How AI IoT & Mixed Reality are helping business upscale from industry

Transforming to Industry 4.0 with AI, IIOT and AR/VR

In this podcast, we conversed with Arun Prasath S, CEO, and Co-founder of Focuz AR

Arun is passionate about developing futuristic yet affordable digital transformation solutions for businesses and, more importantly, people. He follows his AI technology mindset to create AR, VR, Mixed Reality, and IIoT solutions for industry challenges. 

Industrial Internet of Things deploys new-age technologies to make Industry 4.0 a reality. AR creates fascinating opportunities to transform conventional processes into more efficient, faster, automated, yet affordable systems. 

Let’s take a look at the topics discussed. 

The inspiration behind Focuz AR

Focuz AR is an extension of Arun’s need to solve problems through a suite of innovative, digital-first products.

In 2015, his co-founder Shankar showed him a video of Google Translate in which users could focus on any text and see its translated version in a preferred language (like this one). Arun was so fascinated that he decided to build an XR-based product in 2016. 

What’s more, Arun wanted Focuz AR to be affordable and accessible across business sizes and industries.

Use cases of IIoT and AR

Other than existing use cases, such as pointing out a piece of specific machinery and receiving information on its parts and working processes, Arun is building several exciting propositions. Such as:

Unforgettable experiences in real estate

Focuz AR Booking Engine works for buyers and sellers in real estate, giving them a seamless virtual experience. Users can check a unit’s specifications, such as its floor plate, size, direction, and number of bedrooms, without stepping out of their homes.

Improved productivity for field workers

Like Slack for tech-savvy workers, Arun wants to build solutions for smart manufacturing and other such field workers who can collaborate, assist and monitor remotely and safely. This reduces travel time, particularly for technicians.

Industry 4.0: What is it?

Here’s a snapshot of all 4 versions to help you understand better.

Industry 1.0Industry 2.0Industry 3.0Industry 4.0
Purely mechanized equipment.
For example, the steam engine.
Electricity-based tools and machinery. 
Sped up manufacturing with the conveyor belt. 
Automation of processes using IT. 
Processes were networked to production. 
Intelligent distributed production. 
Internet of Things, 5G, Blockchain, XR
Workers and machines will be connected through the cloud.  

Arun explains, with a real example, how Industry 4.0 works. His team deployed on a poultry farm in Tamil Nadu. Xassist addressed the high fatality rates among chickens due to high temperatures. 

The IIoT device detected temperature changes and alerted the teams to take action through remote assistance. It also allowed owners to monitor their farms from anywhere in the world, analyze past data and use the insights for future implementation. 

Nokia & AI-automated Training

Focuz AR deployed a projector-based guidance system for Nokia to speed up training time. Cameras and sensors, tied together by the Internet of Things, trained workers by throwing projections of instructions on the table during the training process.

If a worker makes an error, they receive an alert immediately so they can go back and rectify the process. This made workers more confident before they entered the shop floor for assembling.

Busting myths about Industry 4.0

A common myth surrounding AI technology like AR, VR, XR, Mixed Reality, and IIoT is that they’re highly expensive, and only large corporations can use them. 

This isn’t true. They’re just as affordable for smaller businesses. For example, offers some free features while the paid ones start at only INR 1,000 per user per month, making it accessible to all. 

Challenges in adopting Industry 4.0

Although 4.0 has several benefits, it also comes with its set of challenges. Here are some:

Adapting to change

Most manufacturing industries are grappling with a shortage of workers due to an aging workforce. With more workers over 50 years of age, introducing change becomes difficult since the willingness to innovate is low. 

Disconnected departments

Disconnected coordination between departments interferes with seamless technology adoption. For innovations to work, team members must work together, enabling and optimizing the scaling-up process.

Ineffective data collection

Modern technologies are heavily dependent on the quality of data inputs. Data that isn’t analyzed well could affect digital implementation and business success.

