Taqtile Helps Customers Harness The Power Of AR-Enabled Work Instruction At Oracle Industry Lab

With Manifest, an organization’s frontline workers have instant access to work-instruction content ranging from digitized manuals, step-by-step videos, and detailed holograms, enabling them to complete complex tasks more efficiently, more accurately, and more safely.


At the lab, visitors will be able to interact with these advanced functions, as a well as Manifest’s unique remote-assistance capabilities. For example, deskless workers requiring additional support can connect with a company’s most experienced technicians and trainers anywhere, anytime. With real-time guidance via the Manifest AR environment, including see-what-I-see video, company experts can remotely facilitate problem solving.


“The Oracle Industry Lab provides an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate with enterprise customers and explore new use cases and implementation scenarios for Manifest,” explained Joe Clukey, VP of sales and strategic partnerships, Taqtile.

“Leveraging the power of the Manifest system with proven benefits of Oracle Database technology will deliver advanced functionality to our customers, such as the creation of work order systems that seamlessly sync between technicians in the field and headquarters.”

The 30,000-square-foot Oracle Industry Lab brings customers, technology partners, and the entire Oracle portfolio of solutions and decades of deep industry expertise together to incubate and demonstrate new solutions across industries. Supported by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband, the Oracle Industry Lab will first focus on use cases in utilities, construction and engineering, communications, and manufacturing.

“Many industries are at a crossroads as they look to navigate increasing regulatory, environmental, and customer-driven demands,” said Burcin Kaplanoglu, vice president, Oracle Industry Labs. “We built the Chicago lab to bring together leading innovators like Taqtile so we can jointly help customers shape bold ideas into powerful solutions that improve productivity, operational intelligence, and sustainability.”



Top XR Vendors majoring on Manufacturing

From comprehensive VR environments where people can work together remotely over digital twins of products, to AR solutions which allow professionals to access expertise on the move, there’s something for everyone.

Of course, in the industrial and manufacturing landscape, there are specific requirements to consider when choosing an XR vendor.

Some spaces require headsets to be more durable or capable of withstanding dangerous environments or conditions. Some industrial companies also need their technology to work easily in low-bandwidth environments.

Today, we’re looking at some of the XR vendors delivering the kind of custom experiences industrial and manufacturing leaders need.

Kognitiv Spark

A leader in augmented reality tools for industrial remote support, Kognitiv Spark is the company behind RemoteSpark. The intelligent AR ecosystem provides manufacturing and industrial companies with access to a low-bandwidth and highly secure mixed reality platform, perfect for environments where an excellent internet connection isn’t always available.

RemoteSpark and Kognitiv Spark allow industrial companies to empower their teams whether they’re on the production floor or in the field. The company works with everything from Industrial brands to Aerospace and Defence companies worldwide.


Bringing the power of hands-free information to manufacturing and industrial companies, RealWear’s solutions are leading the way to a new age of innovation.

Assisted Reality solutions from RealWear make it quick and simple for users in a business environment to access the information they need to make better decisions in the workplace.

RealWear’s tools are designed with the unique requirements of industrial environments in mind, giving all the power of a wireless Android tablet to employees in the form of smart glasses with access to multi-media files, collaboration tools, and more.


An innovator in the XR space, Holo-Light is building an all-in-one environment where users can easily host and stream any XR application on a range of high-performing mobile devices. The ecosystem supports everything from powerful processing speeds to global availability of AR and VR experiences built for the industrial space.

With Holo-Light, companies can gain access to all the technology they need for endless processing power and high security. Flexible infrastructure and reduced development costs have earned Holo-Light the attention of many leading brands already, like BMW and Danfoss.


Leaders in the world of mixed reality, Microsoft is changing the way we look at manufacturing forever. With Microsoft Mixed Reality software and headsets like the HoloLens 2, companies in the industrial landscape can rapidly transform their workforce, building more agile and collaborative factories, and improving the speed to market for new products.

According to Microsoft, manufacturers can improve revenue by up to 5% with the power of mixed reality, and save an average of 75% on training time when bringing new people into the staff mix. With HoloLens, companies can easily provide their team members with access to subject matter experts and support wherever they are, while ensuring they remain hands-free with their technology.


