New Solutions to Old Problems
Advanced 3D mapping solutions, VR/AR, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are coming together in 2018 to forge bold new solutions to longstanding problems in nearly every industry. Three areas where these transformative technologies are making the greatest gains are wayfinding solutions, recruiting solutions, and training-and-safety solutions.
Organizations are using 3D mapping platforms to bring wayfinding to new heights with AR-enhanced routes and IoT-powered indoor positioning systems. Employers are immersing remote job candidates in virtual versions of their offices and company cultures, and may soon transition to VR-enhanced interviews. Finally, manufacturers are leveraging the IoT to enhance safety and training with such tools as eye-tracking glasses.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas and explore in detail how 3D mapping, VR/AR, and IoT are transforming them:
On a basic level, wayfinding is nothing more than the process of finding your way to a destination in physical space. However, on a more advanced level, it involves the full use of sophisticated tools and solutions that help you orient yourself, find the best route to your destination, and ensure that you arrive there as quickly and painlessly as possible. In the digital age, this process has been aided greatly by 3D mapping platforms with VR/AR enhancements that bring unprecedented precision, detail, and context to advanced wayfinding solutions.
For example, tech-savvy retirement communities are using 3D mapping solutions to help their visitors, such as prospective residents and their family, tour their grounds. With the help of sophisticated, interactive solutions, these communities are allowing visitors to track their precise progress along the tour with their mobile devices. Sophisticated 3D mapping solutions are also using augmented reality (AR) to provide easy-to-follow directions and other enhancements, such as arrows and icons superimposed onto the live camera stream of a smartphone, to help guide visitors to their destinations.
The IoT is also playing a critical role in advanced indoor wayfinding through the use of Bluetooth radio transmitters and beacons, such as Apple’s iBeacon. These tiny units interact with your smartphone to greatly improve upon the capabilities of GPS, which generally struggles to achieve precision in indoor environments. Several international airports, for example, have already installed thousands of these beacons in order to create an effective indoor positioning system that greatly improves wayfinding.
In order to attract top talent when an in-person visit is too expensive or impractical, employers are beginning to immerse their job candidates in VR versions of their offices and company cultures. While this feat would have been out of reach a decade ago, the rise of VR/AR and advanced 3D mapping software in recent years is making it entirely feasible for tech-savvy companies in 2018.
For example, the ambitious e-commerce platform and Amazon competitor Jet is already immersing their job candidates in a VR version of the Jet offices and team activities in stunning detail. Candidates can explore the fully open layout of the Jet offices, sit in on a Wednesday tech talk, or join the team for happy hour looking out over the Hudson River. The entire experience details a full week in the life of a Jet employee.
VR can also transform the traditional job interview. Using VR as a job interview tool can greatly expand the effectiveness of the interview process as the employer immerses the candidate in realistic job situations that challenge them in ways that words alone cannot. For example, rather than asking a job candidate how they would handle themselves in a difficult negotiation, the interviewer can use a VR platform to place the candidate in a simulation of the negotiation itself! The interviewer can then see how they perform in the virtual environment.
Training and safety
The IoT is well on its way to transforming job training and safety in every major industry. One of the best examples of what is possible for the future is the use of eye-tracking glasses. To avoid accidents and guide worker training, these sophisticated glasses gather information on the eye movements of workers involved in tasks that require a high degree of attentiveness and focus. Many manufacturing companies already require their workers to wear protective glasses as a safety precaution when performing these tasks. However, manufacturers are now taking glasses into the digital age by having them gather data and participate in the IoT with tangible results.
For example, metal foundry H&H Castings makes use of eye-tracking glasses to reduce worker accidents and improve training. Pouring liquid metal into a casting mold is a dangerous task that requires an extremely high degree of concentration. If the worker takes their eyes off the process at the wrong moment, disaster can result. Therefore, H&H Casting wanted to take every precaution and leverage all available technology to increase worker focus while minimizing safety risk. With this goal in mind, the eye-tracking glasses gather their workers’ gaze data in order to help the metal foundry discover their workers’ precise visual focusing patterns and habits. H&H Casting can then use the gathered data to help their workers improve their visual skill set, which will in turn reduce accidents and guide their training.
The Intersection of IoT, VR/AR and 3D Mapping
In 2018, three key emerging technologies are coming together to build bold new solutions to longstanding problems: advanced 3D mapping solutions, VR/AR and IoT. As outlined above, wayfinding solutions, recruiting solutions, and training-and-safety solutions are three areas where these transformative technologies are making the greatest gains.
In 2018, wayfinding is becoming far more sophisticated as organizations couple 3D mapping with AR and IoT enhancements to create engaging, interactive routes and precise indoor positioning systems. We’re also seeing employers immersing remote job candidates in virtual versions of their offices and cultures, with VR-enhanced interviews sure to follow. Finally, these transformative technologies are changing the landscape of safety and training as illustrated in the example of eye-tracking glasses that help workers keep their eyes on the task at hand.