Unlocking Potential: Using Augmented Reality to optimise data centre and IT planning

By Martin Coulthard, Global Vice President, Digital Customer Experience at Vertiv

In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, a seismic shift is underway, and business-to-business (B2B) companies are at the forefront of this transformative journey. They’re fast realising the extensive potential of augmented reality (AR) in reshaping the very fabric of customer experience (CX). And, as the global battle for customer attention intensifies, industries are recognising that the principles of CX, driven by digital advancements and evolving expectations, are equally applicable in the B2B as well as the consumer sector. 

The Augmented Reality (AR) Disruption: Expanding Horizons

AR, once consigned to the realms of gaming and entertainment, is now extending to every corner of the B2B landscape. It offers an entirely new dimension to CX, one that enhances decision-making processes, simplifies complex choices and immerses users in interactive experiences. 

In the same way as AR technology once allowed consumers to try on sunglasses or see if a radical new haircut suited their face shape before taking the plunge, the same AR technology now empowers business professionals to visualise products and solutions within their physical spaces, enabling them to make decisions founded on real outcomes rather than guesswork.

There are plenty of possibilities for this technology in practice – from architects designing buildings using virtual models, to engineers meticulously testing machinery in a digital realm before making real-world investments or data centre managers fine-tuning server configurations with unprecedented precision – all through the power of AR. Importantly, this technology transcends the boundaries of specific industries, promising a revolution in how businesses engage with their customers and partners.

The Role of AR in Streamlining Decision-Making: An Informed Future

In today’s fast-paced B2B environment, informed decision-making reigns supreme. Businesses that make speedy, evidence-based decisions – whether that’s embracing a new piece of technology or overhauling an entire facility – are in the best position to be successful. AR tools can act as bridges, connecting complex products and solutions with an understanding that previously seemed out of reach. 

This applies not only to critical infrastructure components, such as data centre equipment, but extends its reach to virtually any B2B scenario. By visualising products within their operational contexts, decision-makers can gain a deeper understanding of how these solutions will seamlessly integrate into their operations. This newfound transparency streamlines the evaluation process, fosters better-informed choices and ultimately leads to more efficient operations.

Choosing the Right Tech and Expert Partners

As businesses recognise the transformative potential of augmented reality (AR) in enhancing customer experience (CX), practical considerations come into play. It’s essential to strategically navigate the landscape of technology choices and partnerships. Selecting the right technology and forging strong alliances with partners can significantly influence the success of your AR-driven CX initiatives.

Before diving into AR technology selection, it’s crucial to clearly define your objectives. What specific CX improvements are you aiming for? Are you looking to enhance product visualisation, streamline decision-making, or even to provide immersive training experiences? Understanding your goals will guide your tech and partner selection process.

Moreover, a deep understanding of your customer base is crucial. What are their pain points, preferences, and requirements? AR should align seamlessly with their needs and preferences to provide a meaningful CX upgrade.

Choosing the right AR technology involves aligning available solutions with your defined objectives. Consider factors like:

  • Use Case Suitability: Assess if the technology aligns with your specific use cases. Some AR solutions may excel in one area but not another.
  • Scalability: Ensure that the chosen technology can grow with your business and accommodate future needs.
  • Ease of Integration: Evaluate how easily the technology can integrate with your existing systems and processes.
  • User-Friendliness: Prioritise solutions that are user-friendly, as this will enhance adoption rates among your workforce and customers.
  • Long-Term Viability: Consider the long-term viability and support for the technology. Ensure it remains relevant as AR continues to evolve.

Beyond Individual Companies: A Paradigm Shift for Industries

At the forefront of this AR-driven B2B revolution, innovative tools like the Vertiv XR App empower IT managers, data centre operators and channel partners to visualise data centre solutions within their facilities. Just as consumers use AR apps to envision new furniture in their homes; this app enables users to position data centre equipment precisely where it will be installed, significantly aiding in effective planning and spatial comprehension. In addition, because Vertiv deals with mechanical and electrical equipment, the XR App enables users to look safely inside the equipment. The AR models are also animated with items such as airflow, which allows the user to see equipment simulations and things that are invisible to the naked eye. 

However, while industry leaders like Vertiv are paving the way for widespread adoption, it’s essential to realise that the significance of this shift extends far beyond individual companies. Leaders in technology are working together to advance capabilities, and entire industries are reaping the benefits of AR-driven CX enhancements.

B2B organisations spanning manufacturing, construction, healthcare, logistics and many others are all awakening to the transformative power of AR in enhancing CX. They are beginning to incorporate AR into training, product demonstrations, maintenance procedures and customer support services. This creates a ripple effect that permeates the entire B2B spectrum, resulting in a profound shift in how industries interact with their stakeholders.

Navigating the Future of B2B CX: Embrace or Be Left Behind

The ongoing shift toward AR-driven CX in the B2B space is an important example of how critical it is to be adaptable and flexible in today’s hyper-competitive business landscape. Companies that embrace this transformation are better positioned to meet the evolving expectations of their customers and partners. And those who don’t risk being left behind.

As B2B decision-makers increasingly experience the benefits of AR-driven CX, they will come to expect these immersive and informative encounters across various interactions. 

The rise of AR-driven CX in the B2B landscape represents more than a technological advancement; it heralds a paradigm shift. This shift transcends the boundaries of individual companies and products and signifies a collective evolution of industries, delivering immersive, informed and efficient interactions.

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