Advantages of Augmented Reality in the Food Industry

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience referring to the computer-aided addition of virtual elements to reality. AR technology extends human perception in real time through texts, videos, images or 3D animations. In special cases, even smells can be added to invite the user into an engaging AR environment that appeals to all the senses, creating an unprecedented level of interaction.

As consumers become more receptive to AR experiences, companies are naturally trying to leverage AR for their own purposes. By adopting AR technology, industrial companies can improve efficiency, employee safety, and operational performance whilst reducing costs on the shop floor and in the field. We have identified three areas in which AR is becoming increasingly important. 

1. Employee training

Employees should be trained for the activities they perform in their daily work and it is important to ensure that they receive ongoing training. Failure to do so can lead to errors in production, which in turn can have far-reaching consequences such as defective production, product recalls or injuries to employees or customers. A sophisticated training concept is therefore indispensable. This is especially the case in food processing, an employment sector with a high staff turnover where it is important to provide employees with the necessary knowledge in a quick and easy way to help workers feel better prepared and more engaged with their work.

But what is the best training technique? Scientific research shows that people forget about 70% of new information within 24 hours. This is especially the case with lectures or other learning methods where participants are not actively involved. The imparted knowledge gets lost quickly. Incorporating videos and images into training sessions can help ensure that knowledge is transferred to the long-term memory. AR technology not only combines different media, but also allows the user to interact with them, helping them to absorb the knowledge more efficiently. In addition, they can train in a safe environment.

2. Remote auditing

Investigators and auditors verify food safety by examining food production environments based on physical, chemical and other processes. An investigator can look into everything without exception. They may look for prohibited ingredients or the improper use of restricted ingredients, non-compliance with requirements or any kind of contamination. The restrictions applied throughout much of the world to combat the spread of Coronavirus have inevitably led to the need to change the way in which audits are conducted. Instead of travelling to different manufacturing sites, inspectors can utilize AR technology to digitalize fields of view – all remotely. Making the objects they see in the field of view digitally representative can help improve food safety inspection practices and make inspection stand out from checklists and images.

3. Service support

Every customer is looking for fast and efficient service support when they experience problems with their equipment to avoid costly downtime. More and more companies rely on AR technology when it comes to service support. Using a mobile device with an integrated camera enables service technicians to see exactly what their customer sees. The technicians can guide them step-by-step to resolve issues by providing real-time contextual assistance, such as adding text, drawings, or highlighting objects with 3D markers. This not only allows a quick solution to a problem, it is also offers significant cost benefits to the customer.

Learn how a manufacturer for product inspection equipment makes use of AR to enhance their service support during a pandemic.