“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, wrote British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. While true, it’s important to look at specific examples of what technology can achieve, to drive home its benefits from the realm of fantasy, to reality.
As the world’s largest industrial trade show Hannover Messe kicks off this week, we have already seen countless businesses and industries reap the benefits of digital transformation, as they use technology to improve their workflow, efficiency, costs, customer service, and much more.
German-based thyssenkrupp Elevator, one of the world’s leading elevator companies with sales of €7.5 billion euros and customers in 150 countries, has already shown what embracing digital transformation can result in, by using HoloLens to train and support its elevator repair staff around the world – and it has shown this year, at Hannover Messe, that its appetite for innovation knows no bounds.
A glimpse into the future
As global population and life expectancy continues to increase, the challenge of efficiently allowing people to remain mobile in their homes grows in importance.
While thyssenkrupp already provides staircase mobility solutions to help people overcome their physical limitations in their own homes, there have always been challenges in the process.
Customers often find it difficult to envisage what their staircase solutions will look like, or how much room they will take up. The measuring and installation process too, can be difficult, with a complex system of labels, multiple camera shots and data entry required to build up a unique map of each customer’s individual staircase, before bespoke manufacturing and installation can begin.
With HoloLens, however, this all changes. Now equipped with Microsoft’s powerful Mixed Reality headset, thyssenkrupp representatives can quickly and easily measure a customer’s staircase simply by using the headset’s camera and special markers, drastically cutting down data entry time, while increasing accuracy.
In this manner, each staircase is accurately recorded, with a 3D model available in an instant, allowing the manufacturing process to begin immediately, thanks to the data being shared via Microsoft Azure, which allows for near real-time design approval.
With customers being able to visualise a digital version of the stair lift overlaid on their existing staircase thanks to HoloLens’ unparalleled Mixed Reality capabilities, they can feel more comfortable knowing exactly how the final installation will look, while asking questions along the way.
Thanks to this new process, made possible by HoloLens, the time it takes to complete the initial sales and subsequent manufacturing process is now four times faster, resulting in higher customer satisfaction, and an increase in overall efficiency and resource management.
Thyssenkrupp has already rolled out this new HoloLens process in over 100 customer homes in Holland, Germany, and Spain, with positive results and customer feedback.
Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of thyssenkrupp Elevator states that: “New realities demand new solutions and thyssenkrupp sees HoloLens as an enabler in transforming the customer experience for home solutions and helping to ensure a continued quality of life for ageing populations, regardless of their mobility restrictions.”