During Episode One of LiveWorx: The Limited Series, Work Methods Changing The Workplace, live viewers were able to submit their questions to PTC featured guests during the Impact of Technology Segment. Lori Austin, Senior Customer Success Coach at Arena, a PTC Business, Mike Campbell, EVP of Augmented Reality Products at PTC, Mike DiTullio, EVP & President of SaaS at PTC, and Sarah Reynolds, VP of Marketing at PTC had a dynamic conversation with Host, Katie Linendoll where they discussed all things SaaS, augmented reality for the enterprise, and supply chain resiliency. These are three main areas that have been heavily impacted by the global pandemic and/ or are tools that are enabling the new workforce of the future. If you haven't yet caught Episode One, sign up to watch it on-demand now!
While the featured guests weren't able to answer all questions live, we have taken the opportunity to answer them through this post. Here are some of the outstanding answers to viewers' burning questions!
Question: What has been the biggest hurdle for AR adoption for your customer base?
Answer: In general, there are three significant friction points as companies adopt augmented reality in the industrial enterprise.
- Overall Change Management: AR fundamentally changes the way people communicate, and does so in a deeply personal way – sometimes by placing a device on their head – and literally changing the way they see the world. It is critical to have a solid plan for managing people through that change, and exposing them to the technology in a way that makes it approachable with clear, demonstrated value.
- Digital Eyewear: Many use cases in the industrial enterprise require a hands-free deployment of AR, and while there have been dramatic improvements in eyewear (RealWear, HoloLens, Magic Leap, and others) over the past few years, we still don’t have the “Ray-Ban” form factor – lightweight, comfortable and useful (brightness, field of view, etc.) available in the market. I am confident that over the next couple of years, there will be a dramatic inflection point in the adoption of digital eyewear, and this will reduce this friction point, but in the meantime, those devices can add a lot of value where hands-free is a must. I should also note that the vast majority of our thousands of enterprise AR customers are quite happy using hand-held devices, which are of course pretty much ubiquitous.
- Content! It’s very common for a prospective AR customer to ask, “With what shall I augment reality?” That is, where do I get the content? And this is where working with PTC makes a tremendous impact. We are embracing the investments many companies have already made in the digital thread – in CAD, PLM, as well as in the Digital Twin, with IoT and making it super easy to expose all of that content in AR, without building custom AR apps that are expensive to build, and impossible to scale. Our products like Vuforia Chalk and Vuforia Expert Capture also make it easy to communicate tacit knowledge that people have in their heads, accelerating the creation of AR “content” dramatically.
Donald Brady of Deloitte Digital and I spoke a lot about all of these topics in our recent MIT Sloan Webcast. You can see it here.
Question: I work for a defense company, where security on our designs and digital information is very tight. What security capabilities do the SaaS and AR technologies have that could meet the needs and requirements of a defense company?
Answer: Some would argue that SaaS-deployed technologies are actually more secure than on-premise deployed software, as there are no local files to copy onto a thumb drive and watch walk out the door. However, I appreciate that federal and defense companies have strict security standards in place, and at PTC we are working toward meeting those requirements by implementing processes and controls in the development, deployment, and operation of our tools. Today, much of the PTC SaaS portfolio has been rated with a SOC 2 Type II certification, and we are constantly improving our security posture, to address the market’s needs. PTC offers various options to address these requirements today, including the availability of some products (Vuforia Studio, for example) being offered as an on-prem offering that could be hosted locally behind the firewall. PTC also provides FedRAMP certified deployments for our PLM offerings. And in the future, more and more of our products will be supporting these advanced requirements. In the meantime, for more specific details of each product, I’d suggest contacting your local PTC Sales executive.
Question: What will happen to software companies if this pandemic situation occurs once more in this decade? How will companies struggle in their business areas? Will it be tougher than the present situation?
Answer: We hope we won't see a repeat of the current global pandemic within the next ten years. If we do experience a similar tragedy, however, companies that invest in digital technologies to enable their employees to remain productive doing work remotely are likely to see less disruption to their business. For industrial companies, this means investing in SaaS-based tools to empower their product development teams to continue innovating and investing in tools like augmented reality to empower frontline workers to get digital access to the training, instruction, or assistance they need to remain productive.
Question: How can the relationship between employees and the company increase using present technologies and trends? How can collaboration in business areas continue even in this pandemic situation?
Answer: Technology is reshaping the relationship between businesses and employees. Increasingly, tools that enable people to work from anywhere, at any time, and on any device they choose gives employees tremendous freedom to contribute to their companies at a whole new level, but also gives people the freedom to reconsider their relationship with their employer, potentially considering entering the "gig economy." Technology is also reshaping the relationship between employees inside an organization, as well as between companies across the supply chain. Tools that allow for co-creation across a distributed or decentralized workforce are empowering companies to redefine the way they innovate and remain competitive, despite the pandemic.
Question: Do you think that COVID-home working has reduced the empathy between employees and within teams? If yes, how can they overcome that?
Answer: Digital collaboration (e.g. via Zoom and Teams) has become a powerful way to allow employees to remain in contact, stay productive, and generally get their jobs done. That said, humans are social creatures. The most successful teams are those that have been able to add digital tools to teams that already knew each other, that already had personal bonds. Digital is at its best when it enhances, or augments, the physical - in this case, physical human relationships.
Question: I work in a large multihospital healthcare system. In light of the pandemic, can you provide some examples of what major, key steps healthcare systems have taken or should take in making successful digital transformations or enhancements given the prevalence of required in-person interactions particularly unique to healthcare systems?
Answer: The use of industrial Internet of Things (IoT) technology is particularly relevant in health care settings - specifically, as a way of enabling predictive analytics to ensure availability of much needed medical equipment and to enable the collection of actionable patient health metrics (in compliance with privacy regulations). Manufacturers of medical equipment are increasingly leveraging IoT technologies to remotely monitor equipment installed in health care provider settings, and are exploring new business models with the data they're gathering about equipment performance such as delivering the equipment "as a service." For caregivers, augmented reality is being deployed by some device makers to remotely assist on-site medical technicians in troubleshooting and servicing some equipment in a vastly more productive way.
If you missed the live airing of Episode One: Work Methods Changing the Workplace, sign up to watch it on-demand now! And register for all upcoming episodes in the series where you'll have the opportunity to ask PTC experts your own questions!