What is mixed reality and is it right for your business

Having enabled productivity with desktop computing, mobile devices allowed people to take that capability and intelligence on a 2D screen.

Today, while information is everywhere, it is often not in the hands of first-line workers when and where they need it. I am talking about people who are working in front of customers and with day to day products.

Mixed reality allows us to blend digital and physical worlds, connecting their surrounding environments with relevant information, and empowering you to achieve more.

How do businesses use mixed reality?

Organizations have found valuable business applications for mixed reality in just about every industry. Applications with clear ROIs can be divided into a few areas:

remote Assistance
Training and work guidance
Spatial planning and analysis
Collaborative view
Microsoft has responded to the clear customer demand for turnkey solutions in these areas with a range of mixed reality products under the Dynamics 365 brand.

For example, a global energy provider uses Dynamics 365 Remote Assistance to connect technicians with remote specialists around the world. Together, they can troubleshoot problems in real-time to keep their tasks online and event-free.

Or take the example of an American truck manufacturer that improves its employee on-boarding and assembly line processes using the Dynamics 365 Guide. First-line activists using technology were vocal about how mixed reality-based guides give them confidence and the right to be effective in their jobs from day one.

Mixed reality also enables sales professionals in organizations to deliver a superior customer experience for product visualization. It also allows for more efficient planning of spaces through a Dynamics 365 layout. What is common in all these scenarios is the need to bring digital information into the physical context of the employees’ work.

How can mixed reality help your employees?

A good employee experience is essential for any successful business. Engaged and empowered employees are more productive, perform better, and stay with businesses for longer. A key part of this is providing them with the necessary skills to reach their full potential.

Take the manufacturing industry, where there is a huge difference between the number of skilled workers available and the number of jobs in many countries. In the US, 25% of workers will be eligible for retirement within the next two years. Therefore, 3.5 million jobs will be created in the next decade, only half of them will be filled due to lack of employment skills.

This provides the ideal opportunity to harness the mixed reality combined with the Mobility 365 Guide to empower your employees with the tools, expertise and skills they need to succeed professionally.

As you do your new job, imagine a set of instructions directed around you,

Enabling you to learn with both hands free, without distracting your new colleagues. With mixed reality, it is possible to digitally overlay information about real-world objects, making it easier for your team to understand a complex process and correct it first and every time. This shift from static 2D image, document and classroom training to interactive, on-the-job learning means that knowledge is immediately applied and retained.

Not only is training and activity more effective, but you also generate valuable data that can be used to improve that training experience for the rest of your team.

How will it change my business?

During this year’s Future Decoded event, I had the opportunity to discuss mixed reality with Microsoft partner DXC. The firm explained how important it is to understand the current way of working and training.

It is a world of classroom-based learning, PDF instruction and paper manuals. Companies like DXC are required to help businesses translate these traditional methods into mixed reality – an attractive combination of text, video, images, animations and 3D assets.

Dynamics 365 guides should also be intuitive and user friendly to add your employees. Holograms must be carefully selected and placed. Custom media is also sometimes required.

How do you follow your first successful project?

At the beginning of the journey, you want to start small. For example, proof of concept focused on a specific use case such as remote assistance, or training scenarios. It lets you become familiar with the technology, how to use it, how to maximize its value. With your eye on business impact undoubtedly, this is the ideal moment to establish ROI.

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