Selecting a Pilot AR Use Case
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Identifying a suitable area in which to run a pilot is important in ultimately having a successful project. We have seen successful projects in Remote Assistance, Procedure Following and Training spaces, taking place in manufacturing, maintenance and field operations, so there is not one area that is the obvious best. Though important, along with the use case and the department to host the project, there are several other factors to be considered.
The most important factor to the success of any project, but particularly an innovation project, is management buy-in. This means buy-in at the highest level of an organisation, but it also means at the department/team management level. We suggest proceeding with a pilot project where the management are bought in at every level.
A further element of management buy-in is making it visible to all in the organisation that the technology has backing from the highest levels of the organisation. This clear signal of commitment will help encourage the staff to provide the time and resources required to make it a success.
Appetite of the Team
Similar to the management, the team needs to be open to the new technology. This means both open-mindedness on their part, but also a clear benefit which will be achieved by using the technology. Some organisations closely link a team’s goals or bonus to quality or output level, while for others the benefits of the technology may be reduced stress or pressure.
Identifying the Benefits
Identifying for the team the benefits that they will see by implementing the project will help ensure team participation and ongoing acceptance of the technology. These benefits should be clear and everything should be done to ensure that they are achieved during the project.
Area in the Business
AR glasses can be used in many different ways. For many business, which area of the business should progress an AR project first is unclear. The trade-off between available budget, short term need, long term potential and staff willingness can cause paralysis. It is an important decision, but in the end most areas of the business will use AR in future, so which one goes first is less important. We suggest focusing on the people who will lead the project, rather than focusing too much on the relative merits of the different divisions of the business.
Once a team in the organisation is chosen, the use case that they will begin with is often the next discussion. This may be Remote Assistance, Procedure Following, Surveying, Training or some bespoke need in the organisation.
We suggest considering more than one use case for a team. That will increase the importance of the project and so encourage more time to be devoted to it. Like any device, if out of sight, then the AR glasses will be out of mind for the times that they are needed. The goal is to make the glasses be the obvious solution when the need arises.
A Results-Focused Project Manager
A vital factor in the success of any project in a large company is the appointment of a results-focused Project Manager (PM). This person can drive the resolution of any issues which crop up such as IT connectivity, security documentation, Standard Operating Procedure approval or simply procurement management. We suggest appointing a PM who is “into this sort of thing” and so can help champion the technology within the organisation. If they do their job correctly, everyone should be eager to help them to be a success so that they will be next in line to benefit from it as it is spread across the organisation.
A good pilot project is one with a defined end point and measurable results. In this case the end point does not mean stopping using the technology, rather the point at which we can measure whether it has been a success or not. The metrics for each business are different and needs to be thought through locally. We have seen projects where one Remote Assistance session in a month can be considered a very good result, while others where daily use of the technology is what is expected. It largely depends on the relative value of the intervention of the technology as well as the growth curve of usage in an organisation. The important thing is to identify the metrics on which it should be measured and making sure that it is possible to record them effectively.