ABI Research Sees Industrial AR $70B Market Value by 2025, Spurred by
Digitization and Connected Workers
April 30, 2021
a tumultuous 2020, the need for digitization and keeping workers connected
became crystal clear for many. This is true in all industries, but especially
for industrial markets where workflow complexity, knowledge retention and share,
and the financial impact from downtime and other inefficiencies are particularly
severe. According to ABI Research, the industrial market will quicken its
adoption of Augmented Reality (AR) smart glasses and mobile devices to enable
workers in any location and minimize costly inefficiencies. This increasing
adoption will generate an industrial augmented reality market value of US$70
billion by 2025.
“COVID-19 did not create the need for digitization, but it certainly accelerated
Eric Abbruzzese, Augmented and Virtual Reality Research
Director at ABI Research. “As a high-value element of digitization,
augmented reality adds a visual element to a data-heavy system that can
sometimes devalue the human worker. AR brings the worker back into the equation
and creates a synergistic relationship between worker and IT/OT systems where
each component benefits from the other.”
That synergy is responsible for the impressive growth rate of AR in industrial.
ABI Research estimates over 15 million smart glasses devices will be used in
industrial workflows found in manufacturing, transportation/automotive, AEC,
energy & utilities, and logistics. Companies like Atheer, Librestream, PTC,
ScopeAR, and Teamviewer leverage platform strengths across AR and industrial to
integrate and deliver high-value applications like remote assistance, training,
and knowledge capture. While much AR usage today is on mobile devices, smart
glasses play a pivotal role in industrial where hands-free data access can be a
requirement. Microsoft, RealWear, and Vuzix have carved out comfortable hardware
positions in the industrial space. At the same time, implementers such as ABB,
Honeywell, Siemens, and Volkswagen Group have been investing in AR through both
in-house development and partnerships to deliver on those high-value use cases.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for industrial only further highlight how
beneficial AR can be. Downtime is one of the most severe KPIs in terms of lost
productivity and revenue. In the automotive industry, for example, US$30,000 per
minute of unplanned downtime is possible—large automakers can average one
vehicle produced per minute. AR can help reduce unplanned downtime through more
efficient maintenance with analytics, error-reducing task guidance and
verification and, when necessary, remote expertise. AR can also reduce planned
downtime through similar means. The impact of an aging workforce—a more nebulous
but equally important metric—can also be reduced through the knowledge capture
capabilities of AR.
Industrial environments create a perfect storm of variables and needs for
augmented reality to address and fill. “High complexity leads to severe downtime
and cost inefficiency, which AR can lessen. Training and knowledge share are
critical due to that complexity, and AR can enhance training efficacy and
retention while also being used to capture, share, and view that knowledge.
Integration into important platforms like IoT, PLM, ERP, and WMS enables a
two-way benefit, where AR can improve those systems and those systems feed data
to improve AR. All components working together can be a challenge, but the
return grows exponentially,” concludes Abbruzzese.
Bob Bova, President, CEO of AccuSpeechMobile added,
"The evolution of empowering workers in distribution centers and in
manufacturing with ocular wearables combined with mobile devices (like the Zebra
HD4000) will improve the capability of organizations to combine voice process
automation with vision support. The AccuSpeech technology was designed with this
intention specifically to address multimodal usage, increased productivity, new
user training and quicker process learning."