While news on pretty much every topic comes thick and fast if you’re covering immersive technology with as wide a scope as we do on VRFocus, one of the things we have seen recently is an increase in the number of new service ‘platforms’ using immersive technology. In particular platforms that are related to augmented reality (AR)
One such AR solutions company is Atheer Inc. They have focused their work on what they are referring to as the world’s first AR Management Platform for businesses in the industrial sector. A platform designed to adapt workforces to the rapid growth in use of digital solutions in the workplace and within general work operations. The AR Management Platform works across eight key pillars, as identified by Atheer, and is looking to provide real-time, device-agnostic support for text, audio and video collaboration.
Atheer’s Chairman Bobby Yazdani and CEO Sanjog Gad have both discussed this need in a recent White Paper and addressed their company’s release in a statement:
“Augmented reality provides the answer to empowering that huge swath of the global workforce with a technology that will dramatically increase what they are able to accomplish at work – and improve the way they do so. The new Augmented Reality Management Platform offers the promise of providing every member of the workforce with relevant, contextual, personalized information and guidance from across the enterprise into their field of view in a seamless, hands-free, intuitive manner that transforms the way they work.”
Enterprises need to be able to use an AR Management Platform on the operating systems (including iOS, Android and Windows 10) and devices (including smart glasses, tablets, smartphones, wearables and laptops) that make sense for their business and their use case. They need to be able to leverage existing investments in hardware, connectivity, device management and security – all with the knowledge that the value of their cloud-based AR Management Platform will continue to grow and evolve as they take advantage of new AR hardware and operating system enhancements.
Supports Natural Interactions:
Workers need to be able to use an AR Management Platform regardless of their use case, so it needs to support the broadest possible set of interaction modes. In many industrial settings, workers need the ability to work with AR devices (such as smart glasses) that offer hands-free operation (as they are using tools with their hands, wearing safety gloves or working in messy environments). In such cases, they may want to use voice control, hand gestures or gaze to control their AR devices. There will also still be many situations where traditional touch controls (as provided on typical smartphones or tablets) offer the easiest and best interaction mode for that task.
From training to troubleshooting, being able to collaborate in real-time using “see-what-I-see” functionality, group calling and shared content can dramatically cut down the time required to meet a given business challenge. Being able to instantly share and discuss an issue with a remote expert (or multiple remote experts from across the supply chain) provides huge and immediate value to enterprises.
Digital Asset Management:
An AR Management Platform needs to be able to access and deliver all of an enterprise’s key digital assets, including video, images, audio content, PDF documents, step-by-step work instructions, dynamic warehouse pick lists, checklists, linked workflows, and surveys.
An AR Management Platform must be context-aware. This awareness goes beyond the most simplistic information about time, location and user identity that most mobile applications provide today. The platform needs to provide context in a deep and sophisticated way by making using of key data points to inform the experience and content offered to the worker. That data could include background on the skills and expertise of the worker performing the task, data about the equipment being worked on, information about the last time a given piece of equipment was serviced, as well as IoT data from sensors. The sensor data could provide even further insights, such as the temperature of the device or the room it sits in, the air quality of the environment or live “machine state” information. Contextual awareness drives an experience that truly augments the experience of a worker accomplishing a set of tasks.
All of the data about context, when combined with machine learning and artificial intelligence, can yield profound predictive experiences for users of an AR Management Platform. Those experiences may be as simple as an assistance prompt for a user whose history shows they are continuously having problems with a particular section of a complex series of work instructions. By proactively offering that particular user the contextual guidance it is clear that they need – or a video call with a relevant expert – you can help that user be more productive.
There are many circumstances under which users of an AR Management Platform will be able to gain vital business intelligence from the performance analytics data it provides, at every level of granularity. At the individual user level, it is possible to see how well a given set of work instructions is helping that user – and where the work instructions might need tweaking to be more effective. That same analysis could be carried out for a team, a department – or even the whole enterprise.
To be effective, an AR Management Platform needs to offer the reliability, availability and security expected by enterprises, along with necessary integration capabilities (with ERP systems, service clouds, WMS systems, PLM systems, content management systems, data repositories, active directories), as well as scalability and extensibility.
“The AR Management Platform is our guiding star,” adds Gad. “We believe it offers so much promise and will be so vital to empowering the vast majority of the world’s industrial enterprises that we are making major investments in every part of our company to realize the full potential of this new software category. We can deliver many elements of that vision today and, with our own ongoing close collaboration with partners and customers, have dedicated ourselves to realizing its full potential.”
VRFocus will bring you more news on AR developments very soon.