1

SmarTECHS: Empowering Field Technicians for Digital Transformation

New AREA member SmarTECHS occupies a unique space in the AR ecosystem as a software publisher of connected workspaces for industrials workers and users of industrial equipment. With the stated mission to “bring dignity and meaning to industrial workers”, SmarTECHS provides software for improving the safety, productivity and just-in-time training of industrial workforces.

We spoke with Remy DeVlieghere, SmarTECHS founder and CEO, to learn more about the four-year-old company.

AREA: Prior to founding SmarTECHS, you had a long and successful career in supply chain management and procurement. What inspired you to start a new company in 2016?

DE VLIEGHERE: Over the course of my career with four global enterprises, my teams and I have produced about two billion dollars in economic impact … cost elimination, faster go-to-market, and near elimination of safety incidents and related fines and penalties.

When I started my career, leaving my family’s farm just outside of Paris to pursue a business career, I made myself a promise to learn as much as I could before starting my own business. So in 2016, that time had arrived. I had mastered global supply chains and organization transformation. I also grew tired of the corporate nonsense and oversized egos.

I took stock of my career and what was going on in the world. It was clear to me that the digital transformation wave had only just begun to move through laggard industrial-sectors of manufacturing, energy and power generation, field operations, and supply chain logistics. For the most part I saw a lot of top-down “strategic” attempts to drag mature industries into the 21st century with few successes, lots of damaged careers, and thousands of “zombie” pilots and dead proofs of concepts. Why? Because management consultants and complicit executives made the whole thing too complex, overly focused on advanced technology, and difficult to scale from their poor technology choices.

Then I spotted the opportunity for me: All companies have trouble consuming innovation, especially technology innovators … they’re the worst! What I mean is this: most companies do not have systems, processes, and people for sourcing new innovations and putting them to work in a simple and safe manner. They want to innovate. They recognize the existential threat to innovate. They promised their boards and investors grand innovation initiatives. But, and I say this as a successful transformation leader at four global enterprises, most companies lack the infrastructure, know-how, final metrics, and operational capabilities to innovate.

So I formed SmarTECHS to address that. We call it Innovation Enablement. We target industrial operations. We specialize in the rapid design and deployment of what we call “production trials” … fully operational and ready to scale from 10 uses to 100,000 user in weeks, not years.

AREA: How would you describe SmarTECHS?

DE VLIEGHERE: We are a software publisher. We provide tools and assistance for industrial operations, process consultancies and manufacturers to design and provision what we call connected workspaces to industrial workers and crews.

Unlike 99.9 percent of other software publishers, we specialize in the use of head-mounted computers with a hand-free voice interface in dangerous, noisy and windy industrial environments.

Some people call us a software vendor of Augmented Reality applications. And, sure, at a surface level, our products look like AR. But as soon as you put AR in dangerous, noisy and complex industrial environments, where users must have 100 percent line of sight with no visual obstructions, that eliminates most AR glasses and headsets. Also, safety demands that the hands-free voice interface must deliver 99 percent accuracy in 95 decibel environments, eliminating all speech technology from Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft.

In fact, OSHA has prohibited use of most AR glasses and all VR goggles for active use in the field or assembly lines. Our software runs on the only device that certified for use in Zone 1 with ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors or liquids.

So instead, we use the term Assisted Reality and emphasize our heads-up display well below the line of sight.

Also, unlike traditional software publishers, we assist program managers in managing all phases of small-scale innovation lifecycles with an emphasis on the due diligence of getting funded, iteration of same-day product builds, and rapid deployment of production trials.

AREA: So SmarTECHS is really about taking complex technology, making it practical and useful, and guiding clients through the whole process.

DE VLIEGHERE: Exactly. We live by the motto, Make it simpler, but only better. We apply that idea of simpler but better to the three key phases of Innovation Enablement.

We start with a strategic end in mind … a fully operationalized business capability that measurably improves safety, productivity and control of business processes … and work backwards in three phases.

First, we simplify and enable the buying process for program leads in safety, worker training, customer service, process improvement, and digital conversions.

