COVID-19 had significant impacts on business, one of the biggest areas was on-site visits. Except for specific situations, conducting face-to-face meetings was basically eliminated. But business had to continue, so as with many other things, an alternative solution had to be found.
Enter extended reality (XR), all real- and virtual-combined environments and human-machine interactions that are generated by computer technology and wearables. There are three forms of XR:
- Augmented reality (AR): virtual objects expand the real environment
- Mixed reality (MR): a new reality created by combining a virtual and real environment
- Virtual reality (VR): a 360-degree environment is generated
Faced with limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ancor obtained and implemented the Microsoft HoloLens 2 XR device to conduct on-site visits with customers, including Ford Motor Company. The technology allows our team members to take our supplier technical assistants (STAs) on a virtual tour of our facility, allowing customers to see exactly what our technicians see. For example, our printer operator can show a customer where the stock is stored, the location of printers and walk them through each step of our receiving and verification processes. And because it’s done in real time and is completely interactive, using XR means if a customer has a question about a part, process or tool, we can simply walk over to the relevant location to provide an answer or explanation.
There are many XR devices available, but we selected the Microsoft product because, as a Microsoft Gold Partner, our team members were already familiar with the software. This meant less time to get up and running – we were able to service customers using our XR device quickly and efficiently.
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