Low Code Future 5 - Trend 1: In Process Intelligence and Automation With Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) made waves in 2016, is expected to mature even further in 2017, and is mentioned frequently in trends stories. For example, a USA Today article stated that in 2017 you should “expect to see some major improvements in the world of AR and VR headsets, as well as the range and quality of content created for those devices.” It has become important to understand AR, learn how to apply it to different scenarios, and examine how companies can begin taking advantage of it by using K2 solutions, as we’ll show below.

AR isn’t necessarily new. L. Frank Baum predicted AR in 1901 in his story “The Master Key,” in which a boy is given spectacles that, while he’s wearing them, show a letter on the forehead of everyone he meets, indicating that person’s character. Sound somewhat familiar? What about Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens or Pokémon GO? All are examples of a different type of AR that Daniel Saurez described in his 2009 fiction novel, “Daemon.” So the question is, how does this change how we enable people to be more effective at what they do?

Technology such as mobile devices and virtual reality (VR) headsets creates the gateway for a new world of using, interacting with and acting on information. Up until the advent of AR, mobile phones were just another way to carry apps so we could take our work everywhere. This has certainly improved productivity, but it hasn’t necessarily changed the way we use information, perform our work, or see the world and the opportunities around us.

Combine these devices, the vast amounts of data they are producing and transmitting, then match that with big data and pattern analyses, and you can see how we can empower professionals in different industries to provide better service to their customers at much more cost-effective levels as environments are visualized for them in an augment of the physical world. 

ImageImagine mechanics being able to view vehicle identification numbers to immediately see diagnostic information overlaid virtually on vehicles, highlighting areas that need attention, manufacturer recall and service information, and preventative maintenance recommendations.

Mechanics could also receive information about which part is likely to fail next based on information from big data and analytics stored in a shared database that is automatically updated by mechanics when they complete a repair. Further, mechanics could speak to a device to initiate a digital workflow that automatically orders parts, requests pickup of parts or schedules a safety check — all based on information presented through AR — all engaging the right people and steps at the right time. 

In the board game Operation, a scary buzzing sound “shocks” you into realizing you just failed your patient. Apply AR and VR in a more profound manner and imagine doctors being able to perform operations in a virtual reality environment with three possible outcomes — success, an unexpected problem or failure. Each could trigger a number of processes that require people to respond and interact differently, with staff and across systems, let alone ensure patient safety. 

An intern, a doctor training for a new procedure, or the introduction of new medical devices could all benefit from this VR experience. When they succeed in the VR world, they can progress to AR where information is immediately available about tools, patients and procedures and where they are working in the real world with a real patient. Image

The reward of this approach is the reduction of education and residency time from say eight years to five years or rapid response to unexpected issues that leverages machine learning to determine actions based on the interactions within the virtual simulations. Or, streamline the processes to automatically update families on patient condition, or update “paperwork” for staff review as they walk by patients’ rooms, or see patients’ digital charts once their vitals are confirmed online. Intrigued? Here are more ways from MedicalFuturist.com to apply AR in HealthCare.

Think of the implications for healthcare, manufacturing, education — even HR, logistics, finance and troubleshooting issues holistically. Think of all the business processes and workflows you could transform to make your business more agile, productive and efficient.

Consider the data analysis you do across many environments, the apps deployed in your business, and how much time you spend moving in and out of these different systems. Business processes require rich data analysis to inform the next step or decision, capabilities that are inherent in K2 today, but with AR we could take this to a new level. Instead of scrolling on your mobile through emails or tasks device that require manual approval, or staring at reporting and monitoring dashboards, imagine being able to use a headset that presents 3-D data models all around you, positioned in the way that makes sense to you.

Perhaps items are bolded to grab your attention or a flashing alert informs you of bottlenecks in your globally deployed processes. In AR you could be presented with correction options based on machine learning algorithms that provide the best possible options. You’ll be able to contextualize information to make decisions faster, take immediate action, and consume more information simply by having an infinite 360-degree space. Not a static laptop screen, this AR space shows a global view of the process performance and instead of meeting over chat technology, you could discuss your analysis with expert colleagues from across the world by inviting them into your AR workspace to discuss the bottleneck by looking at the process in real time using K2 ViewFlow. Then, you can take immediate corrective action to keep your process automation running efficiently.

The opportunities for seamlessly connecting the digital world with the physical world in an augmented visual way are endless. The question, however, is how do companies build and run solutions that can harness all this new potential without breaking the bank on engineering resources? That’s where K2 comes in; as we dream of these possibilities, we wake up to make them a reality. One in which you can consume and apply these technologies at scale, in a simpler fashion that doesn’t require highly skilled resources. And, one in which more of your people can contribute to these transformations without needing to be scientists — so everyone is contributing to the transformation and innovation of your business. That’s what we at K2 aim to make possible with AR in the future as the technology is democratized.

What do you think about AR? Do you think it will see the same amount of progress in 2017, or more? Join the conversation on LinkedIn or Twitter using #LowCodeFuture5.