Study Suggests Companies Reaping Benefits of Combining AR and IIoT

A new study offers fascinating insights into how companies are crafting industrial IoT and augmented reality experiences

Published by PTC, the “State of Industrial Innovation” study represents an ongoing analysis from the ThingWorx maker which explores market and adoption trends in industrial internet of things and mixed reality – two fields becoming more robust and complex as they evolve and intertwine.

AR adoption is increasing at a rapid pace. With enterprises in the midst of digital transformation, those looking to keep up cannot afford to delay adopting AR technology. Enterprises need to determine the business case across a wide range of potential AR applications: Customers are expecting better experiences when dealing with enterprises, and AR can play a crucial role in providing innovative services, solutions, and products. AR used internally is crucial as well, as it allows employees to be more productive and provide better interactions with customers.


PTC’s report aims to focus on strategic differentiation; that is, how effectively companies are using AR to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The report shows that companies are reaping the benefits of AR technologies, often experiencing a return on their investment within a year. This high pace of adoption, PTC notes, presents tremendous opportunity but also the potential for disruption across entire industries.

Remote Monitor and Maintenance

IoT’s potential use cases are broad, but for industrial IoT, AR’s most beneficial use case may be remote monitoring and maintenance. We recently spoke to PTC’s Chirag Mehta to hear how BAE Systems are using augmented reality to help train new staff.

Usage differs between small and large companies, with smaller companies aiming to increase their market share by offering unique products and services to stand out from their competitors. Large companies, by contrast, typically have substantial interior service capabilities, and their industrial IoT focus lies more on increasing their productivity and efficiency. Mike Campbell, EVP for AR at PTC believes “the window to leverage AR to differentiate is limited”.

In compiling this report, we observed that pilots start with internal proofs of concept and quickly become deployed across multiple areas, including customer-facing product and service initiatives. Enterprises and consumers alike are on the verge of truly experiencing the transformative power of augmented reality.

The power of remote monitoring is clear to enterprises, and PTC found that they’re often implementing IoT technology in parallel with other technologies. Remote monitoring can serve as a foundation for innovative ideas. This provides a layer upon which many enterprises are building machine learning and predictive analytics. One of the most powerful features of this new technology is being able to predict failures ahead of time, helping customers best use their products. Manufacturers can also use this technology to find service opportunities that would go unnoticed internally or by third-parties.


Varian stands as an excellent example of how industrial IoT can transform companies. The manufacturer of radiation oncology equipment was able to reduce the cost of their service by using IoT technology to improve the uptime of their machines. Predictive maintenance, in particular, has proven to be beneficial; Varian was able to reduce the frequency of service trips to their machines by 42 percent, saving a considerable amount of labor costs and reducing inconvenience to customers.