Between transportation, booth costs, and labor, taking equipment to any trade show is expensive. But it’s also the most important part of your booth — after all, seeing equipment is why processors attend shows in the first place.
That’s why this year PROCESS EXPO is teaming up with Harvin AR to bring augmented reality (AR) to the show floor. Via holograms, AR creates digital twins of equipment and processes, allowing processors to see equipment to scale in action, visualize maintenance and sanitation routines, and much more.
To learn how PROCESS EXPO exhibitors can benefit from participating in the 2019 AR Showcase, we spoke with Don Harvey Jr., who founded Harvin AR along with his father, Don Harvey Sr. Together, they have a combined 45 years of industrial experience.
What exactly is augmented reality? How does it differ from virtual reality?
DH: With virtual reality, you wear a headset that covers your eyes and allows you to enter and interact within a completely synthetic world. With augmented reality, you also put on a headset, but you can see through the glasses. Digital content in the form of a hologram is superimposed onto the real world, and you can interact both with the hologram and with the real environment.
How can PROCESS EXPO exhibitors use augmented reality to boost their trade show presence?
The biggest advantage of augmented reality is that it will allow exhibitors to expand their booth by bringing more, and bigger, equipment to the show.
We take CAD content of their equipment and convert it into a hologram that can be displayed in the real world. This allows exhibitors to go beyond their booth, to no longer be bound by the limitations of their booth size. We can display as many holograms or pieces of equipment as they’d like, and they can be any size — from a small component to a massive piece of machinery that they wouldn’t normally bring to a show. Essentially, augmented reality will give exhibitors a bigger booth than they’re paying for.
Another advantage of the software is that the digital content isn’t static. We can use animations and textures to create a deeper, more immersive experience. So, for example, we can show an assembly of components working or how products flow through a process. We can also develop maintenance and sanitation simulations that can be used for training.
Augmented reality can also help exhibitors protect their intellectual property. Equipment often contains proprietary information, which exhibitors might not want to display to everyone at the show. We can build this information into the digital content, so exhibitors can control who has access to it.
I’d like to emphasize that you don’t have to be an OEM to benefit from AR. End users, distributors, maintenance techs — everyone in the industry has something to gain. For design-build firms, we can create holograms of building layouts. From a training standpoint, we can show people how to dismantle a piece of equipment or the proper procedure for sanitizing a machine. Once you adopt augmented reality into your business, you’ll find an endless number of use cases.
How will the AR Showcase at PROCESS EXPO work?
The AR Showcase has four booths that exhibitors can reserve. We’ll provide the headsets and digital content, which attendees can use to explore the equipment and processes.
One innovative functionality we’re providing is the ability to have live hosted collaboration sessions. Say a meat processing company sends a team of five people who are interested in viewing a few pieces of equipment. All of them can put on a headset, and the OEM representative can lead them through a tour of the equipment together. It’s not just a 1-on-1 experience — the whole team can interact with the equipment and with one another at the same time.
Will participating exhibitors be able to continue to use the digital resources after the show?
Absolutely! This is a tool that exhibitors can use to make an impact at the show and beyond. For example, they could use holograms during sales calls to superimpose equipment directly onto the floor in customers’ plants. All they’d need is a headset.
They can also use the content for digital marketing or in presentations. Imagine having all of the key decision makers at a plant sitting around a conference room, looking at the same hologram and talking about it.
What do exhibitors need to do to participate in the AR Showcase?
All we need to create the initial hologram is a CAD file. Ideally, I’d like to talk to the engineers, and depending on what exhibitors hope to achieve with AR, we can create more immersive experiences. We are also available to visit with interested exhibitors to provide demonstrations of Augmented Reality and the software exhibitors will be using to display their content.
Participating exhibitors will also receive additional marketing exposure on the Harvin AR website, through PROCESS EXPO’s digital channels, and at the show itself. They’ll also receive metrics about AR Showcase visitors’ interactions with the content.
If you’d like to learn more about participating, contact Don Harvey Jr. at [email protected] or (615) 440-0543.