Taqtile is a leader in the extended reality space for employees on the move. With this innovative company, brands can access a more immersive environment for harnessing information in the industrial landscape and sharing it on a better scale. Tools like the Manifest platform ensure companies can distribute information to deskless and virtual workers wherever they are.

With Taqtile, brands can build more effective training environments for new members of staff, but they can also provide existing team members with more support as they work.

The technology supports real-time streaming of crucial information and guidance from experienced technicians and subject-matter experts anywhere.


Offering a range of ways for industrial and manufacturing companies to embrace the world of extended reality, Varjo can support both mixed reality and virtual reality case studies.

With mixed reality, employees in a manufacturing company can leverage real-time guidance, annotations and information from subject matter experts when they’re working in the field or remotely.

With virtual reality, companies can bring entire teams of innovators together to work cohesively on digital twin products, design new ideas, and accelerate the go-to-market process. Varjo’s ease of use combined with the flexibility of the technology makes it an excellent pick for a lot of brands.


Lenovo has stood ahead in the technology landscape for a number of years, providing a wide range of innovative tools and cutting-edge devices to all kinds of industries. In the manufacturing and industrial landscape, companies can now access Lenovo’s extended reality innovations to enhance productivity and enable collaboration on a new scale.

Lenovo is unique in the XR market in its ability to offer technology for virtually all kinds of employees in the industrial space, from developers and product designers to production engineers and testing engineers. If you’re looking for technology to empower your entire workforce, Lenovo has you covered.


Committed to building augmented and mixed reality experiences specifically for enterprise environments, Arvizio is a market leader in the industrial space.

The company offers highly scalable and customizable augmented and mixed reality technologies to help with everything from training, to helping employees accomplish more when they’re on the job.

The Immersive 3D enterprise technology from Arvizio can integrate with a wide range of tools and empower business leaders to create a range of training and upskilling experiences for business leaders. If you’re hoping to bring more of the digital world into the real world in manufacturing, Arvizio could be the right partner.


A leader in 3D technology, Matterport is ideal for companies who want to provide virtual tours and experiences to both manufacturing clients, and members of staff. In the industrial environment, Matterport’s solutions can allow business leaders to design and implement digital twins of their facilities for other professionals to explore at a distance.

The Matterport environment is perfect for building engagement, whether you’re trying to train and onboard a new member of staff, or you’re looking for a way to build trust with a prospect.


Rokid enters strategic alliance with ARM China in developing AR chips for Metaverse total solutions

Augmented reality is a key connection to the Metaverse era. To meet the specific needs of a new Metaverse generation, Rokid actively enhances the ability of backend computing power. In terms of the agreement, Rokid will create an all-inclusive customized design, verification, and testing solution based on ARM China’s core power XPU intelligent data-stream convergence computing platform, optimizing related software and algorithms.

Mr. Misa Zhu, CEO of Rokid enthusiastically stated: “The evolution of AR glasses is determined by the support of core components and ecosystems, including optics and chips.

Different from the computer and mobile phone chips, AR chips have a higher requirement for computing power and involve high deployment costs and technical thresholds.

ARM China is the one of largest chip design IP development and service providers. We are very thrilled to cooperate with ARM China to build a well-rounded AR ecosystem moving forward.” Mr. Xiongang Wu, Chairman and General Manager of ARM China stated: “A major feature of the Metaverse is its interactivity, which spreads the ‘digitalization’ more comprehensively; and the extended reality technology is one of the core technologies for providing an immersive metaverse experience.

Rokid is an important partner of ARM China in the AR field. We are very pleased to have a strategic cooperation agreement with Rokid. We will fully support Rokid’s product development and joint expansion to the ecological experience of the Metaverse.”

Read Rokid’s AREA member profile 

Visit Rokid’s website

Zoom for Smart Glasses by Vuzix now Supported by the Zoom App Marketplace

As the only Zoom for smart glasses application listed on the Zoom App Marketplace, the app allows Vuzix smart glasses users to start or join a meeting with face-to-face or see-what-I-see video, screen sharing and more. Zoom for Smart Glasses by Vuzix brings video conferencing, online meetings and other features of the Zoom service into one easy-to-use application on your Vuzix smart glasses.