Second, we simplify and enable the often complex and problematic process of delivering Production Trials, taking that from four to 10 months with 80 percent failure rate to one to two months with 95 percent success rate. We solve the pernicious problems of little or no content to use in dangerous industrial environments, weak cybersafety, and the inability to modify applications within minutes or hours instead of weeks or months.

Third, we simplify and enable rapid provisioning of managed workspaces for thousands to tens of thousands of users.

Most otherwise solid prototypes fail to scale because of three root causes: wrong technology, weak cybersafety, and lack of relevant and up-to-date content for use in dangerous industrial environments. We make the entire innovation cycle simpler and better.

AREA: Tell us more about your clients.

DE VLIEGHERE: We target three customer segments. But first a word about clients and customers. Clients typically buy services from firms who spend a lot of money on people who deliver the service. On the other hand, customers buy products that just get jobs done without needing a lot of expensive services to realize the expected value of the product.

Our first targeted segment consists of industrial equipment manufacturers and original product design firms who are transforming themselves into customer-connected enterprises. These customer-connected enterprises, such as Haier or Tesla, exemplify the strategic aims of the $1 trillion now being invested in the “digital transformation” race. We increase the ability of OEMs and OPDs to win in this trillion dollar market.

These OEMs and OPDs take advantage of our “simpler only better” approach to innovation enablement to assist their customers in producing fully supported Production Trials that, upon certification by safety, legal, and IT, will scale across a global enterprise and their supply chains.

Our second targeted segment is consulting organizations who deliver safety, productivity, and training programs and, increasingly, digital transformation platforms for customer-connected enterprises. These consultancies choose us because our “simpler only better” approach to innovation enablement as well as their ability to “dematerialize” otherwise costly labor-intensive revenue streams. They use our products to create and monetize their own digital products, transforming anonymized client and public data into proprietary industry insights and advisory subscriptions. That’s a real game changer.

Our third audience is large regional or global enterprises in heavy industries with lots of mission-critical assets and thousands of technical and trade professionals working in confined and dangerous spaces in two or three shifts a day. Often they need just one or two immediate fixes to an urgent and expensive problem and then scale slowly from that into more organic, just-for-me workspaces.

For example, they may want to add one or more remote experts to a work detail, increasing first-time fix rates by 50 to 80 percent. Or they want to add full high-def video documentation of a job order, speeding the accounts receivable cycle and creating digital media assets for later use in training and troubleshooting.

AREA: Are your clients all over the world?

DE VLIEGHERE: Pretty much. Our business plan called for us to start with local clients, but very quickly clients started taking us to every corner of the world. As a result, we keep adding new international languages to the platform and mileage to our frequent flyer programs. Today we have global clients in manufacturing, aerospace, and military sectors. Even when the client is local, the supply chain is global. Without exception, our clients need the SmarTECHS platform to scale across global networks of suppliers.

AREA: What motivated you to join the AREA?

DE VLIEGHERE: We just transitioned from a R&D stealth mode into full commercialization. We’re humble enough to accept that we have lots to learn about various industry initiatives, emerging technologies, and how industrial enterprises want to buy and harness innovation from a scrappy startup!

Being an AREA member will help us better understand the AR community and perhaps nudge a few in the direction of Assisted Reality for industrial customers. Inside SmarTECHS, we think of the AREA as a “watering hole” or oasis somewhere on the Digital Silk Road, where innovators of all stripes meet and share their road stories.

We expect that technology innovation will continue accelerating and produce a number of fault lines in business foundations. The AREA will help us understand of those developments and perhaps how best to exploit them.

 




Scope AR eBook Series Guides Enterprises Through AR Adoption

“A lot of the people who were coming to us knew about AR as a hot technology but didn’t really understand how it could help their organizations,” said Brent Hensley, Scope AR’s Director of Marketing. “The first ebook – The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise AR – is focused on that audience; helping someone really early in the buying cycle to get up to speed on what AR is, what it can do, and what to be thinking about when exploring solutions.” Download the ebook here.

