B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 2 months ago

Prioritizing safety and revolutionizing video-assisted collaboration with Sanjay Jhawar

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The goal of video-assisted gear—such as virtual reality or video conferences—is often immersion. However, in environments where virtual collaboration coincides with high-risk tasks, workers require a new solution. 

With the RealWear Navigator headset device, you can have the best of both worlds and reach new heights of productive long-distance collaboration.   

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Sanjay Jhawar, co-founder and chief strategy officer for RealWear Inc, about: 

- Explaining the RealWear headset design

- RealWear use cases across remote work

- Partnering with RealWear 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next DOT INGRAM MICRO DOT com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Shelby Skat Hawk, and our guest today is Sanjay Jour Co founder and chief strategy officer for real wear. Sanjay, welcome, thank you, it's a pleasure to be here. Well, today we are talking about assisted reality for the industrial frontline worker. But to start off, Sanjay, tell us about yourself and real wear as a company selling with myself. I'm the CO founder of the company. We've been around for a little over six years. Real wears very much the leader in a sub categorization of the broader augmented reality space, and that is what we call enterprise assisted reality. And what assisted reality is is really a style of augmented reality that is focused on rugged industrial enterprises, major industrial companies on a global basis where health and safety is an important consideration for the users. So it's just a reality. It's like a see what I see headset, basically. Yes, so the design of the headset is a device that fits around the head in a kind of semi circular arc. It's not a pair of glasses that you would see in the movies, but it is a very capable device. The display that you look at is only on one eye, not on both eyes, so it allows you to have most of your vision unobstructed and that's very important for health and safety in industrial environments where you don't want to have your vision block to the point where there's a safety hazards, such as a forklift truck or, you know, steam valve in a factory or a plant. And our type of device gives you around a twenty degree field of view and one eye and it's able to last an entire shift long eight to turn hours on a single battery. It's able to connect over Wifi or cellular with the appropriate accessories and it has a very high performance camera. And so a lot of what the use cases are around is this idea that camera is worn on the head and a remote person, an expert or...

...a technical support specialists, for a technician is able to remotely see the field of view, and so the camera's facing forward. It's not facing back towards the user's head, unlike the zoom call, for example, where we're seeing each other's faces, here the remote person is seeing the external scene. Think of it a bit like a go pro type of idea, except that it's really fit for purpose, for industrial use, and it includes, you know, live connectivity and lots of other features. It's an android system too, so it can run many other applications beyond that, but those are often the applications the customers go to first and get the immediate, first value from the system. So I'm glad that we're going into kind of the design, basically what it looks like, because I think we want to paint this picture of what this tool is, because it's not it's certainly not ubiquitous in in the in the field. Yes, let me try and to kind of delineate that a little more on this audio podcast. So what you have is a Horsh shoe shaped device. It goes over your head and goes around the back. It's pretty thin on the back on the left and right side it's a little thicker, maybe a little over an inch inch in the inch and a quarter maybe thick on each side. The right hand side, I would say the side with the camera, because you can flip the whole thing over, depend on your which I you want to wear it on. But the side with the camera on it also has the processor, the speaker, a few buttons and the camera itself can be pointed up or down independently from the display. And then there's a whole boom arm that's articulated, which upon which the display is situated and that display can move up and down. There are actually six degrees of free him. You can move it around and most of the time and users are positioning the display slightly below the line of sight so it's not blocking the field of view. You're able to look over it and you just dance down. So I think of it like the dashboard in your car. Right your eyes are on the road, your hands are on the wheel, you need to look down at the something on your dashboard. You look down for a second or two or three and you look back up again because it's really important for you to be safe and you can't be you know texting and driving or or things like that. Right. So the analogy here is that you want to heads up display but it doesn't block your field of view. It's right there underneath your field of view and you have lots of adjustment and many ways to kind of set it up so that it is optimally fitted. Now the other side there's a connecting piece that joins the two sides together. It's a springy arm. It can actually be adjusted in such a way that it can fit lots of different headsize is and also hard hats and other protective...