Zoom is one of the fastest growing cloud video conferencing applications for end-to-end enterprise communications and has more than 191,000 enterprise customers that have at least 10 users. Vuzix has deployed Zoom’s HIPAA/PIPEDA-compliant conferencing application with Vuzix smart glasses in numerous hospitals and healthcare organizations to help streamline their day-to-day business operations.

Interested Zoom users can simply search for ‘smart glasses’ on the Zoom App Marketplace https://marketplace.zoom.us/ or shortcut the following URL: https://marketplace.zoom.us/apps/exz7FlBxQg-Q1M9GFMsLAw.

“After months of collaboration with the Zoom team, it is great to see Zoom for Smart Glasses app being added to the Zoom app marketplace to enhance the overall awareness and distribution of Vuzix smart glasses to Zoom’s enterprise customers,” said Paul Travers, President and Chief Executive Officer at Vuzix.


How to select an XR use case that guarantees the best ROI

But before we get into that, let’s take a look into how the technology is being used by engineering and manufacturing companies across the world.

How are engineering companies utilising XR?

As the technologies continue to evolve, users of Augmented (AR), Mixed (MR) and Virtual Reality (VR) – collectively known as Extended Reality (XR), are discovering new and more efficient ways to enhance their engineering processes.

Companies are seeing huge reductions in time spent and travel costs, and are using the technologies on a day-to-day basis.

Learn how Valiant TMS and Medtronic got started with their Enterprise-XR journey’s

So, where to start?

Identify your use case

Having the intention to introduce AR, MR or VR into your organisation is fine, but the starting point can often be the trickiest hurdle to jump over.

Before you even think about investing in hardware or software, you should be identifying your use case. After that, you should try to understand how to get the most value from it, and which devices and applications you may require.

Look for challenges and pain points

One of the best approaches is to take a look at your current design cycle. If you’ve already released a product, here are a few questions that you could be asking yourself:

  • What challenges were identified?
    • Were there any late design changes in a particular area or department?
    • Were there any recalls? If so, why?
    • Were there limited or out of date physical prototypes?
    • Did you not get chance to test enough?
    • Was there a lack of communication or collaboration between teams?

Try to look at your business cycle, look at where the challenges lie, and understand the pain points. That’s where you’ll want to be focusing on utilizing XR because that’s where you’re going to get the most ROI.

Accepted benefits of XR

For some insight, here are some of the most common benefits that engineering and manufacturing companies are seeing from Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality technologies:

Improved inspections – By taking the virtual model and placing it over the physical model, engineers can perform more accurate quality checks by inspecting the tooling and components prior to being shipped. It ensures that the parts are being shipped as they were designed. Some companies have even reduced inspection time by up to 60%.

Reduced travel – By working collaboratively and remotely with colleagues from other locations, engineers can look at a prototype and interrogate it in real time. By simply removing the need to travel (and the costs associated), some companies have seen clear ROIs within months.

De-risking – By seeing your 3D designs in detail, at full scale and in-context, you can be confident that your designs will be going to production as complete as you can possibly make them.

Speed of change – In the majority of cases, there will be a last-minute change to your design, causing delays of weeks or even months. With the ability to simply put on your headset and host a collaborative session, you can get your team together within 10 minutes to iron out the issue.

Here are some useful tools to help understand the value of XR:

AREA ROI Calculator – An easy-to-use tool to understand potential cost savings and other business benefits when deploying AR, MR and/or VR.

Microsoft HoloLens 2 Estimator – Instantly calculate and receive a high-level estimate of the total economic impact of the Microsoft HoloLens 2, including cost savings, productivity hours saved, and more.


Having a use case with a strong ROI will vastly increase the likelihood of getting your executive buy-in to really kickstart your XR journey. For more advice on the topic, you can listen to the full discussion from Theorem specialists on How to Prepare for Your XR Use Case [On-Demand Webinar].


Norwegian Agricultural Heavy Machinery Manufacturer Orkel Grows with RealWear Assisted Reality Devices

The company’s initial purchase of 40 units through RealWear’s Gold partner Allegra AS, will be used for remote after-sales maintenance, remote servicing and remote commissioning of all its heavy agricultural machinery products. Orkel’s research and development team tested a variety of smart glasses before standardising on RealWear’s HMT-1® head-mounted displays. According to Orkel, RealWear’s rugged form factor, safety features, noise cancellation and long battery life were deciding factors.

