How Augment IT Won Gold in “The Best of Swiss Apps Awards”

“The Best of Swiss Apps Awards” is a major annual event for the software development community in Switzerland – and this year, the winner of the Gold award in the Extended Reality category went to AREA member Augment IT, a leading Swiss software company specializing in Mixed and Augmented Reality enterprise solutions. The awards ceremony was held on November 2nd in Zurich.

The winning app is called woodtec AR Utility, and its award-winning success provides meaningful clues to how AR can increase its presence in the industrial enterprise. The innovative solution uses AR to completely do away with paper plans in the prefabrication of wooden walls – saving time, effort, error, and cost.

“The feedback we got from the award judges is that the solution won because of how it applies AR,” said Reto Grob, Augment IT’s Managing Director. “It brings together the physical context of the tabletops with the digital overlay information to really take IT into places it has not been possible to go to before.”

woodtec AR Utility enables fabricators wearing HoloLens 2 devices to view up-to-the-minute plan information in context on the work surface, thereby reducing the time required to access and verify plan information – and minimizing errors. Watch a video of woodtech AR Utility in action here.

Augment IT created the app for woodtec Fankhauser GmbH, a 35-year-old Swiss-based company that designs, builds, and markets a growing array of machinery to support the fabrication of engineered wooden components, from cross-laminated timber (CLT) to prefabricated wall and roof panels.

As the people at woodtec Fankhauser GmbH like to say, “We make machines but we love wood.” That love of timber construction has led the 35-year-old Swiss-based company to continually seek new ways to make it easier, faster, and more affordable for its customers to build with prefabricated wood. woodtec AR Utility is the latest example – and the company’s first customer software solution.

Augment IT engineers and woodtec Sales Manager Benjamin Fankhauser worked collaboratively throughout the development process.

“Our approach was to work iteratively and in a very agile way,” explained Grob. “We did a very fast prototype first with, let’s say, a first risk investment. After that, the use case was proven, and we could go into a productive development – again in phases – to balance the investment versus the returns. Benjamin Fankhauser was a key person because he understands the requirements of their customers. He was also key in helping to identify the most suitable first adopters and to guide them in making the change to the new solution.”

Today, a year after its first deployment, woodtec AR Utility continues to gain acceptance among the company’s customers.

When asked what the success of woodtec AR Utility has taught Augment IT about accelerating the adoption of enterprise AR, Grob replied, “The main obstacle is not the solution itself, but rather the change management requirements of introducing a digital tool with hardware and software. It is very important to focus on those features that reduce the friction for the workers to use. Therefore, listen to them and prove it by implementing convenience features. The best integration and user management system do not help if the workers won’t adopt it.”

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