...equipment, but baseball cats bomb caps. The other side mostly contains the battery, a fingerprint sensor, which is also something that you can use to turn the device on. So it's on off switch and fingerprints sensor. It's used for security and authentication, and the battery itself is removable and swappable and in fact there's a backup battery and side, so you can actually take the battery off and put a new one on and keep your video call going or keep your application going for three or four minutes, you know, whilst you bring out your other battery. Batteries are pretty lightweight. The whole system is quite light. It is about two hundred and seventy two grams and there are different accessories that you can add for different ways to attach it to your head. As I mentioned, there's a something we call the work band, which is a kind of a head band. There's clips for all kinds of hard hats, from claming hats to regular hard hats, to full brim to front brim hard hats and many different countries, and there's baseball caps and bump caps and lots of different ways to wear it, depending on the use case, the environment, the requirements of the health and safety department on what you're required to wear. And as we've been doing this for many years in many countries with many customers, I think we've seen pretty much every flavor under the sun of requests of way to mount it and way to be safety compliant, and so we have many, many solutions that have been deployed and built for different head mount options. These are all very important for the industrial space. These may not be the things that you think about if you're thinking about augmented reality from a consumer space or as a Gamer or as some kind of kingsman glasses. That's not really what this is. This is a fit for purpose industrial solution. It does very well at the job it's designed for. Son of movie reference, kingsman classes. That's a movie with lots of British characters, which is why I go to it. But yes, we have a we have the other American movies too. It's a favorite and violently violent. But that's a different PODCASTS, but I did look up the gram's conversion there. So that's about nine and a half ounces for those who don't have a reference for Grahams. Alright, so you touched on this. Then how assisted reality really is? Kind of it coexists with augmented or mixed reality, but it's a different, very more tangible, more real life example, I guess, is that. How is that how you describe it? Now? I think that the way to think about this is, you know, there's a spectrum of what people have generally referred to as augmented reality and you know, I think, what a lot of people have heard of in the the tech, Tech...

Industry, if you've been following it, is things like the Maxoft Hollow Lens Or, more recently, the magically devices. These are very immersive, they cover both eyes, they aim for the maximum field of view possible and in the optical solution that they have to use to make that work, you necessarily darkened the field of view. You mean, in order to get your your see through display to work against the real world, you basically have to darken the real world significantly. And in order to get the displays, electronics and optics you have to put them somewhere. So you're going to you're going to Obstructu your field of view, whether it's above or to the side, to some degree. So you necessarily lose a certain amount of situational awareness. So that's the and what you're getting is the maximum immersion. And so when you lose situational awareness, you're losing some safety. When your field of view is dark under, your field of viewer is reduced. You may get more immersion of the display, but you're getting, if you like, less real world directly into your field of view. So that that is very valuable in and helpful in and kind of indoor situations or in training situations or places where it's really not that dangerous, but in places where you're out in oil field, you're out in a factory, you're perhaps in a place where there's electrical hazards. You're climbing a wind turbine wearing a harness, you're doing line work, you know these types of situations. You're you're in a factory with robots moving around you and you've got to be really careful. These are places where safety is a higher consideration and in those environments customers that are looking for a different balance of immersion versus safety. And so the assisted reality subcategory, which is where real were, as the leader, is really targeting that height of usage, and that's happy usage. Means you've got critical information when you need it, but your cognition is held in the real world more much like driving that car right your eyes are on the road and you glance down at your dashboard and you can read some things, you can even read some text. You could talk to it with your voice, but you're not taking your cognition out of the real world, unlike let's say virtual reality, where you don't see the real world at all. Some of the hybrids there are some passed through solutions where you see the real world but it's passed through the camera and you know that there are different trade offs for different purposes. Often they're done for training. Often they're done for for people who are not in hazardous environments. Those are all very valid use cases too, and there are other other products from other companies that do that, but we specialized in this assisted reality that we call it, and it seems to be a very good fit for all kinds of industrial companies and all kinds of industries. I'm glad you went into...