How the Solution Works

The innovative solution allows Orkel to connect its customers to its service technicians without the need for unnecessary travel. As part of Orkel’s after-sales support offering, each customer in need of commissioning or a technical service receives a kit consisting of the HMT-1, a branded Orkel hardhat, and mounting clips. The customer simply puts on the device, contacts the Orkel technician using voice commands and, after connecting, the technician can immediately see exactly what the customer sees through the head-mounted camera and easy to use software – VSight. The technician then solves the issue. Once resolved, the customer may then choose to purchase the RealWear device for their own use or return it to Orkel.

The solution solved a number of pain points for Orkel. For instance, typically its service technicians were required to make an in-person customer trip, which involves travel time and environmental costs. A delay in fixing the equipment also has the potential to impact the customers’ businesses.

“Our customers really appreciate the value of the system because we are able to provide a much faster level of support when an issue arises. All too often, our service technicians would travel for what turned out to be a quick fix. Now, with RealWear, many hours of time and CO2 emissions are saved, and most importantly customers’ machines are operational again quickly, which is imperative during the harvest season,” commented Svein Erik Syrstad, Technician, Orkel.

Headquartered in Fannrem, Norway, Orkel Group is an established supplier of compactors, round balers and transport equipment. With a presence in more than 50 countries across the globe, its biggest market currently is mainland China. As the farming and agriculture sectors are heavily dependent on the harvest season, Orkel’s customer base requires maximum uptime from their Orkel machinery, especially during the busy season.

On the device, Orkel is using RealWear partner VSight Remote, a remote service and collaboration platform powered by AR that helps manufacturing companies conduct maintenance operations remotely with Augmented Reality. The Orkel machine’s telemetry system ensures that details about every aspect of the machine’s operation is sent securely to the cloud, enabling Orkel’s service technicians to read the data and guide their customers to the next step in the procedure. This information enables Orkel to target the specific error more efficiently, and then guide the operator remotely to resolution.

“We really adore this technology because as a research & development engineer, I can watch the work being done,” said Magnus Nordås Lervik, Project Engineer, Orkel. “I’m quickly learning better ways to design future machinery as I’ve seen first-hand the common issues that arise, and how they are fixed.”  Lervik continued, “Using this technology enables our research and development team to look ahead to how we might design products in the future from an operator’s perspective.”

“Orkel and its customers are achieving a number of benefits since deploying RealWear’s technology with VSight and Microsoft Teams,” added Jon Arnold, Vice President of EMEA, RealWear Inc. “When looking at the agricultural industry as a whole, machine downtime impacts productivity and efficiency, especially in shorter and shorter harvest seasons. Remote assistance with RealWear is becoming a gamechanger for the farming and agriculture industry when every second matters.”

Rokid wins the Red Dot Design Award and iF Design for X-Craft and Rokid Air Pro

This represents the award-winning product that integrates design and technology to create a better life experience for consumers through the power of technology and aesthetics.

Rokid X-Craft, the world’s first explosion-proof MR device passed ATEX Zone 1 certificate and received a design award, being applied to hazardous scenarios such as oil & gas and energy & power.

With remote assistance, remote processing is possible immediately, and X-Craft is equipped with 3 noise reduction microphones, and with an AI algorithm, voices can be accurately detected in a 95db noisy industrial environment.

Now, Rokid’s X-Craft has been deployed in over 70 regions. Rokid Air Pro, the Best Portable AR Glasses for Training & Exhibition, has been used in over 60 museums around the world. It’s small enough to fit into a pocket, the AR glasses are foldable, look like regular sunglasses, and have a visor for outdoor use.

It’s not enough to have the toughest product and advanced technology, Rokid is committed to designing the best user experience. By doing so, Rokid has obtained many world-renowned design awards for its home media terminals.

