Key differences between video conferencing and Remote AR Support
In times where travel restrictions remain and work-from-home arrangements are the new normal, video conferencing software like Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Zoom and many others help us bring our meeting culture online. The real challenge lies in introducing remote collaboration to remaining business operations where the workforce is required on-site to keep industrial facilities running. In matters of urgency, many businesses turn to remote collaboration tools they know and have in place already - only to find out that those are not made for industrial use when maintaining or repairing machinery.
We thought it’s time to shine a light on the differences between conferencing software and remote support tools as well as why both are crucial for remote collaboration in industrial businesses: One for on-screen teamwork in online documents, the other for off-screen support on real machinery.
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If you need an apple, why buy an orange?
For many businesses this is a classic apple and orange dilemma. After setting up office workers with conferencing software like Microsoft Teams to work from home, businesses turn to the same tools when reducing in-person interaction in their operations. Especially under the time pressure of the current crisis, a remote collaboration tool that other departments are using already seems like an easy solution. However, it’s the right solution for the wrong problem.
While conferencing solutions provide virtual meeting rooms for remote collaboration, they are not made for bringing technical support to industrial workforce on-site or in the field. For example, a technician notices a malfunction on manufacturing equipment and needs specialist advice to diagnose and fix the error. Tools like Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business or Zoom do not contain any ticketing system structure to raise a request and automatically connect with a dedicated expert. Standard video calls further don’t allow technicians and experts to easily collaborate on real machinery.
Made for business - Video conferencing for online meetings and events
Classic video conferencing software is great for staying in contact with customers and colleagues as well as holding larger business meetings, webinars and other online events. Since office work is predominantly done on-screen in business software, remote collaboration via screen sharing is easily achieved. This includes showing slides during a presentation, sketching out ideas on an online whiteboard or editing online documents.
Microsoft Teams is a popular solution for such business collaboration as it offers easy integration into other Office 365 software including calendars and email software. It is slowly replacing Skype for Business, which is also made for enterprise use and part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Zoom has also been on the rise in the past months and proven particularly popular when holding webinars or tradeshow alternatives for larger audiences. Businesses can give product live demos or hold presentations for audiences of all sizes.
Made for industry - Remote solutions for technical support and collaboration
While conferencing tools are the right fit for business collaboration on screen, a lot of work in an industrial business happens away from the screen. At manufacturing sites, technicians and service engineers work with physical machinery. They need remote support tools that help them troubleshoot malfunctioning equipment and fix errors fast.
Solutions like REFLEKT Remote give the industrial workforce quick access to the technical support they need and enable remote collaboration between technicians and experts. The combination of live video and AR technology allows both to communicate visually. The expert can diagnose the error as well as guide through the appropriate fix by placing AR annotations into the field of view of the technician on mobile, tablet or smart-glasses.
Key differences of remote support with AR over video conferencing include:
- Direct Expert Access - Connect with the right expert for instant access to relevant information.
- Incident Management - View all open, ongoing and closed incidents just like in a ticketing system.
- AR Annotations - Give clear instructions directly in the field of view.
- Realms & Areas - Separate support for different regions or brands by creating separate realms.
- White Labelling - Create your own branded remote support app.
Why choose one when you can have both?
Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Zoom and others bring your business meetings online and allow live collaboration in online documents. Especially in the current crisis they make working from home easier and offer a great alternative for hosting events or bringing product demos online.
Remote support tools like REFLEKT Remote are made for industrial use. They allow enterprises to offer technicians the same level of support as if an expert was with them on site helping to maintain industrial machinery. Ticketing system structures and realms that separate different regions or brands, make those tools easily manageable and scalable.
As video conferencing software and remote support tools serve two different purposes, they are both important to keep your business running. The key is to choose the right solution for the right reasons.
Want to learn more about video conferencing and remote AR support?
Our brochure summarizes features and benefits for each type of tool.