Meet ESG targets with mixed reality technology

7th June 2022
Paige West

Sustainability has broadened over time to cover the environmental, business, and human impact, but a previous misconception among many was that organisations had to sacrifice the others to focus on one. Yan Simard, CEO, Kognitiv Spark discusses.

While this compromise used to be the established status quo, more businesses in the market are recognising that these pillars are able to support each other. For example, environmental initiatives are able to benefit both the business and the humans working for it.

Many companies that are struggling in the new age of sustainability are failing to adopt this view, and typically perceive sustainability as an expense as opposed to a transformational force for the organisation. This is compounded by the fact that numerous businesses are continuing to manage their business the same way that they did twenty years ago.

Harmonising to enable sustainability

Now, a greater number of businesses are considering how these three sustainability areas complement each other. In fact, many businesses are now basing their entire strategic plan on sustainability while continuing to support their people. It’s a positive trend and one that organisations and the technology providers that also service them need to consider, while ensuring that they make a tangible difference to the environment.

The combination of physical reality and digital content, otherwise known as mixed reality technology, enables communication between real-world and virtual objects, and is playing a key role with these three pillars. Mixed reality technology removes the need for subject matter experts to travel and reduces production downtime, having a positive impact on the bottom line.

In terms of the environment, mixed reality also helps by enabling more output with the same level of input, while carbon emissions are reduced as engineers don’t need to physically attend a site to visit a customer or assist a field worker. Mixed reality technology is also able to make the difference to humans. Field workers are able to perform tasks correctly the first time, proving their continued relevance in their role and enhancing their morale and wellbeing in a time of automation. This is another example of how these pillars can work in tandem, rather than in conflict with each other.

Considering ESG

Bringing the three pillars together also crucially allows businesses to pursue their ESG targets. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) has risen up the corporate agenda in recent years, with 95% of S&P 500 companies publicly posting detailed ESG information on their website. However, many have stringent targets that they’re struggling to meet, particularly with government-set zero emission targets placing additional pressure.

Mixed reality can make the difference in helping to reduce waste when it comes to a variety of different resources. For example, where production downtime is reduced, or more output is produced with the same input, a positive impact on the environment is ensured as a direct change is made on the consumption of energy, metals, and minerals, enabling more efficient practices.

In addition, a business that is sending experts on planes around the world is going to rack up a number of air miles, particularly if there’s several people regularly doing so. Eliminating this need with technology, while still ensuring peer workers can work on projects or in different factories around the world can help drive environmental benefits.

As of today, while more are seeing the benefits of using mixed reality technology in terms of sustainable practices and are rightly validating and measuring their success on a small scale, it’s expected that this will grow. A big wave of companies rolling out such technology at scale and reaping the benefits is expected to happen.

Mixed reality is of course not the answer to every problem an organisation faces but is a vital cog in the drive towards sustainability. Partly due to this, mixed reality technology looks set to ramp up in usage all over the world in the coming years. At the current time, this appears to be led by organisations in sectors that have potentially been viewed as less green in their operations, such as the energy sector, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and defence. As awareness grows, more organisations from across industries look set to reap the benefits, with an equal focus on the three pillars of environment, business, and humans, and how they can support each other.

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