...some of those industries that that real wear works within an automotive consumer goods manufacturing like food and beverage and uh, you mentioned the oil and gas industries. So tell us about real wears work with Ford for dealers and service departments. Yes, we're very proud of this. Forward in the across the America's especially all of the US dealerships, and then increasingly in other countries around the world is using the real war h Mt One, which is our original device for dealer service assistance. And so essentially the way this works is you bring a car into a dealership, there's something some issue, if it's not immediately obvious what it is, then they have to call the Technical Assistance Center and so the dealer employee who has trained by forward now calls a dealer assistance center at Ford where there are board employees who are experts and their job is to help the dealer figure out what the issue is. Typically, this was was done, you know, through phone calls or maybe text messages, and the challenge with that was you've got your hands in the engine, you've got your you know you're under the car. You know there's a safety issue there too. You often need both hands because you've got tools. Maybe you're holding a multimeter, maybe you're doing an optical strobe on on on some moving part. I mean there are all kinds of things you do and these days cars are very complex. There's a lot of electronics in there and it's not that everybody necessarily knows every single thing, so there's a lot of coaching required this. This challenge is getting more acute because there's more and more electric vehicles coming in. Forward is one of the leaders in in deploying electric vehicle calls, especially the electric f one, fifty and other vehicles, and the dealers generally do not have the same level of expertise and training on electric vehicles that they do on internal combussion engines. Even internal Combusson engines are very complicated with all the electronics now and all the diagnostics. So there's more and more need to do these service escalations. And what you're able to do with the solution that we have in partnership with a team viewer, which is our software partner for this use case, you're able to call the technical assistance center remotely and they can see what you can see with very, very good camera performance, image stabilization, so it's not Jerky, the video feed is stable and you can in minutes, you know, diagnose what might otherwise take days, hours months. We've had cases, not with forward but with a commercial van company, which is...

...one of my favorite examples, where you have a commercial van that wouldn't start. was in the dealer, in the dealership and it took twenty, I think twenty one days where they weren't able to figure out why this van wouldn't start. By using the real wide device and the remote assistant they were able to trouble shoot it in thirty minutes. And so, you know, think about a commercial van. A commercial van is actually preventing somebody else's revenue, that whoever runs that van in that business needs it to make their deliveries and move their their equipment around, and if that van is not available, then the businesses has got significant downtime. So in cars we're really seeing is that the amount of time your car is in the shop is affected by how long it takes to the service escalation. And in many cases, with these more modern vehicles with a lot more electronics and E V components, they're sending people out from the from forward to get to the dealership specifically to help troubleshoot that. So now you don't have to send people out, you can remotely consult through the headset and you can turn what was days, hours, weeks of downtime into, you know, minutes in some cases. And so the productivity of that dealer field force is has improved a lot, the cost of service has improved a lot and the customer satisfaction is improved a lot. And as technicians are experiencing this type of looking over the shoulder assistance from the true expert. Back at Ford, there are so along the way getting trained right, getting trained on the job. They they have formal training, but there's nothing like, you know, having an expert standing next to you showing you exactly what the issue was and how you solve it. But now we don't have the need that expert to stand next to you. That expert is remote, not expert. By the way, it can service many more people at the same time because they don't have to be physically there right so you know the productivity of that expert forces are so multiplied. So Ford has roll this out to all US dealerships and it's now expanding into other countries and to our knowledge Um and no one's contradicted me in in several months so far. So I think this is true. This is the world's largest enterprise augmented reality deployment of any flavor, not just assisted reality, at a single customer. And we're up to I don't know if I can disclose it, but we're up to multiple thousands of devices in the US and more internationally as well well. You know, to unpack some of that, I mean, yes, real wears use for this kind of specialized automotive team tuning makes a lot of sense. You mentioned the electric vehicles also. I understand that the four G T is a it's not a car that every service service mechanic is trained on. So...