The second ebook in the series is Building the Perfect AR Use Case. “It’s for someone who sees how AR can be applicable to their organization,” said Brent. “It discusses how to go about implementing a solution, starting by examining the attributes of a successful use case.” Download it here.

Of course, every AR implementation should be focused on delivering maximum ROI, which is why the series concludes with Quick Guide to AR ROI. “It helps readers understand how to prove the value of their AR projects and secure the investment needed for future AR deployments. It’s available for download here.

Speaking of investments, Scope AR scored $9.7 million in Series A funding earlier this year. “It has really propelled us forward, enabling us to expand our sales team and invest in development,” noted Brent.

It’s also given Scope AR the wherewithal to grow through acquisition. Earlier this month, Scope AR announced its acquisition of WakingApp, an AR technology company based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

“This acquisition gives us access to the expertise of a very talented group of developers,” said Brent. Scope AR now has more than 50 employees and is expanding its geographic coverage farther around the world.




Arvizio’s Jonathan Reeves on Large-Scale AR

New AREA member Arvizio is in the news recently, having just released version 4.0 of its MR Studio platform. The Ottawa-based company is led by CEO Jonathan Reeves, who has founded several successful startups, including Mangrove Systems, Sirocco Systems, and Sahara Networks, as well as serving as an Operating Partner of Bessemer Venture Partners and Chairman of CloudLink.

AREA: Jonathan, you’ve had an impressive track record as a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist. You’ve been involved in a variety of companies and other areas of IT. What motivated you back in 2016 to say, “Now is the right time for me to get into the Mixed Reality business”?

JONATHAN REEVES: That’s a great question.
As you noted, I have started a number of companies over the years. When
considering a new venture, I always tend to look at where the markets are going
and which areas of technology look the most interesting, the most challenging,
or where I think there is an opportunity for innovation. It became apparent to
me and the other founders of Arvizio that Augmented and Mixed Reality
technology were getting close to a point of inflection where the market would
develop quite rapidly in a timeframe that suited us. That is, we are trying to
extrapolate where we think the market will be a couple of years ahead when you
start a technology company. Of course, things change along the way as the
market develops and the dynamics become clear. We felt the combination of
technologies, such as Microsoft HoloLens, the recently introduced Magic Leap and
the evolution of ARCore from Google and ARKit from Apple, indicated a general
movement towards immersive technology and the timing was interesting from an
enterprise perspective. What we didn’t know at the time was just how rapidly 5G
technology was going to enter into the mix. We are finding this to be an
accelerant to the market. So, we’re rather pleased with the way the market is developing.

AREA:
For our readers who are not familiar with Arvizio, can you tell us what
distinguishes your company from its competitors?

JONATHAN REEVES: We believe there are several
key AR challenges for the enterprise, particularly in the area of handling very
large 3D models and point clouds – the type of data that’s often used in
industries such as architecture, engineering, construction, energy, automotive and
so forth. The 3D models that are used in these industries are much larger than
the local rendering capability of most devices. We felt that addressing that
problem would be of great interest – that is, the ability to take full-scale CAD
models, BIM models using tools like Revit, Navisworks or using LiDAR scans, for
example, and then bringing this data into Augmented and Mixed Reality
experiences. We do not believe this has been well served in the market and
something we feel presents a significant point of differentiation for us.

AREA:
Do you plan to continue focusing exclusively on AEC, engineering, energy, and
other large-scale enterprises?

JONATHAN REEVES: That has been our
initial focus, but what we’re finding is there are other industries that also
have similar problems. Specific types of manufacturing companies such as
automotive, shipbuilding, and so forth have similar challenges because they’re also
working with immense models. While we began with a focus in the aforementioned
sectors, we are also finding the technology we’ve developed has relevance across
industries.

AREA:
Without naming any names, can you tell us about some of your customers and what
they’re doing with MR Studio?

