IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Magazine - January 2018 - 27

position to provide guidance based
methods, specialized service staff
on an accurate simulation of the
persons develop an intangible and
Wearables could
technician's view.
invaluable body of knowledge cultisupport remote
In [55], we presented a system
vated from years on the job. Digital
to locate specific company equipdocumentation prevents this priceinteraction with and
ment using private maps and outless information from leaving the
feedback from experts
door positioning sensors (Figure 5).
organization (e.g., when an expert
Here, the system captured an engiemployee changes roles within or
through integrated
neer's geolocation and orientation,
outside the organization, or when a
videoconferencing
based on GPS and compass sensor
senior engineer retires). Today,
and collaboration tools.
information taken from a mobile
experiential knowledge is rarely
device. This information was validocumented within the workplace
dated by a software agent that
[57]. But intelligent wearables have
compared the worker's previous
the potential to bridge the knowllocation with the current one. Then, the agent calculated
edge and skills gap by using the know-how of expert engithe difference between the user's current position and the
neers to construct content for service operations,
asset's position, obtaining the coordinates (latitude and
extending the availability of this information to all workers
longitude) of the goal asset from a private repository. This
and achieving transfer of field knowledge and skills.
difference was used as the input for an interval T2 fuzzy
However, it is important to consider that solving worklogic system, which provided two outputs: direction and
place problems using intelligent wearables is greatly
movement. Next, the software agent converted fuzzy outdependent on linking these devices to companies' backputs to human-understandable directions, which were sent
end systems, where predictive analytics can proactively
to a head-mounted display used by the engineer, who could
anticipate user needs and support intelligent immersive
hear the directions using text-to-voice functionality and
user experiences. For example, such systems could assist
see visual aids to help him reach the asset's location.
technicians with a piece of equipment's repair history, proThese outputs were updated in real time as the user kept
vide employees with step-by-step guidance for a particular
moving until reaching the goal.
task, augment human capabilities by providing workers
with a sort of X-ray vision to show machinery parts and
Intelligent Wearables in Service Operations
installation topologies, and bring users' attention to prob'The case studies previously mentioned rely on the use of
lematic sites. In addition, wearables could support remote
intelligent wearables, which can be defined as wearable
interaction with and feedback from experts through intedevices with context-aware capabilities that allow more
grated videoconferencing and collaboration tools.
immersive user-centered interactions. They provide an
Companies are already generating specialized platforms
extra advantage to increase efficiency in service operafor key use cases. One instance is aerospace manufacturer
tions. For example, options such as head-mounted displays
Boeing, which is launching a new venture company called
and smart glasses allow operators' hands to be free,
HorizonX, in partnership with the enterprise AR software
enabling them to work in the physical world and access
firm Upskill, to connect its applications to AR headsets for
desired information or services at their moment of need,
their front-line workers. Boeing is deploying this initiative
thus empowering immediate, contextual usage. Broadly
across multiple locations for its manufacturing plants, mainspeaking, smart glasses are wearable AR devices that captenance and repair facilities, and distribution centers. One
ture and process a user's physical environment and augpilot project at a wiring harness assembly operations faciliment it with virtual elements [56]. Other intelligent
ty has achieved early results of a 25% rate of improvement in
wearables include advanced voice recognition, real-time
production time and better-quality work [58]. Such progress
modeling of 3-D spaces, ever-faster connection speeds (e.g.,
could increase the quality of customer service by allowing
fifth generation), and artificial intelligence mechanisms.
employees to do their jobs more effectively and by developTheir purpose is to aid in imitating real-world interactions,
ing an enhanced insight into employee activities.
focusing on adapting to the user and situation instead of
the other way around.
Challenges of Intelligent
Market research companies predict significant growth
Immersive Systems in Service 4.0
in the use of intelligent wearables, identifying them as a priWhile having promising potential, intelligent immersive
ority for technology organizations and business leaders [1],
technology and systems also present several challenges
[2]. These technologies are able to connect the physical and
before they can enter the mainstream in service operadigital worlds in new ways by using adaptive algorithms
tions and industrial applications. For example, smart
that allow systems to learn from in-the-field data and thus
glasses and AR-based technology present a number of
accumulate practical knowledge, which can hardly be
practical challenges for implementation in the field, such
gained in a controlled test environment. Using such
as portability, ruggedness, field of vision, visual occlusion
Ja nua r y 2 01 8

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Magazine - January 2018

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