...being able to have this, I imagine, helps a little bit of the distance. Making sure that you know you can get this knowledge and it's not limited to location. Correct. That's right. Yes, something like before. Gt You know, is a very high end vehicle. There aren't very many authorized dealerships. They're trying to generate a super premium service experience for super premium car. It's it's all part of the ownership experience and so that's one of the places discovered and started. And then, of course, you know, the benefits also a crew to all the you know, the much less expensive cars which are much higher volume. But the initial driver for all of this in our early engagements with with Ford, were around customer satisfaction for super premium vehicles, but as the benefits for experience, and Ford was already looking for using the latest technology in there to expo assistant centers and so, you know, these two things came together and we were able to work with the software partners. Was it was very important to integrate with their systems and that's where team viewer came in and also one of our system integrators, Tech Mahendra. So then the supply and logistics and delivery, of course, were through Ingram micro and that group of companies together have really come together to to produces something that can scale quite rapidly. Were for the most part, we're deploying between two hundred and fifty and five hundred devices per quarter as we went through the rollout, and I think it's still continuing and as the US kind of gets completely fulfilled, we still have the rest of North America and then we're seeing significant deployments already in in other parts of the world, both Europe and Asia and Australia. So I think this thing is going to keep going for a while. Right now are our footprint is one device per dealership, but when you think about the typical for dealership, there are between typically four and aid service space, and so where we hope and expect this will go is that eventually, and I have to be clear that Ford hasn't exactly pasted to purchase order for this, but eventually we hope and expect that will have one device or service bay rather than one per dealership, and so you can kind of see where this goes. I mean this this is this industry is huge and this is just what is the largest such customer, but we have many other automotive customers both in the US and and across the world, and so this transition to more sophisticated systems, more sophisticated support e vs. this is going on across the world and ultimately we think that all dealer service locations of all vehicles worldwide will ultimately be using technology like this. Hopefully many of much of...

...it from us. I mean there are some other people out there too, but we're certainly by far and away the leader in in the volume deployments to date. Yeah, well, what about other remote assistants? Can I guess, can you share some of the more common uses for real wears headsets? Yeah, so we've talked a lot about automotive and that's both in dealer servicing as well as manufacturing. We have quite a few customers. And manufacturing that's about, you know, quality inspection manufacturing, making sure that there are not aren't cosmetic details or all the bolts around the wheels correctly. There's some computer vision solutions that we have with IBM that are involved with that. And then there's the machine, the robot, commissioning, the robot repair, the other tools and equipment that they have to use in factories. So there's a whole other side which is the manufacturing side. And then within automotive I would say there's not just cars, there's there's cars, trucks, big commercial trucks, like both in Europe and in North America, engines for big commercial trucks. All of these things are part of the automotive space and when we find lots of opportunities outside of automotive. There are a couple other verticals which are very strong for us. One is the consumer goods manufacturing. Our largest customers there are in food and beverage manufacturing and to some degree also in distribution. So in manufacturing, you know, a good example customer would be and someone like called Cago Pom Olive, where you know they're making toothpaste and pet food and you know it's very high throughput business and so the cost of downtime of any of that manufacturing equipment can be very high. So cargo, for example. You know the current generation toothpaste filling machines do eight hundred cheap toothpaste per minute, which is forty eight thousand tubes of toothpaste per hour, and they're about a dollar each coursell. So you know when that machine stops working and you've got almost fifty thou dollars an hour of lost production. Right and so that you know and and if it takes twelve hours, twenty four hours for the vendor to come out and fix it, then you've got a very large downtime. So that's another area where we found a lot of traction. Was In in high volume consumer goods manufacturing, whether it's toothpaste or food or you know, we have customers in in metal manufacturing, all kinds, and then the equipment that goes into those manufacturing facilities, as well, as you know, the inspection of the of the manifes, of the goods themselves. There's training as well, as you know, just simple remote video calls. So you know, there's a there's a whole category of what we call guided instructions work, guided work constructions. So if you if you think of the first challenges, something is broken, I need to fix it urgently now, I need to call an expert because the clock is ticking. That's where a lot of...