JONATHAN REEVES: A large, multinational
top-10 AEC firm uses our platform extensively for visualization experiences in
the presales or project pursuit phase. When a new building is to be visualized
with a customer, they historically worked with Virtual Reality technology. But
the downsides of VR are quite well understood. It’s not suitable for everybody,
some people have motion sickness issues and it tends to be an insular, single
person experience. We believe there are significant benefits for AR and Mixed Reality
in the area of collaboration. They may wish to do a guided tour, as it were, of
a new project, showing a customer or our customer’s customer how it’s going to
appear, overlaid on the real world. We give them the ability to collaborate,
share the experience with multiple users participating in the session, overlay
the models on the real world and bring Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality’s
benefits to the fore. In these scenarios, you may be doing immersive walk-throughs
and design reviews, looking at features before they’re built – or in brownfield
scenarios, overlaying renovations and enhancements onto an existing physical
space. These are a few examples of what our customers are doing with the
platform.

AREA:
It’s impressive how built-out and robust your platform is for a company that’s
only three years old. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the more
significant capabilities you’ve been adding recently and how they benefit
customers?

JONATHAN REEVES: Absolutely. We are in
the process of releasing our 4.0 version of the platform. One of the key features
of that release is hybrid rendering. That’s the ability to split the rendering
between on-device – a HoloLens, Magic Leap or mobile device – and a backend
GPU-based server, where we run our MR Studio Director platform. This
essentially allows you to enter a high-definition mode. For instance, if you’re
looking at a mobile device in a tabletop format in a conference room or onsite
and you want to get a much higher level of detail associated with the model, you
can enter hybrid mode and stream the results to the mobile device from a remote
server. This allows you to get a 50 to 100x increase in the available
resolution of the model that you’re going to render. Imagine you’re doing a
walk-through of a building or visualizing a particular piece of complex machinery
and then, you want a really high level of detail on a particular area. You can now
achieve that in a seamless fashion.

This is actually being tested by a
number of service providers as we speak. There’s a lot of interest in this mode
of operation, running over 5G networks. Service providers such as Verizon,
AT&T and Deutsche Telecom are working with us to test these capabilities
and validate their operation over both existing LTE and future 5G networks.

In this scenario, latency become
important. The ability to render models at high speed and the level of detail
that you can achieve becomes significant. For example, point clouds, as used by
many industries from LiDAR scanners or used in photogrammetry as a source data,
can be hundreds of millions, or even billions of points. Typically, mobile
device processors such as used in HoloLens or Magic Leap, on a tablet or mobile
phone, are only able to render a few million points on the device. There’s an
order of magnitude discrepancy between what can be handled on-device and the
size of the model to be rendered. In this case, we use high-performance GPUs running
on edge compute servers or in the cloud to render the high-resolution model and
then stream that into the mobile device. This is a key new feature that we
showed recently at the Augmented World Expo Show.

AREA:
We spoke with Brian Vogelsang from Qualcomm a few weeks back and he was
pointing out that same idea – that as we look to the future of AR technology,
we will see more development activity devoted to dividing the computing burden
between the device and computers at the network edge, figuring out where the
work can best be done to deliver the best, fastest visualization and experience
for the user.

JONATHAN REEVES: I think it’s an
absolutely critical point and Brian is a good friend of ours. Qualcomm featured
our software running on a combination of their 5G handset reference design and
the glasses from nreal at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a few months ago
and we will also be part of their exhibit at the Enterprise Wearables
Technology Summit in September. The ability to bring this kind of enterprise-class
rendering and large model handling to these new 5G equipped headsets is of
particular interest. The 5G work with Qualcomm and telecom providers is an
important development in Augmented and Mixed Reality because this begins to
shape the types of wireless connectivity that the headsets themselves will
provide.

AREA:
What is your sense of the state of Augmented Reality adoption and the pace of
momentum behind it?

JONATHAN REEVES: I think that’s an
interesting question that many in the industry are pondering. Several key
things have happened in the last 12 months. First of all, the widespread
adoption of ARKit and ARCore in mobile handsets has really opened the eyes of
many to the benefits of Augmented Reality. We’re at a pivotal point.

