The smart glasses firm explores its milestones in augmented and assisted reality use cases
For many distributed and remote workforces, employees must remain more connected than ever to perform their tasks with optimal efficiency, reliability, and transparency. Regardless of location, assisting such workers in the modern workplace must deliver tangible results while providing real-world return on investment (ROI). Solutions from RealWear’s assisted reality (aR) product lineup aim to facilitate this.
RealWear is a company that has remained at the forefront of the remote guidance and industrial extended reality (XR) market. Its solutions have provided immersive use cases for factory workers, first responders, oil and gas engineers, and many others. Industry verticals requiring digital transformations rely on such solutions from companies like RealWear, Lenovo, ThirdEye, Vuzix, and others to reach their targets.
Jon Arnold, Vice President of Sales for EMEA, RealWear shared his company’s insights on augmented reality (AR) smart glasses and how they can empower current and future workforces.
XR Today: What progress have you made in your AR Smart Glass hardware, services, and solutions?
Jon Arnold: Significant progress has been made regarding RealWear’s product offering to its customers. In January of this year, RealWear announced the launch of the RealWear Navigator 520 to empower and engage frontline workers to achieve more in an increasingly complex world.
The new hands-free wearable device is a step up from the prior generation with its enhanced viewability. The device’s HyperDisplay upgrade has a 20 percent larger high-definition (HD) screen in 720p. Additionally, the Navigator 520 features twice the pixels as RealWear’s previous offering, an eye box that is five times larger, and improved eye relief. This offers the maximum distance your eye can be from the display to view the content easily.
I wanted to quote from Noah Balmer, RealWear’s Director of Product Design,
“Just like any technology, customers always want more. Your old TV was so much smaller than your current one, your phone likely gets an upgrade every two years to the latest model. The RealWear Navigator 500 core display was more than adequate for most users, however having more screen real estate and almost double the pixels unlocks even more value – not only for more crisp text and more colour precise images, but also to get more on the screen. This allows our app developers around the world to improve on the current programs which already make work easier for the workers.”
Equally important, at the end of last year, RealWear announced the launch of the world’s first fully hands-free, voice-controlled thermal camera. Frontline workers can capture high-resolution, visible-spectrum images by connecting the new RealWear thermal camera module to the RealWear Navigator 520 headset.
They can also take photos of various thermal and colour modes to quickly identify temperature anomalies in mission-critical industrial equipment like pumps, pipes, wiring and motors.
These two releases have set RealWear apart as the gold standard for frontline teams looking to apply XR safely and productively. RealWear is also the pioneer of assisted reality, which has enabled a number of practical XR use cases where real work can get done.
XR Today: Which use cases have begun to develop for your product clients? How do your AR headsets facilitate them?
Jon Arnold: RealWear’s assisted reality devices excel at providing hands-free communication for global workforces. aR is the technology that underpins industrial wearables.
The technology enables a local engineer in an extremely harsh and perhaps hazardous environment, such as adverse weather conditions, high locations, or at sea, to send IoT data in real-time to an expert located anywhere.
No matter if the remote expert is across the street or the other side of the world, they can see the problem through the eyes of the worker, help diagnose the issue, and help the local engineer repair items safely in real-time, with zero travel or delays and additionally, with tremendous cost savings.
RealWear is now adopting remote collaboration combined with digital workflows, data visualization, and object recognition. Some recent customer examples that showcase the flexible nature of this technology and its application in a variety of industries and settings include the following:
Prior to Mercedes-Benz in Turkey’s country-wide enterprise wearable deployment, the process for vehicle repair in all of its 56 authorised service centres included hundreds of in-person trips, emails, shared photos and videos, and over-the-phone collaboration with subject matter experts.
Thanks to the RealWear deployment, it eliminated the need for technical support staff to visit the dealership physically and, subsequently, the cost to the environment of around 500 tons of carbon emissions per year.
When travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic impacted TÜV SÜD’s nuclear power business from performing its traditional inspection process, it hoped to conduct inspections remotely.
Since deploying RealWear’s technology, TÜV SÜD’s nuclear business has witnessed significant benefits. A recent project using remote collaboration saved seven intercontinental flights alone.
The cost and environmental benefits for both TÜV SÜD and the end customer were notable, saving roughly 11 hours of travel time and approximately 4,000 euros per flight.
Mace works on a number of construction projects, both in the UK and across the globe. When the pandemic hit and travel restrictions came into effect, Mace envisioned an entirely new and safer way to inspect building façades.
Since the deployment’s completion, Mace has been able to reduce in-person site visits, and its Façade team has seen a 75 percent reduction in travel.
XR Today: How important is it to support first and third-party immersive applications on AR headsets? How does this facilitate interoperability for the industry?
Jon Arnold: Interoperability with third parties is the name of the game. RealWear devices support the widest range of voice-enabled XR voice apps, which are constantly growing.
More than 200 leading software partners have optimised their solutions for RealWear with fully voice-controlled, hands-free navigation. To be clear, RealWear goes through a collaborative review process with each app, because great user experiences matter a lot to frontline workers.
With voice commands supported in 17 languages, RealWear solutions can be easily deployed across the globe. We have also teamed up with popular meeting collaboration solutions like Microsoft Teams, AMA Xpert Eye, Librestream Onsight Connect, Oculus Share, Zoom, and WebEx Expert on Demand – all optimised for voice-enabled user experiences.
XR Today: What are your views on the enterprise and industrial metaverses? How will these drive demand for solutions such as yours?
Jon Arnold: The Metaverse was the tech buzzword of 2022. For those not accustomed to the term, it essentially refers to the vision of the internet of tomorrow: a digital universe that allows us to connect with each other, and things, in a virtual way like never before.
Its potential has resulted in much investment among consumer and enterprise businesses, given how it can transform the way in which we live and work.
Organisations looking at the technologies required to deliver metaverse experiences should look to the latest developments in extended reality (XR). XR is a vast term that encompasses immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and assisted reality.
These XR technologies won’t remove people from the equation, but will instead empower and elevate them to have data at their fingertips, improving their work experience and productivity.
Those that are not connected workers will become disadvantaged and will lack competitive productivity compared to firms adopting XR. With this in mind, IT integrators must begin to study and offer XR technologies as a gateway into the industrial metaverse. Then, no matter what becomes of the industrial metaverse, or when the vision is fully realised, companies will reduce the learning curve and manage the change with foresight.
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