One of the pioneers of using augmented reality for upskilling workers has been Upskill, formerly APX Labs. With backing investments from major customers, General Electric and Boeing, Upskill has been able to follow the vision of how this technology can drive major gains in worker productivity. Here are a few examples of case studies from their customers.
For leading telecom provider in the Netherlands, KPN, Upskill developed an A/R telecom application to help field technicians with repairs, installations and safety inspections. The application, running on Google Glass, gives technicians access to repair instructions, diagnostic data and live help from remote experts. It also integrates with KPN’s workflow system and gives technicians task assignments. Deployment of the solution resulted in 5% faster transaction completion times and 11% lower operating costs.
For a leading new American automobile manufacturer, Upskill develop an auto manufacturing defect A/R solution. Again using Google Glass, workers can see all defect issues related to the car they are looking at, record pictures of defects, watch videos that guide them with repairs, record audio notes and video instructions, and call remote experts for assistance. All this happens in the worker’s field of view at all times and completely hands-free. The large volume of new defect data and videos collected are synced to the customer’s ERP system and become available to the entire team. The benefits of deployment include a 17% better error rate, better defect tracking and improved communications across the team.
For General Electric, which became an investor, Upskill developed a warehouse A/R fulfillment application for medical devices that dramatically improved the performance of warehouse workers. Again based on the Google Glass platform, and using Upskill’s Skylight software platform, the application gives workers hands-free, always visible instructions on picking tasks, picking locations and alternate locations. Using voice commands, workers can confirm their picking and scroll through assigned tasks. Initial results showed a 46% increase in fulfillment completions.
For Boeing, another Upskill investor, Upskill developed an A/R application for aircraft wiring, also based on Google Glass. With 130 miles of wiring in every Boeing 747, and zero tolerance for errors, the Upskill application lead to both higher quality and higher productivity. In the past workers relied on large printed reference manuals and laptops for wiring aircraft, both of which required interruptions in the worker’s field of view and attention. With the always in view, hands-free solution, workers can call up schematics with voice commands and collaborate with expert remote workers who can see what the worker is seeing. The net result was a 25% reduction in production time and the reduction of error rates effectively to zero.
Electronics manufacturer, Jabil, is always looking for new technology to improve their operations, and decided to implement an Upskill A/R solution for production line monitoring. In a lean-focused electronics factory, Upskill deployed a solution to help workers cope with the complexity of processes and issues they must deal with. The solution helped workers stay on track with their workflow tasks by integrating with Jabil’s backend workflow management system. Workers can see real-time data and charts showing machine state, yields, errors and outages. The system notifies technicians automatically about issues that need their attention. For complex issues, technicians can call for help and stream their view to remote experts. The pilot program paid for itself within just two months, with ongoing benefits of increased line availability, shorter production cycles, faster delivery of orders and increased worker productivity.