Secondly, AR glasses are going through
generational changes so we think it is important to have a cross-platform
strategy. In discussing our solution with customers, they often tell us they’re
not going to select just one platform and stick with it. It is an evolving
market and we believe it is essential that users have a common or familiar
experience when using a phone, a tablet, a HoloLens, a Magic Leap or new emerging
glasses, like the nreal; this has been an important part of our strategy and we
think this is extremely important for the evolution of the market.

We are also seeing some real changes
there in terms of the tools that vendors like Unity are offering. Their AR Foundation
is particularly helpful because it allows you to build a single application
that can run on both ARKit and ARCore, for example. A lot of effort is spent to
ensure the application we serve can be supported on multiple devices. In
addition to that, we also believe that the arrival of Magic Leap in the market
and the HoloLens 2 represent a new generation of technology with more
capabilities. The spatial mapping is significantly more powerful than before.
And we think these developments put the market at somewhat of a tipping point, where
during the second half of 2019 and into 2020, we will see a rapid acceleration.
I believe this is being demonstrated in the market as we speak.

AREA:
Why did you join the AREA and what do you hope to gain through your membership?

JONATHAN REEVES: We actually had been monitoring the AREA
over the last couple years and watching the evolution of the organization with
interest. We have seen an increasing number of partners that we’re working with
joining the AREA and customers or prospective customers that are also joining. We
felt this was a good time to join. And I must say, we’ve been very excited
about the level of exposure it has already given us and we’re very pleased and
excited to be part of it.




AREA Members to Vote on 6th Research Project Proposals

The AREA is currently in the midst of planning its sixth research
project with member voting now underway to choose from the following proposed
topics:

  • AR and
    5G for Enterprise
  • Web-based
    AR for the Enterprise
  • Size and
    Growth of Enterprise AR Market
  • Minimum
    Viable AR Glasses Requirements
  • AR Cloud
    in the Enterprise
  • Security
    Identity and Authentication Management for Shared Wearable AR Displays

The products of all AREA-directed research projects – including
reports, use cases, and case studies – are offered exclusively to AREA members
as one of the benefits of membership in the organization. The AREA also makes
one deliverable from the research available for free to the greater enterprise
AR ecosystem.

If you would like to see your company have the opportunity to help
guide AR research initiatives – and benefit from the results of that research –
please consider becoming a member of the AREA. You can find more information here.




AREA Member Kognitiv Spark Offers Free “Ultimate Guide To AR Pilots”

Understanding this, AREA
member Kognitiv
Spark
has produced an eBook to help AR
rookies make those first steps sure and steady. The Ultimate Guide to AR Pilots takes you through the AR pilot process,
step by step – helping you to avoid “pilot purgatory” and execute a scalable AR
pilot.

You’ll get helpful
tips and learn how to:

  • Plan
    your pilot
  • Pick
    the right use case
  • Pick
    the right AR solution
  • Build
    end-user buy-in
  • Deploy
    the pilot
  • Assess
    the outcomes

Download
The Ultimate Guide to AR Pilots to increase
your chances of a successful AR pilot that impacts your bottom line and sets
you ahead of the competition.




Wolfgang Stelzle Reflects on New AREA Member RE’FLEKT

AREA: RE’FLEKT’s growth seems quite robust; to
what do you attribute your success?

WOLFGANG
STELZLE: There are four major factors. First, we’ve been in the industry for a
while; both my co-founder, Kerim Ispir, and I have been working in the AR space
since 2010 and we founded the company a little later in 2012. This is a lot of
time in the tech/AR space to gain in-depth experience. Second, our REFLEKT ONE
and REFLEKT Remote products closly follow our differentiated and innovative
approach as a company with a customer base in the industrial sector. Third, we
have good relationships with our partners and investors, including Bosch, BASF
Ventures, Microsoft, Prosegur and Siemens. This is essential as we receive
strong support for our products, which helps grow the company. Last but not
least, we’ve built a strategic partner ecosystem of technology providers,
resellers, and service partners. All of these factors have contributed to our
growth, and we hope, will help build a successful future.

AREA: Has RE’FLEKT made a deliberate effort to
make it easier for companies to ease their way into AR adoption; for example,
by using their existing CAD drawings to build solutions?