See Rokid’s AREA profile here


Part 3 Magic Leap’s Augmented Reality 101 The Future of Work and AR for Business

AR-enhanced tech support finds solutions faster

The incredibly scalable nature of augmented reality — accessible from dedicated headsets to simple smartphone apps — makes it ideal for remote technical support. For instance, using AR, technicians would no longer have to try to explain a fault in machinery to an engineer since the engineer would be able to see the issue from their own point of view, and potentially diagnose the problem remotely. One of the key metrics for support issues is time to resolution — a measure of how much downtime is lost while equipment is offline. AR can help resolve these types of issues more efficiently.

“We have a factory in South Florida and a partner of ours has a factory in Guadalajara,” explained Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson when she appeared on the “Leadership Next” podcast. Due to COVID restrictions, “we couldn’t send engineers back and forth. We were trying to bring up our next-generation product and all travel stopped. So we have our own production engineers in Guadalajara who may not be familiar with this new equipment for the next-gen product. They can make calls back to our engineers in South Florida who can see what they see. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know that we’ll put engineers on airplanes in the future.”

In a recent webinarTaqtile CCO Kelly Malone noted that frontline workers no longer have to wait for someone to be available or for a supervisor to free up time. “They can reach out to a colleague who’s familiar with the system. And because it’s integrated, they can see [through the device] who recently worked on the machine, who authored the procedure, and who else performed the job. That information is actually right there, at their fingertips, so they can reach out to knowledgeable individuals instead of making a scattershot call and hoping the person they reach out to knows the answer to the question.”

AR visualization means collaborative design

The ability to create detailed 3D models that are viewable in AR means that design teams can work remotely from the same data with greater confidence. Unlike 2D video conferencing, designers can collaborate in AR on prototypes and products while each sees the model as if it were in their hands. AR solutions, like Magic Leap, augment traditional collaboration approaches by not only enabling deeply immersive remote collaboration, but also adding context and knowledge to in-person communication.

This aspect of AR is at the heart of MakeSEA, a design visualization platform available on Magic Leap. Designers can upload 3D computer models of their work to a library, which can then be shared with their collaborators. As the design evolves, so does the model in the library, ensuring everyone is always looking at the most recent iteration.

As with remote assistance, this collaborative function of AR is now helping to shape our next generation headset, Magic Leap 2. “The 2D experience with our current video conferencing doesn’t quite fit the needs that design teams have. We can now gather our teams in my own physical space here. I do it often,” explained Peggy Johnson. “I can bring my teams in using the Magic Leap headset, and we can look at our next-gen product, make changes, move it around, expand it, walk around. It’s really been a tool that’s going to go on post-pandemic.”

AR meetings reinvent the idea of the workplace

Over the past few years, all of us have been getting used to connecting with our teams over video calls rather than around the boardroom table, but inevitably there is a frustrating sense of disconnection that comes with it. The shared space and viewpoint that AR business meetings offer means that they are more collaborative and engaging, as attendees can view and interact with objects rather than sitting passively watching a slideshow.

Spatial is one of several companies using Magic Leap for its virtual meeting platform. Among Spatial’s clients are Mattel, Ford, Purina, and international banking group BNP Paribas. “Spatial is the only solution we want to use for meetings from now on,” said Florian Couret, BNP Paribas’ Head of Digital Innovation. “We use Spatial on Magic Leap for real estate development planning across several offices. Being able to review 3D information and feel like we’re actually in the room with colleagues helps us cut down on a lot of travel.”

Augmented reality can truly redefine what the traditional idea of a company “meeting” looks like. The concept of the Gemba walk is well established, and AR has obvious benefits for companies using this technique, something that communications giant Ericsson has been exploring using Magic Leap. Ericsson’s AR-enhanced Gemba walks show managers context-relevant overlays, pulling from back-end data on resource planning, equipment efficiency, analytics, and shop floor performance, as they walk around their smart factory. The headset even allows them to make and receive video calls on the move so that issues that are identified can be raised and shared in an instant.

AR training means upskilling staff faster

Traditionally, rolling out training programs for employees across a large company is time-consuming and often requires hiring specialist trainers and bringing them into multiple workplaces or sending staff out to external sessions. Either way, the cost and logistical requirements are steep. With AR learning, staff can be instantly connected to the best trainers in the world, across all your locations, and benefit from the same hands-on tuition wherever they are.