Improving operational efficiency with IIoT

The projection-based guidance system reduced training time for Nokia by up to 35% – Arun, Co-founder, Focuz AR

The intangible improvement — workers’ increased productivity and confidence. Since the system provided complete guidance in the training phase, workers were much better equipped when they hit the manufacturing shop floor. 

The time saved also reduced training costs and allowed workers to work on higher-quality tasks sooner. 

Building awareness about AI in manufacturing

Awareness about IIoT, AR, VR, and XR is low. But Arun’s team educates the client about their digital solutions before meeting to discuss the product. Arun provides his prospects with complementary information — in the form of case studies or enterprise papers — on happenings in the industry. He also encourages the adoption of video analytics-based implementation.

Arun discusses product-specific information, understands their challenges, and then provides use cases that fit their needs.

How is the AI model trained?

The model is initially trained with a combination of machine learning and some human expertise. Cameras record the manufacturing process from start to finish, analyzing each step so that the system can send out alerts if workers miss one.

Once finished, a team of experts starts image processing to train the model on real-time application to each specific use case. After a few iterations, the model is ready and needs very little manual intervention in day-to-day activities.

Deployment of the solution could take one to two months, depending on the use case.

When does an IIoT solution bring in ROI?

Businesses can see ROI within a year, month, or even a day as determined by their use case.

One of the brands Focuz AR worked with is Ashok Leyland, a prominent and long-standing commercial vehicle manufacturer. The truck-building process is manually intensive and employs several workers. In an unfortunate incident, one of the workers missed bolting a screw and suffered fatal injuries.

Focuz AR stepped and deployed an AR-based solution that alerted workers whenever they missed a step, saving lives from Day 1 of implementation.

Introducing the enterprise metaverse

Among the next innovations that Arun’s brilliant mind comes up with is the concept of an enterprise metaverse. 

By creating a digital twin of a working facility, workers (say from London) can monitor all the work going on in another city in the world (such as Delhi)

They can also view ongoing tasks, machinery used, the temperature at the site, productivity rate, and any other information which would otherwise take a lot of effort to procure. This information can be shared as a document, video, or VR-based experience. 

Personalized experiences with AR and VR

71% of consumers expect a personalized experience – McKinsey

Personalization is a hot topic in customer circles, and AR, VR, XR, and IoT could play a significant role in making this happen. 

For instance:

  • In real estate, Focuz AR analyzes buyer engagement with a particular property and shares personalized data on how to take the sale forward. 
  • Similarly, in retail, can enable remote demonstration of products. Consider this. Buyers sitting at home can review and interact with a lifesize and lifelike refrigerator in real-time, in a virtual environment and make a purchase right then. 

Role of governments and industry bodies

They can influence the direction in which IIoT moves for businesses globally. 

Singapore, for example, is quickly implementing 4.0 to stand out in international markets. The government will fund the overall facility; businesses could claim their expenses for building 4.0 solutions. 

India, in comparison, is still primarily governed by Industries 1.0 and 2.0, and factories are mechanized or electricity-driven. Here, government support will play a key role in propelling AI in manufacturing and other industries like healthcare and pharma. 

The next iPhone moment

Apple will be releasing its own mixed reality classes by next year, yet another digital transformation moment from the technology leader. Once they release these classes, the industry will witness radical changes in adopting IIoT.

A project close to Arun’s heart

Given his commitment to building innovative solutions, Arun’s upcoming project is close to his heart. 

He’s working on creating digital twins for factories where workers can collaborate virtually and get complete information about the machinery. Each worker wears a band that shows their real-time position on the shop floor in the virtual environment. 

Managers or business owners no longer need to be present physically. They can analyze comprehensive data, monitor the factory, and use it to train workers and make decisions virtually.

The bottom line

Sometimes, one spark is all we need to come up with life-changing solutions. Arun’s visualization of the tech industry is visionary yet accessible to businesses worldwide. 

Digital transformation solutions like AR, VR, XR, and IIoT aren’t out of reach. They have arrived at Industry 4.0 and are already transforming how organizations function. From projection-based training to digital twins, the world of AI is creating new pathways to business success.

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