STELZLE:
Yes. Our solution is not just using the CAD information by manually copying and
pasting it into a “what you see is what you get” editor for Augmented Reality. Instead,
we designed a tool that really leverages your existing IT infrastructure so
that your technical information or CAD systems can be used for creating any
sort of AR content based on what you already have. Our product approach is to enhance
those systems and give technical authors the ability to publish to Augmented
Reality in addition to the manuals, PDFs, and websites where they currently produce.
Since it all happens in one place, technical authors don’t have to change their
existing authoring structure, which makes it much easier to establish AR in
technical authoring.

AREA: Why has RE’FLEKT been particularly
successful in the automotive market?

STELZLE:
One key factor is that our HQ is located in Munich, Germany, close to some of
Europe’s largest OEMs. Second, Bosch’s involvement with us as a partner and
investor has opened many doors in the automotive industry. Also, a core feature
of our product is object recognition, which is particularly helpful when you’re
dealing with cars and other vehicles. And finally, the automotive industry is continuously
driving progress and innovation. They’re always looking for new ways to reduce
costs and develop new products – two areas in which AR has huge potential.

AREA: Could you share with us any examples of
ROI from companies using RE’FLEKT?

STELZLE:
This is still one of the most difficult questions to answer reliably and
accurately, particularly for RE’FLEKT, as we are a platform vendor and do not
always have direct access to customer data after deployment. However, I can
tell you that, based on a study of about 100 users, Bosch has solid data
showing savings of 15% in training costs by using RE’FLEKT solutions. I would
also point out that ROI is very use case-dependent, so that number could be
completely different for another customer and use case.

AREA: What do you see as the biggest obstacles
to AR adoption today?

STELZLE:
There are many. One research project has identified more than 40 hurdles to AR
adoption. Here are three that I think are the most significant. First is the
need. A machine manufacturer needs a screw if a machine breaks, but he doesn’t
necessarily need AR to address that; the pain isn’t big enough yet in many
areas. That will change as manufacturers face the knowledge gap in the future. Second,
in various areas, the technology is still not yet mature enough. Many of the AR
glasses are still balky, battery life is short, or they are simply not yet
enterprise-ready. We also take a close look at tracking possibilities, where
there is also still room for improvement, particularly in outdoor environments.
Finally, it’s still costly for companies to get started with Augmented Reality
and create the first content. That last hurdle is one RE’FLEKT is working hard
to overcome. But even so, sometimes the data within a corporation is not very
well structured. Many customers have told us that before they can implement AR,
they have to reorganize their data. I believe all of these things will change
in the near future.

AREA: RE’FLEKT has recently opened offices in
the United States. Can you tell us what your near-term strategic priorities
are?

STELZLE:
A top priority is to expand our partner ecosystem in many areas – technical
information systems, CAD systems, and service providers. Second is investing in
expanding our sales and marketing efforts to make it easier for our customers
to get started with AR – with proper content, case studies, ROI studies, and so
on. Then of course, we’re working hard to take advantage of all the new
developments, such as the Microsoft HoloLens 2 and other new hardware products.
Longer term, it’s all about fulfilling our vision of making the maintenance and
operation of complex machinery as easy as using a simple home appliance. We
don’t just look at Augmented Reality, but instead we always think of actual
problems as well as the systems around that can help solve that problem. For
example, if a machine breaks, AR isn’t the only thing that needs to be
considered. It’s the communication of the machine with the Internet of Things.
It’s the smart selection of a solution for the user. It’s the feedback to the
system to learn from the environment. We will continue our product development
to make that vision a reality.

AREA: What do you hope to gain by being a
member of the AREA?

STELZLE:
First and foremost, it is important for all of us to shape the market with an
independent, objective organization like the AREA that provides content that we
can all make use of. We also want to leverage the network and its activities
for joint sales and marketing. Equally important is knowledge exchange with the
other partners in the AREA network and get to know different perspectives on
the market. It’s all about learning – learning from the work of the AREA,
learning from research institutions, and learning from customers. Our people
are already participating in the committee work, including security, marketing,
and research.




