In a recent panel talk at the Augmented Enterprise Summit (AES) 2023, Dr Chris Parkinson, Chief Executive and Co-Founder, RealWear, discussed the benefits and rise of the assisted reality (aR) wearables market.
Speaking at the event, he explored the potential of aR devices for frontline workers in a panel discussion.
Designed for enterprise users, assisted reality offers less immersion than augmented reality (AR), but rather integrates minimal digital overlays on the physical space of the wearer.
Speaking at his “State of XR” panel discussion, Dr Parkinson moderated a group of experts from around the virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR). These included,
- Angela Gammill, General Manager, IFS Technology and Innovation, Delta Airlines
- Jeff Landowski, MBA, Senior Director, Supply Chain Tech, Sysco
- Brian Laughlin, PhD, Technical Fellow and Systems Engineer, Digital Transformation (DTx), Boeing
- James Del Rossi, Senior Innovation Manager, Dow Chemical and Energy
- Anthony Hartke, VDC Regional Manager, Turner Construction
Addressing the Problems in XR
In the panel talk, many of the participants focused on the need for return on investment (ROI) for emerging technologies. As more companies invest in the innovative technological tools, they must exercise caution to avoid their AR and VR projects becoming stuck in a “pilot purgatory,” according to Dr Parkinson.
Panellists noted the benefits of RealWear aR solutions and smart glasses, noting their efficacy in tackling real-world operational challenges with cost-effectiveness and practicality.
RealWear’s aR smart glasses like the Navigator 500 and others have become a mainstay in industrial and healthcare use cases. Their ruggedised, lightweight form factor offer long battery life for all day usage, as well as hands-free voice controls for operating devices safely in hazardous or dangerous environments.
The devices also optimise communications between remote teams with video calling, Microsoft Teams and Zoom conversations, and a small heads-up display (HUD).
In his conversation with the panellists, Dr Parkinson said,
“The allure of AR and VR certainly gets the clicks and shares. But the panel reveals the other reality, that assisted reality is the pragmatic choice bridging to the future because it’s a real-time dashboard, not the industrial metaverse”
For example, Dr Parkinson also introduced RealWear’s Navigator Z1 headset. For industrial users, RealWear designed the assisted reality device for working in potentially explosive environements.
Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) built around frontline workers, the device operates on bespoke neural net processors.
He told the audience: “Realwear Navigator Z1 has our first set of AI capable hardware. It’s got its own neural net processors on board and can run AI algorithms directly on device.”
Additionally, he explained why it was crucial for companies to create immersive products for the right environments.
After dropping the Navigator Z1 on the stage to prove its ruggedness, he said,
“We’re not just about hardware, we’re a solutions company. We work with all the other software partners, we then bundle solutions together, and we ship them out to the world. So that businesses can actually deploy, and you’re not stuck in pilot purgatory”
Comments from Panellists
Most of the panellists agreed with this observation, with many stating their firsthand experience on the subject.
Sysco’s Landowski stated this his company “found that augmented reality, once we started to put that on warehouse selectors, it starts to mess with their vision.”
Sysco manages and runs 334 distribution facilities around the world for roughly 725,000 customer locations.
However, Boeing’s Laughlin stated his concerns with the technological tool, stating businesses should not purchase them just to integrate them into their technology stacks.
Currently, Boeing is the world’s biggest aerospace firm, which manufacturers civilian aircraft along with military, defence, space, and security vehicles and solutions.
He said at the time,
“No one who bought a drill wanted to drill. They needed a hole. We are so caught up as technologists a lot of the times [but] users do not care. Unfortunately, all these things that are so fascinating to us as techno-geeks, [but users] could not care less. They’re trying to get something done. Help them get to done. That’s all they really care about”
Emily Friedman, BrainXchange Co-Founder and an AES Conference Organiser, explained that her company “tried to pull together a panel that would represent a cross-seciton of what’s happening in the real world regarding augmented reality.”
“The industry leaders made it clear that assisted reality was extremely important to focus on to generate immediate ROI and to gain real use cases and adoption”
RealWear Share Key Insights on Enterprise XR
The news comes after Dr Parkinson shared his insights on RealWear aR and AR markets with XR Today for its Trends and Updates series. The dedicated researcher, professional, and innovator explained how these immersive and non-immersive tools would greatly benefit enterprise and industrial workers in their daily workflows.
In addition to added security, XR devices have the potential to save companies massive levels of time, resources, and equipment downtime, he told XR Today at the time.
Additionally RealWear announced in a recent update it had partnered with the North Tees and Hartlepool National Health Services (NHS) Foundation Trust. Through the partnership, the immersive tech firm deployed its RealWear Navigator 500 smart glasses to coach students on critical, lifesaving surgeries for patients.
In one of the first-ever demos of the technology, students could participate in lectures featuring live-streamed video footage of minor and major surgeries. It also highlighted and addressed questions from remote audiences submitting voice and text enquiries directly to the surgeons in the operating theatre.
The pilot programme was widely hailed as a success by participant doctors, medical teams, and surgeons. Many of them could use the aR technologies to perform after-action reviews of surgical procedures for students.
XR Today judges have awarded RealWear an XR Today Award for its work in the immersive industries. Competing with some of the world’s top solutions providers at the XR Today Awards 2023, the company received the “Best Manufacturing and Industrial Solution” prize.
RealWear also earned nominations for “Best Industrial Solution,” “Best Construction Solution,” and “Best Automotive Solution” from the previous year.
Taqtile Debuts Manifest v2.8 at AES 2023
Additionally, at the AES 2023, Taqtile debuted its upgraded Manifest platform for defence and industrial clients. The award-winning solution allows industries across verticals to remotely inspect hardware and equipment to locate, isolate, and document faults.
At the event, Taqtile demoed Manifest v2.8 to attendees, demonstrating the solution’s efficacy in streamlining inspection processes across facilities.
The novel solutions helps companies to digitally transform their operations from paper processes to fully automated, digitised systems. This allows IT teams to monitor processes in real-time while limiting errors in procedures.
Inspections rely on these assisted reality solutions to avoid wasting vital resources like time, physical assets, and others. These can also help companies reach their targeted environmental, social, and governmental (ESG) targets by reducing such waste and inefficiencies in their daily operations.
Reducing error has become a more crucial step to building industry efficiency as many turn to remote guidance tools like RealWear and Taqtile. These tools provide step-by-step walkthroughs for technicians operating in remote parts of the world—sometimes thousands of miles away from the company’s physical offices.
The news comes after the Augmented Enterprise Summit took place in Houston, TX from 24 to 26 October. Many of the event’s participants gathered to discuss enterprise, industrial, and business applications for virtual, augmented, mixed reality, and metaverse technologies worldwide.