...customers start because that's the highest value problem. But once you get beyond that and it's like, well, I don't want to have the downtime to begin with. So you know, how do how do I do scheduled maintenance or scheduled inspections and can we take digital records of these scheduled inspections? got both hands free, got the camera on my head. Were you able to follow guided work instructions under this Um this casing? Look at the condition of this gear wheel, you know, check the wiring here, you know, whatever you it might be. You go through your lockout, tag out, turn off the electricity before you start, you know, and go step by step through a series of instructions, with those in structures Wi appear on your screen and you'll just use your voice to check off whether or not you passed or failed. We are a lot of vehicle inspection cases like that as well at places in the in the Olin gas industry. And then we get into mentioning all in gas. Another large area for us is oil and gas, upstream and stream and downstream, particularly, I would say, upstream and downstream, upstream being exploration and production, both onshore and offshore, and downstream being a lot of refining, the refineries, plants that are making polyethylene or polypropylene or gasoline. Frankly and again, where all of those industries are looking for efficiency, they're looking for improved health and safety compliance, looking for fewer leaks, looking for better maintenance. That's all about predictive maintenance. Some of our customers are big customers, are Shell, Exxon and around the world, and what's important there for many of those field environments is that the device itself is safety compliance and one of the things you need in hydrocarbon environments is you need to have devices that are incapable, of course, an explosion and capable of having a fault where you could generate a spark that could ignite, you know, hydrocarbons, gasoline, natural gas and cause cause a hazard. So these companies and the regulators require a certification which is called intrinsically safe. It means the device itself is not capable of igniting and explosive atmosphere and is one of the very few companies that makes intrinsically safe head mounted devices and as a result, most of the world's largest blowing gas refiners and explorers are using realway devices in many different regions. And intrinsically service also useful in the pharmaceutical industry because you have some biofarm and manufacturing cases where again you have solvents and the concern about ignition and you have to take appropriately certified devices and you can't take your iphone...

...and you can't take your your normal, you know, laptop and you you know there are certain zones where you have to leave all those things behind and only use the approved devices. So in the head mounting category we are by far and away the leader of an intrinsically safe device. So the uses are are certainly widespread and really fascinating. I mean really cool stuff of how real wears heads. That can be put to put to multiple uses for Inger Micros, an authorized descributor for real wear. But what's for partners or resellers who are hearing this are thinking, well, you know that that's probably just for the you know that is for the fords of the world. I don't have customers like that. I guess I would say, you know what's in it for for those folks? Why is it beneficial to to find opportunities to work with real wear? Well, I mean, first of all, we do have a tiger team, outbound sales team ourselves. We sell about nine through channel. So a lot of what we're doing is being the subject matter expert, helping our partners, are resellers, to create the solutions troubleshooting those solutions. RESELLERS had a lot of value with kitting, with training, with advance replacement devices and all those traditional services that hardware resellers do. In a lot of cases resellers are involved in training and kitting and we are team is available to train resellers. We do lead generation. Um resellers generate their own leads too, but we also do quite a bit of lead generation. We have many successful examples where either reseller introduced a customer but we were able to help that reseller expand the use cases in that customer and broaden it, and the other way around, where we just had a traditional lead that we generated and passed over and that turned into customers. So this this this is business as usual. Like many, you know, companies in our type of industry, we're still out of phase of this market where it needs some expertise to credit solution. And you know, six years in in our company and we've done a lot of work to systematize and makes easier to deploy these solutions and the average cell cycle over those years has come down from, you know, eighteen, twenty four months down to, you know, probably three to six months and at the height of the pandemic at the beginning of the stale cycle was very low because people really needed to have remote, remote assistance. They couldn't get their people out at all. Um It's normalized a little bit, but the solutions are premature. Now lots of customer references and lots of very proven business cases. So it's not pioneer cells most of the time, but it is an enterprise cell cycle. It does take, you know, three to six months, maybe nine months, depending on the customer. We've made great progress recently on device man aagement with Microsoft in tune, and for a long...