Magic Leap partner Talespin has not only been creating new immersive platforms to deliver AR training, but it has also conducted an in-depth study of the benefits of extended reality (XR) training solutions in conjunction with PwC. Among their key findings, they found that users of XR training picked up new skills 1.5 times faster than those using online e-learning and four times faster than those in a classroom environment. The same statistics also applied to learner focus; those learning in AR/XR were four times more engaged than class-based learners and 1.5 times more focused than e-learning users.

Most importantly, the PwC study found that the ROI from XR staff training kicks in sooner than you might think. For companies looking to train just 375 staff members, using augmented reality can be cheaper than physical classroom learning. At 1,950 staff members, it becomes more cost-effective than e-learning.

AR is already addressing core business needs

It can be tempting to think of augmented reality as something only relevant to cutting-edge technology startups, but it already has the power to improve any company — particularly at the enterprise level — with practical improvements to essential processes. Those benefits won’t only be felt in the C-suite either. One of the long-term advantages of wearable technology like AR is that it brings data and connectivity to deskless workers who have traditionally not had that access.

“I believe [AR] will be deeply integrated into the workflow processes of companies,” said Peggy Johnson. “Frontline workers don’t usually go back to a desk with a PC on it, and [AR] can be the PC for those workers. I think it will be very empowering for something like 3 billion frontline workers in the world today who don’t have that kind of access and the tools that we take for granted.”

There are already everyday uses of AR that are directly relevant to enterprise companies. Those who aren’t investing in AR right now are not only missing out on immediate benefits, but they risk being left behind as the technology matures.

The Great Resignation in Manufacturing

recent article published by The Washington Post shows some shocking numbers on the amount of Americans leaving their jobs over the past year. It’s no surprise that hotel and restaurant workers are resigning in high numbers due to the pandemic, but what is surprising is the fact that the manufacturing industry has been hit the hardest with “a nearly 60 percent jump” compared to pre-pandemic numbers. This “Great Resignation in Manufacturing” is the most of any industry, including hospitality, retail, and restaurants, which have seen about a 30% jump in resignations.

However, if you dig deeper, this trend isn’t new. This recent increase in job quitting in manufacturing has simply magnified a problem that had already been brewing for years, even prior to the start of the pandemic. In fact, in the four years prior to the pandemic (2015-2019), the average tenure rate in manufacture had decreased by 20% (US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

This accelerating workforce crisis is placing increased pressure on manufacturers and creating significant operational problems. The sector that was already stressed with a tight labor market, rapidly retiring baby-boomer generation, and the growing skills gap is now facing an increasingly unpredictable and diverse workforce. The variability in the workforce is making it difficult, if not impossible to meet safety and quality standards, or productivity goals. 

Manufacturing leaders’ new normal consists of shorter tenures, an unpredictable workforce, and the struggle to fill an unprecedented number of jobs. These leaders in the manufacturing sector are facing this reality and looking for ways to adjust to their new normal of building a flexible, safe and appealing workforce. As a result, managers are being forced to rethink traditional onboarding and training processes.  In fact, the entire “Hire to Retire” process needs to be re-imagined. It’s not the same workforce that our grandfather’s experienced, and it’s time for a change.

The Augmented, Flexible Workforce of the Future

The reality is that this problem is not going away. The Great Resignation in manufacturing has created a permanent shift, and manufacturers must begin to think about adapting their hiring, onboarding, and training processes to support the future workforce in manufacturing – an Augmented, Flexible Workforce.

What does this mean?

  • It means adopting new software tools to support a more efficient “hire to retire” process to enable companies to operate in a more flexible and resilient manner.
  • It means starting to understand your workforce at an individual level and using data to intelligently closes skills gaps at the moment of need and enables autonomous work.
  • And it means taking advantage of data.  More specifically, real-time workforce intelligence that can provide insights into training, guidance, and support needs.

Investing in AI-powered connected worker technology is one way to boost this operational resiliency. Many manufacturing companies are using digital Connected Worker technology and AI to transform how they hire, onboard, train, and deliver on-the-job guidance and support. AI-based connected worker software provides a data-driven approach that helps train, guide, and support today’s dynamic workforces by combining digital work instructions, remote collaboration, and advanced on-the-job training capabilities. 

