Augmented reality advances organisation ESG initiatives
Op-ed by Sam Waicberg
Augmented reality may conjure up images of interactive “cool tech”, but it is becoming an increasingly important problem solver across a wide range of enterprise verticals from healthcare to telecom to manufacturing and more. Now the technology has proven to enable responsible organisations to make an impact on their sustainability initiatives.
As global climate change continues to impact our planet, C-suite executives have experienced mounting pressure from customers, employees and investors to make environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) a top priority within their enterprises. In fact, global sustainable investment topped US$30tn in 2019, up 68% since 2014.
As enterprises work to make progress in reducing high carbon emissions, following regulatory compliance and ensuring employee safety, augmented reality offers yet another tool to tackle ESG initiatives. Let’s explore three of the ways augmented reality will support enterprise ESG goals.
1. Reducing field service visits
For IT or telecom services, for example, the traditional model was that a customer would put in a service request and a field service technician would be dispatched to the customer site. Not only is this inefficient, but it also has a huge environmental impact. Industry estimates note that in North America, one site visit uses 1.4 gallons of gasoline, which equates to 12.5 kilograms of CO2 emissions.
Tapping into augmented reality, enterprises can quickly and efficiently resolve issues for their customers. Rather than potentially driving hundreds of miles to a site, service technicians are able to virtually connect with customers in minutes – sometimes seconds, quickly assess the issue, bring in additional experts remotely, if necessary, and work to troubleshoot the issue.
Using augmented reality to eliminate just one truck roll every day for a year (360 truck rolls) could reduce carbon emissions equivalent to 5.5 acres of US forests absorbing carbon in one year. That’s a CO2 emissions reduction estimate of 4,500 kilograms annually.
2. Creating safety at scale
Every year, 2.3 million men and women around the world experience work-related accidents; this corresponds to 6000 deaths every single day. These astonishing statistics convey the real need for implementing and meeting workplace safety regulations. Augmented reality enables technicians to work safer and smarter, reducing human error and creating an environment that supports safety at scale.
This begins with enhanced digital workplace safety training through augmented reality, which allows field technicians, for a utility or telecommunications company, for example, to repeatedly experience lifelike scenarios without facing real-world dangers. By training in these situations, they will become better prepared when they inevitably face them in the future.
Or on a factory floor, augmented reality allows frontline workers to easily review user manuals on demand instead of trying to fix a machine on their own, which if done incorrectly, could result in a workplace injury, and cost lives!
Finally, in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, stopping the spread of an outbreak is a top priority for many enterprises. By leveraging augmented reality, enterprises can ensure that only necessary personnel are onsite, with remote support agents, to deliver assistance through an augmented reality digital workplace.
3. Meeting customer and employee expectations
Today, employees and consumers are making employment and purchasing decisions based on how brands engage with sustainability initiatives. In fact, more than two-thirds of Americans consider sustainability when making a purchase or when choosing where to work.
As some of the largest companies like Apple, Salesforce and Google are driven by increased awareness of the impact of any environmental risks on their business, they are choosing to maintain and communicate strong ESG goals. Additionally, KPMG data reveals that 83% of technology companies are reporting on sustainability. By leveraging augmented reality for reduced truck rolls and increased safety, enterprises can communicate these efforts as part of their ESG initiatives to meet strong customer and employee demands. Enterprises will more easily attract new talent when they are able to show how augmented reality is helping with ESG initiatives.
Transparency and demand for ESG data is only going to increase. Now is the time to implement augmented reality to meet customer expectations and improve the ability to attract and retain talent and deliver on long-term sustainability commitments.
ESG is an evolving journey for any enterprise that mandates responsible businesses to operate sustainably while creating value and improving lives. Leveraging the tangible power of augmented reality will help enterprises to ensure regulatory compliance, impact sustainability goals and ensure customer and employee satisfaction.
Sam Waicberg is the President of CareAR Holdings, A Xerox and ServiceNow supported company. CareAR is an AR/AI-powered enterprise visual support platform that makes expertise accessible instantly to customers, employees, and field workers. As the Service Experience Management (SXM) leader, CareAR specializes in bringing the service experience and customer experience together in a seamless digital workflow. Prior to this role, Sam was the General Manager of Xerox Digital Services, a Xerox Business Unit focused on digital transformation by way of automation, efficiency, and innovation for its customers, and solutions. Additionally, Sam joined Xerox via the acquisition of CareAR, Inc., where he was the Co-Founder and CEO. Sam is a veteran of the communications software industry and is passionate about creating solutions that disrupt industries, transform work functions, and improve the quality of our daily lives.