This guest blog was written by Katarina Arbanas, an EMEA Global Blackbelt Specialist for Microsoft Business Applications at Microsoft. She is passionate about empowering the workforce and drive positive and impactful changes that transform the way we learn and collaborate to solve most pressing challenges. Here, she shares her journey into the Mixed Reality world, which eventually led to her becoming a Mixed Reality champion.
My first encounter with Mixed Reality technologies was exactly two years ago during the Hannover Messe global summit in Germany where more than 200,000 people from all over the world gathered to learn about the latest and greatest in the manufacturing industry. I was one of the representatives on Microsoft Dynamics showcase area, and right next to me was a massive line of people waiting to try on the HoloLens device to experience something completely new.
Back then, we introduced Dynamics 365 Guides as a solution to enable us to “Learn by Doing," something we believe will completely change the way organizations onboard and set up their employees for success. I remember approaching my colleagues at their Mixed Reality booth, asking when would be a good time for me to swing by to try HoloLens and experience it first-hand for myself. At the end of my working shift, I went to try it and since then, well, my life has been transformed since!
The scenario we were showcasing back then was to explore a physical piece of an airplane with the Mixed Reality HoloLens 2 device and Dynamics 365 Guides. Guided instruction cards in addition to the overlay of 3D holograms right in the HoloLens wearer's real-world environment provided clear direction and highlighted focus areas - something a person can easily find, repair and continue working on selected part of the equipment. At the same time, there was a also printed poster with manual instructions showing how to perform the exact same procedure, but that was so confusing, complex, and hard to understand that I wondered, how on earth similar organizations managed to do anything using just paper instructions someone drafted years ago.
On my commute back home, I started to reflect on the biggest challenges that the Manufacturing industry was facing. One that stood out was “aging workforce”, meaning that experts with decades of valuable hands-on experience and critical (sometimes even very niche) expertise were retiring, but unable to transfer this wealth of knowledge and expertise to their younger successors.
What they usually did was hand over paper manuals and any documents they've scrapped together using their own materials and knowledge, but organizations often had no means to convert these to readily accessible digital records that new generations of employees can re-use and improve while standardizing company procedures and processes.
Attracting and onboarding new talent is another critical area, as there is a significant shortage of skilled frontline workers. The younger generations often tend to perceive manufacturing as not being as cutting-edge or progressive as other industries, which may have contributed to a shortage of interested applicants or talent in this industry.
Being familiar with talent-related market challenges and the critical role that technology plays in appealing to younger workers, I started to recognize the immense potential of mixed reality and the HoloLens device: Not only to digitally transform, but also to change the perception of the manufacturing industry, from being one of the oldest industries to becoming one of the most innovative.
Next, I’ve started to think about onboarding processes and am already incorporating Guides as part of my value conversations with customers, talking about onboarding, learning, talent attraction and retention.
Soon after, we started adding Dynamics 365 mixed reality business applications to our Operations applications and sales motions. I've asked to champion the EMEA region and work closely with regional and local teams to include the mixed reality value pitch to ERP conversations, especially for industries that would benefit immensely and achieve significant ROI from the solution, like Manufacturing but also Healthcare, Automotive and more.
I’m enjoying the mixed reality journey so far - I get to constantly invest in my skill set and experience many exciting new developments and success stories across the board. This is an exciting field that will change so many industries and work processes while at the same time truly empower our workforce!
Join me in this journey, starting with the Introduction to Mixed Reality - Learn | Microsoft Docs to discover great mixed reality learning paths and resources that will set you up for a great start! Anyone can get started with mixed reality and realize its value - I hope you will experience it for yourself!
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