bottom Line. But since that analysis, we’ve tracked several growing challenges to AR’s viability and implementation in industrial operations. The picture may not be as rosy as we all thought.

For example, though all of the advantages outlined above are valid, it’s challenging to get to the point of realizing them. Practical and logistical barriers stand in the way such as organizational inertia, politics, change management and fear of new technology among key stakeholders.

The biggest symptom of these stumbling blocks is the dreaded “pilot purgatory.” As its name suggests, and as you may have heard in AR industry narratives, this is when AR is adopted at the pilot stage, but never progresses to full deployment. It’s the biggest pain point in industrial AR today.

In a recent analysis with Re’Flekt, ARtillery Intelligence identified the sources and solution areas for these challenges: the “Three P’s.” Comprising People, Product & Process, they’re the top areas where effective AR implementation strategies should focus in order to avoid pilot purgatory.

For product, it’s all about addressing real operational pain points, uncovered through ground-level research. For people, it’s about customizing AR’s ROI story to individuals at all levels of the organization. For process, it’s about multi-disciplinary prototyping rather than top-down innovation.

We’ll go deeper on all of these in the coming pages, including demonstrable case studies. We’ll examine industrial AR’s benefits and barriers. This entails everything from product planning to internal communications refinement. The name of the game is to set up industrial AR to succeed.


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Excerpt:  Product/Market Fit

Beyond the people that represent barriers to AR success, there’s also the product itself. Its success hinges on a few main factors that should be considered when in development and strategic planning. They include product/market fit as well as a deliberate and targeted user experience.

Right Tool For the Job

Enterprise technology adoption is a microcosm of open market dynamics. So just as “product/market fit” is a key success factor in consumer technology products, it can make or break successful enterprise deployments. And the name of the game is deploying AR where it can have real impact.

This thinking is grounded in the fact that AR is not a “silver bullet” and it excels in some areas more than others. For example, AR’s visualization advantages can be most effective in jobs that require guidance for complex and non-repetitive tasks such as large-equipment maintenance.

Conversely, it’s less effective in jobs that involve repetitive simple task such as assembly line work. With this type of work, front-line workers are already well-equipped by “muscle memory.” Therefore AR products deployed in these settings will fail to add any value or gain traction.

“You don’t want to use AR to help somebody change the oil in your car,” said Atheer’s Amer Diawali at AWE. “You train somebody to change the oil, because that is a task that they’re going to be doing repeatedly. “They should be able to do it without having to read any instructions.”

Target the Right Markets

Beyond targeting the right job functions for AR, it’s likewise important to target the right companies and industry verticals. ARtillery Intelligence’s recent AR revenue forecast mapped industry-specific AR adaptiveness based on factors such as spending power and product fit (see slide below).

By targeting markets that score high on these criteria, adoption likelihood is greater. For example, education has a high product fit but low spending power. Medicine has high product fit but low regulatory autonomy. Military has high spending power, regulatory freedom and product fit.

Price: $499 

This report is available by subscribing to ARtillery PRO, You can also purchase it for $499. This includes a briefing with the report’s author to discuss takeaways and answer any questions you may have.



This report highlights ARtillery’s Intelligence viewpoints, gathered from its daily in-depth coverage of the XR sector. To support the narrative, data are cited throughout the report. These include ARtillery Intelligence original data, as well as that of third parties. Data sources are attributed in each case.

For market sizing and forecasting, ARtillery Intelligence follows disciplined best practices, developed and reinforced through its principles’ 15 years in tech sector research and intelligence. This includes the past 2.5 years covering AR & VR exclusively, as seen in research reports and daily reporting.

Furthermore, devising these figures involves the “bottom-up” market-sizing methodology, which involves granular ad revenue dynamics such as campaign pricing and spending. More about ARtillery Intelligence methodology can be seen here, and market-sizing credentials can be seen here.

Disclosure and Ethics Statement

ARtillery Intelligence has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this report, nor received payment for its production. With respect to market sizing, ARtillery Intelligence remains independent of players and practitioners in the sectors it covers, thus mitigating bias in industry revenue calculations and projections. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen in full here.

Industrial AR: Benefits and Barriers

Price: $499 

This report is available by subscribing to ARtillery PRO, You can also purchase it for $499. This includes a briefing with the report’s author to discuss takeaways and answer any questions you may have.


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