As workers become more connected, manufacturers have access to a new rich source of activity, execution, and tribal data, and with proper AI tools can gain insights into areas where the largest improvement opportunities exist. Artificial Intelligence lays a data-driven foundation for continuous improvement in the areas of performance support, training, and workforce development, setting the stage to address the needs of today’s constantly changing workforce. Today’s workers embrace change and expect technology, support and modern tools to help them do their jobs.



AR Smart Glasses: XR Today Expert Round Table with Qualcomm, Arvizio and Singulos Research

One of the fastest-growing sectors in extended reality (XR) has inarguably become augmented reality (AR), which is used extensively among enterprises to conduct remote collaboration and inspections.

The AR industry has seen several crucial advancements in eye and hand tracking, gestures, deployment platforms, and greater interoperability for components and software, leading to huge developments for use cases and technological innovations.

As the Metaverse moves from ‘virtual’ reality to the next significant communications platform, combining spatial computing with the Internet, AR will become a key component of enterprise solutions.

For our XR Today round table, we are pleased to welcome:

  • Hugo Swart, Vice-President and General Manager of XR and Metaverse of Qualcomm Technologies
  • Jonathan Reeves, Chief Executive and Founder of Arvizio
  • Dr Brad Quinton, Chief Executive and CTO of Singulos Research

Our esteemed panellists have discussed the role of their AR solutions in the greater XR market, ongoing trends shaping the industry, as well as their views on the future of the Metaverse.

XR Today: What sets your AR solution apart from the competition? What has your company considered when designing hardware and software solutions for devices?

Hugo Swart: Qualcomm has a unique role in enabling and supporting the entire ecosystem as a horizontal player, which sets us apart.

We deliver best-in-class system-on-a-chip (SoC) platforms that power over 50 XR devices and offer the software and perception algorithms needed to enable XR experiences. We also provide reference device hardware to allow our customers to go to market quickly and a lot of other ecosystem initiatives.

Hugo Swart, Vice-President and General Manager of XR

In terms of considerations when designing hardware, we work very closely with all of our partners to assess the end-user needs and build a platform that will meet and surpass those requirements.

On the software and developer ecosystem side, I would like to point to our Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform born from Qualcomm’s commitment to helping enable and scale head-worn AR, especially at the dawn of the Metaverse.

We wanted to help reduce developer friction and provide a uniform set of AR features independent of device manufacturers or distribution methods.

Jonathan Reeves: Arvizio is an AR software provider with solutions that operate across a range of AR devices, including mobile devices and AR smart glasses.

We believe the market requires a cross-platform approach for software solutions that can operate with a variety of smart glasses and mobile devices. This avoids scenarios where the customer is locked into a single vendor for AR smart glasses.

Dr Brad Quinton: We deliberately designed the Perceptus Platform to support a diverse set of hardware platforms. From Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets to AR glasses, the Perceptus Platform can provide an understanding of objects in their 3D environment in a consistent framework for AR application developers.

Our key considerations were creating a scalable training process that allowed AR designers to quickly and easily define their objects of interest while also making sure our solution could run in real-time using only edge hardware, avoiding the need to transfer sensitive user data to the cloud.

XR Today: Which trends do you see taking shape in the AR sector, and which aspects of AR do you believe are more advanced and which are lagging?

Hugo Swart: A trend we see taking shape and would like to accelerate is the shift from smartphone AR to head-worn AR, which is the intent with Snapdragon Spaces.

The open ecosystem approach allows Snapdragon Spaces developers to build their head-worn AR experience once and have it scale to a range of devices and content distribution channels. Once Snapdragon Spaces becomes available to all developers, we think this will help spur a new trend and era of head-worn AR experiences spanning entertainment, gaming, education, training, health and beyond!

Jonathan Reeves: AR glasses typically fall into two key categories based on their ability to provide spatial mapping. Devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 and Magic Leap can scan a room and use advanced simultaneous localization and Mapping (SLAM) algorithms to anchor AR content in place with a degree of accuracy.

This can apply in scenarios such as when the wearer moves their head, the content remains anchored in a fixed position. Other AR smart glasses lack spatial mapping and may not provide the degree of accuracy required for enterprise use cases.