New AREA Statement of Needs Tool Helps You Capture and Manage Requirements

Initially
available to AREA members with a full launch to the wider ecosystem later this
year, the tool, known as ASoN (AREA Statement of Needs), has been
developed as a key aid to help fuel the growth of the Enterprise Augmented
Reality ecosystem. It enables users and suppliers of AR technologies and
solutions to collaborate on defining a set of requirements to satisfy the growing
needs of industrial enterprises.

By
providing a hierarchical, linked and tagged taxonomy of business processes, use
cases, requirements, personas and value propositions that can be targeted to
specified industries and solutions, ASoN aims to help the AR community to
develop a set of contextualised and actionable requirements that support both
enterprise users and suppliers of AR solutions.

The
ASoN tool enables participants of the ecosystem to:

  • Submit new and review existing content
  • Tag content against relevant industries,
    industrial settings and other key terms
  • Collaborate with others by commenting on
    requirements, etc.
  • Subscribe to specific content items and be
    notified if there are discussions or changes
  • Bulk load existing content (e.g., lists of
    existing requirements)
  • Create links between items (e.g., between
    individual requirements needed to support a specific use case)
  • Search, using rich query tools to, for
    example, find requirements within a field service setting in the automotive
    industry
  • Generate comprehensive reports for subsequent
    re-use

Value to the Enterprise AR Community

ASoN
helps enterprises streamline the research, planning and implementation of their
AR strategies by providing ready-built actionable use cases and requirements
which can accelerate the development of RFP/RFQ proposals and reduce the amount
of “scouting” and development of their company needs.

Moreover,
ASoN helps suppliers of AR technologies and solutions plan their development
roadmaps by providing an industry-centric view of both what is needed and by
whom.

The
AREA, as a neutral resource, offers all of its members the opportunity to
improve their businesses by harnessing this tool and its content.

Stuart
Thurlby, CEO at Theorem Solutions, commented, “The AREA’s Statements of Needs
management tool is an important enabler to drive the enterprise AR ecosystem
forward. The AREA’s provision of a neutral repository in a structured and
actionable format, based around the needs of the AR community, will likely
become a first stop shop for companies using or developing enterprise AR
solutions.”

Find
out more:

Find
out more about The AREA Requirements Committee




AREA Member Apprentice Scores $8 Million in Series A Financing

What’s the value of a comprehensive, vertical industry-focused AR solution? For AREA member Apprentice.io, it’s worth at least $8 million. That’s what a group of investors led by Pritzker Group Venture Capital has invested in Series A funding for the pharma- and biotech-focused AR solution provider.

The Apprentice platform is an all-day workflow solution that the entire pharma and biotech organization can use, from the scientist doing drug discovery to the manufacturing operator. Apprentice calls it “the first conversational AR and AI platform.”

“We like to say that we don’t just augment reality; we augment human ability,” said Angelo Stracquatanio, co-founder and CEO of Apprentice.io. “AR and AI are changing the way workforces across all industries solve problems and share information, ushering in the next wave of human potential.”

Learn more here.




AREA Research Committee Issues Call for Proposals to Study AR in Manufacturing

The AREA is issuing a request for proposals for a funded research project that will develop a methodology for identification of, and strategies for, overcoming barriers to AR adoption in manufacturing environments.

Organizations with relevant expertise in the research topic may respond to the invitation on or before 12 PM Eastern Daylight Time on August 21st.

The goals of the AREA-directed research project are:

  • To document all potential barriers to AR adoption in manufacturing and develop a step-by-step methodology for their identification and subsequent implementation of strategies (proven and proposed) that can be used to overcome barriers. The AREA members will then be able to follow the methodology when working with their internal and external manufacturing management and/or operator stakeholders, or to assist their customers and partners in the deployment of AR in production environments.
  • To increase understanding of barriers and resolution strategies that can reduce the time, cost and risks for AR adoption in manufacturing.