...time we've had great support from vm ware and so so tea, and those are important for customers. So a lot of these, it is kind of thorny issues that over the last several years have largely been systematized and are now available for use. The the railware devices are android but they're not what I'm known as g MS or Google mobile certified devices, because the certification is just not available for this form factor of device from Google. So we've had to work around the Google services and things like device management and other things which enterprises rely on. It has taken, you know, a number of years to kind of get all these things sorted out, but they're there now right so it's much easier to to kind of get to the end of a sales cycle relatively quickly than it used to be with the maturity that we now have six years into the beginning this thing, this journey. Well, as we start to wrap up our episode, and we always ask our guests the same final question, and that's where do you see technology going in the next year? I know that's broad, but within the space or or another arm, where do you see technology headed this year? Yeah, well, I mean technologies, you know, always changing and uh and getting more exciting. I mean the trends that we see across the industry, and they're very applicable to us. Great greater use of Ai our devices, perhaps seen by our customers as a hardware device, but in truth there are more software engineers of our company than hardware engineers and a lot of them are working on user interface and increasingly working on how to leverage the data that's available at the customer sites in a secure way and the customer control to derive insights from what's going on. So we see a lot more computer vision applications, object recognition applications coming in the future in these types of devices, ultimately recognizing which are the pieces of equipment that need the most human attention. A lot of what we're interested in the real way for the future is it's really understanding the interaction between the human and the asset, the machine. And if you think about it, you know, a device that's one on the head for large parts of the day, hopefully the whole day, because it's easy to use and easy to to wear, is in an ideal place to really start to understand where the most interactions and intensity is required between the human workforce and their machine assets. So part of where we're going is starting to measure that instrument that and learn from it using AI. So that will ultimately, you know, several years down the road here we'll be able to predict what the user is likely to want before they even ask for it. So, based on where you are, who was here before, what Potos we have on on hand, you know which PDS did you access, did or another user in your role access in the...

...past in this location, and blend all of that information together with third party applications as well as some of our own cloud capabilities too. Continue to improve the efficiency and anticipate what the technician, the end user, is going to want to do, and that allows them to spend less time searching for information and less, I'm doing the basics and more time really using their expertise to improve the performance ongoing basis. And so we really see elevating the frontline worker in terms of their skills, they're learning and their ability to access information. Spending less time finding, you know, manuals, have a filing cabinets or trying to figure out where in your your cloud folder is the right document. How long does it take me to get there? And do I have to carry a laptop up a win turbine to do it, and more time really solving real problems and improving the performance of both the the people and the assets that the plant of the machines and plant perform plant assets. So we think that we can continue to do this, drive this, learn from our customers, learn from the data that we're able to collect and go through this virtual cycle of improving the USABILITY, improving the utility and, Um ultimately improving the business results for customers. And there is sort of no end to this. A lot of what we're doing is going from the commander control based Voice Control System that we have now two industrial natural language, which has to work in very high noise. We have our system works at a hundred descibles, so it's incredibly loud. Getting a full natural language to work at a hundred descibles. You can't do that with, you know, Google Assistant, for example. There is a way to solve that. Those are things we're working on and we'll just expand the value and the ease of use of these solutions to the point where they become just as ubiquitous as the smartphone, but for the industrial worker. Excellent. Well, for listeners who wanted to find out more about what we talked about today, I understand that they can go to the Ingram U S Iot team and that email address as us dot IOT at Ingram micro dot com. Where else can they find some more informations? Yeah, you can certainly go to real west website, which is www dot realwear dot com. That's R E A L W E A R and there's lots of information there, as well as resources and builty to reach our team. You can become, if you're not already, a real wear reseller. We have a process for that you can access that through the website as well and our reseller team can get in touch with you and you know, lots of resources available for for the channel. Sanj. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you, it's a great pleasure and thank you listeners, for tuning in and subscribing to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. If you liked this episode have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the...

Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time, I'm shelby skirt talk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. B Two B tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

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