Jonathan Reeves, Founder and Chief Executive of Arvizio

To date, achieving accurate spatial mapping has relied on depth-sensing cameras to build a 3D mesh of the space, much like LiDAR sensors in the iPhone Pro and iPad Pro have demonstrated.

To reduce the cost and weight of AR smart glasses, vendors are actively working on SLAM-based tracking approaches using stereoscopic cameras to deliver accurate tracking at a reduced cost.

This is challenging to achieve across a broad range of lighting conditions, but will lead to a significant reduction in cost, size, and weight.

A second key requirement for widespread adoption is hand gesture recognition. Devices such as HoloLens 2 have set the bar for this type of mixed reality (MR) interaction, and low-cost devices entering the market will need to offer a similar level of hands-free operation.

Dr Brad Quinton: The trends we see taking place in the AR sector are that many of the underlying AR hardware challenges are rapidly being resolved with maturing optics, high-speed wireless connectivity and high-quality virtual object rendering.

Where we see AR lagging is in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to understand the context of the user’s AR experience, to provide high-value, contextually aware experiences and applications.

All modern mobile processors have high-performance neural accelerators, but for the most part, they have yet to be deployed in a meaningful way for AR because of the lack of appropriate tools, platforms and software.

XR Today: Why is interoperability a key component of tailoring your AR solutions for multiple purposes? How has your company accommodated versatility for your clients, both for deployment and continued support?

Hugo Swart: There are many facets to interoperability and our chips are designed to interoperate with multiple display types and technologies, for example.

Another interoperability angle is the support for OpenXR, as we want to make it as frictionless as possible for developers to create immersive experiences. Snapdragon Spaces is also designed, leveraging existing developer tools, to create 3D content like Unity and Epic game engines.

Jonathan Reeves: Arvizio software solutions for AR have been designed to work across a variety of AR devices, including AR smart glasses and mobile devices.

We currently support HoloLens 2, Magic Leap, and iOS and Android devices, and expect to add additional devices supported by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces initiative in the coming months.

Regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, remote collaboration has been a key driver in the use of AR and the crisis has made this necessary for business continuity.

Arvizio offers two solutions: the Immense 3D software solution and AR Instructor. Our Immerse 3D software allows multiple users to work with 3D models across locations for design reviews and stakeholder collaboration. Additionally, our AR Instructor offers step-by-step work instruction and remote expert “see-what-I-see” video sharing for additional guidance and work validation.

Dr Brad Quinton, Chief Executive and CTO of Singulos Research

Dr Brad Quinton: Interoperability is key for us because there is still no de-facto standard on AR hardware. We believe that it will be important to support a variety of hardware and operating systems in the near-to medium-term as users and application developers learn which hardware works best for them and their usage scenarios.

XR Today: What are your company’s thoughts on the Metaverse? When do you expect a solid foundation for the platform, and what would it look like?

Hugo Swart: We truly believe in the potential of the Metaverse and that Qualcomm is your ticket to it. Qualcomm has been investing in the underlying and core technologies to enable the Metaverse for over a decade, and we will continue to do so to help all our partners build and realize its full potential.

We are enabling our customers’ different Metaverse ecosystems and deploying our own with Snapdragon Spaces, so we believe the foundation is being built and something will come to fruition in the not-so-distant future.

Jonathan Reeves: We do not see a single Metaverse meeting the needs of all, but rather a set of Metaverse categories with several approaches being offered in each.

We believe four categories of Metaverse will emerge — Industrial, Business, Social, and Gaming — and in each category, there will be a variety of solutions and vendors, each vying for leadership. We believe this is a far more likely outcome than a single, dominant Metaverse platform.

Dr Brad Quinton: We believe that the Metaverse will be fundamentally personal and anchored in our own physical spaces. We see a continuity between AR and immersive VR, where users will select the minimum amount of immersion to achieve the task and experience they want, merging the value of the Metaverse with the comfort of physical reality.

Rather than having to pay the cost of immersion as an entry fee to the Metaverse, they will instead move through an AR-first Metaverse that transitions to immersive experiences when it makes sense.

We believe that mobile processors with advanced AI hardware coupled to 5G networks will be the platform for AR-first Metaverse in the next 1-3 years.