Augmented Reality Software to Streamline Operations

A new collaboration that pairs Lenovo’s ThinkReality software platform with augmented reality headsets from RealWear could help facilitate an information pipeline between enterprise planners and frontline personnel.

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As new digital transformation initiatives continue to crop up all over industry, the convergence between operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) is a topic on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Moreover, effectively bridging the OT-IT divide isn’t a one-way street. In addition to requiring more plant-level data to be sent to the enterprise level, digital transformations also require operations personnel be given more insight into data from the broader organization. This means granting plant floor personnel much of the same overall visibility as the front-office. As an example, predictive maintenance information trained on cloud-aggregated data from across multiple sites can be provided to field- or plant-level workers in the form of data visualizations or workflow recommendations.

One of the biggest enablers of a connected OT workforce has been the proliferation of augmented reality (AR) headsets. These devices become windows into these analytics, as well as training materials and other useful information.

To help advance the use of AR technology in industry, technology company Lenovo recently announced that it is working with AR provider RealWear. As a part of the collaboration, Lenovo has certified RealWear’s HMT-1 devices for use on its ThinkReality platform.

The HMT-1 is a ruggedized, monocular AR headset designed for use in wet, dusty, or otherwise hazardous environments. As well as proving mobile visibility into the aforementioned analytics, it can allow workers to access schematics, instruction manuals, or even live audio-video remote assists in harsh industrial settings. To prevent workers from needing to scroll, tap, or swipe while performing potentially dangerous tasks with their hands, the HMT-1 also features a microphone that allows it to take voice commands, even in noisy environments.

Lenovo’s ThinkReality is a cloud- and device-agnostic software platform that allows enterprise users to unify and oversee AR deployments. In addition to providing end-users with development and management tools, it also includes a collection of turnkey AR applications for common tasks such as remote assistance, guided workflow training, remote data visualization, and design collaboration. End-users can connect existing AR devices to the platform and add new ones as they become available, easing the integration process and facilitating end-to-end management through a single interface.

In addition to certifying the HMT-1 line of devices for use with the ThinkReality platform, Lenovo will also be offering them through its global sales network as part of the collaboration.

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