The research project will produce:

  • An AREA-member exclusive report that describes a methodology for identification of and strategies for overcoming barriers to AR adoption in manufacturing environments.
  • A tool or framework implemented in the form of an annotated spreadsheet with instructions on how to fill in fields and with which the user organization will identify common AR adoption barriers.  Based on identified barriers, the tool will suggest strategies for AR introduction managers and stakeholders to follow for the reduction or management of AR adoption barriers.
  • A case study (suitable for public release) illustrating the use of the methodology by AR introduction managers in a fictional (or anonymized) manufacturing organization.

The research methodology should include primary research (i.e., interviews with the owners/managers of AR proof of concept projects in manufacturing industry, surveys, etc.), secondary research (i.e. review of peer-reviewed literature and web-based information) and a broad, system-level view of AR in manufacturing in order to capture organizational and environmental factors as well as suitability of AR for specific manufacturing use cases, and technology acceptance by operators.

All proposals will be evaluated by the AREA research committee chair and research manager on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of manufacturing environments and organizations managing manufacturing, and the use of AR for the purpose of improving operational performance of manufacturing systems and organizations.
  • Clear qualifications of the proposing research organization and any partners in the domains of AR, manufacturing management and/or adjacent technologies.
  • Review of prior research reports and process management tools.
  • Feedback of references.

The AREA will provide detailed replies to submitters on or before August 27th. Unless otherwise negotiated in advance, the research project is expected to be completed and finished deliverables produced by October 31st. 

Any questions concerning this project and the AREA Research Committee, please send an email to the Research Committee.

The AREA Research Committee budget for this project is $15,000. Organizations interested in conducting this research for the fixed fee are invited to submit proposals. Full information on the project needs and desired outcomes, including a submission form, can be found here.




‘Tis the season. The event season.

April onward sees a real upward spike in the number of conferences and events around the world as exhibitors and attendees alike don their conference gear and get ready to join others doing the same. This is a great way to connect with others from the same industry, keep abreast of the latest developments in AR and explore new and exciting opportunities.

Here at The AREA we’ve got a full house of upcoming events which we’re promoting over the next few months and something to suit everyone’s tastes. We’re busier than ever before with events focused on AR, VR, IoT and Mixed Reality. And, there’s a destination to suit everyone’s budget and busy travel schedules from Europe-focused events in London, Amsterdam, Geneva and Spain, as well as events across the US, India and Japan.

In the latter part of April we have the AR/VR/MR Investment Summit in London which has invited investors and AR/VR/MR start-ups from all over the world followed by the Augmented Reality for Leading-Edge Utilities (ARLU) event in California. Then we’re into May, which begins with the 5th AR/VR Innovate conference in Dublin, at which The AREA will have a presence on the showroom floor.

The 9th AWE in Santa Clara from 30 May – 1 June, is one of the biggest AR and VR focused events with an enormous network of first-class speakers and 300+ exhibitors from across the globe spread over a vast expo floor. The AREA has planned a strong presence at this event chairing the work / enterprise speaker tracks . Our Executive Director, Mark Sage, will be one of the presenters of the Auggie Awards this year, a prestigious award recognising excellence in AR and VR.  More information to follow about AREA member meet up opportunities and events. To find out more about this event take a look here.

Moving into June we have AR & VR World at the London Excel from 12-14 June. This year The AREA has arranged a large Pavilion area where a few of our members will showcase their products and services together. This is a great way to bring down the cost for individual companies, create a rich sense of community and really enhance a strong brand presence for all. The AREA also has involvement in various speaking and panel sessions. Don’t miss out! Get registered here today.

In addition, there are a number of events where we’ve negotiated special member-only discounts such as the first ever IATA Aviation Virtual & Augmented Reality Summit, the IoT Tech Expo in Amsterdam, the Future Tech Expo over in Dallas, EWTS in Austin and the International Conference on Mechatronics and Robotics in Helsinki. As you can see, there’s a lot happening with something for everyone.

If you think we’ve missed something, do get in touch and we’ll work to get the event up on our website. Or, if you have any comments, queries or suggestions please reach out.