We caught up with Percy Stocker, COO of Ubimax and speaker at this year’s VR & AR World, to discuss Augmented Reality technology, how it’s being used and which industries it will have the largest impact on in the future.
Could you tell us about yourself and how you came to work in this industry?
My passion is driving leading edge technology innovations and I strongly believe AR is a major one, which will radically change the way we live and work. I didn’t want to be a passive AR consumer, but rather actively shape our future human-machine-interaction. My computer science and management consulting background helps me to find a good balance between technology enthusiasm and obtaining business benefits for our customers.
Please could you tell us a little bit about UBiMAX and how you’re using AR technologies to provide solutions for B2B customers?
Ubimax is a leading supplier of wearable computing solutions which are deployed by organizations, midsize companies as well as international enterprises spanning multiple industries. Our innovative solutions improve customers’ business process speed, quality and flexibility beyond state-of-the-art by making use of wearable computing technology such as Vuzix M100 or Google Glass.
The portfolio of Ubimax includes both tailor-made customer solutions and industrial high-performance standard applications such as “xPick” for order picking, “xMake” for assembly assistance and quality assurance or “xAssist” for remote service scenarios. Ubimax is a full-service provider along the entire application value chain, ranging from initial consulting to software implementation and subsequent maintenance and support, acting as a one-stop-shop to its customers.
The Ubimax team consists of wearable computing pioneers with more than 15 years of experience. Its senior advisory board with leading subject matter experts (e.g. Prof. Thad E. Starner) helps to keep Ubimax clearly ahead of competition.
What are the most common challenges you face working in this sector?
The biggest challenge is fully utilizing the leading-edge hardware and jointly with our customers develop their individual vision and roadmap to success. In order to do this Ubimax offers both business as well as technology centered workshops and consulting.
Are there any exciting projects you’ve been working on recently that you can tell us about?
Companies like DHL or Samsung already today benefit from a performance increase of 20-25% in their picking processes by using the Ubimax xPick solution and are now starting to scale their deployments. DHL is aiming for a global roll-out with locations in US, Europe and Asia still in 2016. Besides these company benefits our solutions are also very popular with the workers. For example an order picker at DHL mentioned that “Using xPick, it was the first time I was having fun doing order picking”. There are many more companies that are already today using our solutions productively. Volkswagen, Daimler and Schnellecke are just a few examples.
There’s been a lot of talk about both AR and VR in gaming this year – do you believe that in the long term this is where these technologies have the most potential?
The technologies will radically change every aspect of our lives. AR will be present in all activities where physical interaction is required. Gaming is just one example where VR is used today and in the near future it will have a huge impact. But the use cases for these technologies are virtually endless.
Which 3 industries do you feel will benefit from augmented reality technology the most and why?
I believe Manufacturing, Logistic and Maintenance will benefit most.
Today, static step-by-step assembly and quality assurance procedures dominate industrial production processes. Instructions are often printed on paper or provided via a desktop PC. In both cases instructions are not always in the line of sight of the worker nor are they dynamically adjustable during production. With our innovative “make-by-vision” solution xMake, relevant information, confirmations, and documentation capabilities are always at the worker’s exact location and in front of his eyes. As a result, xMake helps to increase speed and quality of production processes as well as simplifies training of new or temporary workers.
Our software xPick is an innovative “pick-by-vision” order picking solution. It supports manual order picking, incoming, outgoing and sorting of goods as well as inventory management. xPick allows for hands-free order picking with high speed while at the same time being able to reduce the number of picking errors. With optional modules, e.g. for weight checks, barcode scans, localization, or voice confirmations, error rates can be further reduced. User acceptance is usually very high due to the innovative graphical UI design. xPick offers enormous customization flexibility and does not rely on any electronics in the environment except WLAN.
Service and inspection activities usually occupy both hands of a service technician. In addition, further information such as maintenance procedures are needed “at hand” as well. With our innovative “inspect-by-vision” solution xInspect all relevant information, like guidelines, checklists, visualizations, circuit diagrams, etc. are always right in the line of sight without compromising on a workers’ mobility. In case onsite technicians cannot resolve a problem, remote experts may be consulted for advice. The built-in remote assistance functionality (xAssist) of xInspect helps to significantly reduce machine downtime and travel cost for key experts.
If you had to predict the futures of VR and AR, what would they look like in ten years’ time?
In 10 years it will be quicker to list the things that are not yet “smart” and connected. We will live in a world of ubiquitous computing, where technology is everywhere on our bodies and in the environment. We will also not think too much anymore about how to utilize technology as there will be little to none explicit interaction, but un-intrusive information availability. We will naturally interact with the environment using multiple interconnected wearables. VR and AR will be mainstream and the two major interaction priciples.
Are there any industries or areas that UBiMAX is keen to focus on more heavily in the future?
We will continue to build out our wearable computing suite extending it to all areas of industrial computing, allowing for seamless integration of wearables in all business processes.
Ubimax will become the “SAP” for the deskless worker.
What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s VR & AR World?
I am looking forward to meeting with people that share my mindset of wanting to shape and improve our world. I want to discuss and work side by side with them in making our visions reality.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to meet up at VR & AR World. I am looking forward to engaging with you in interesting discussions.
If you’d like to find out more about Ubimax and how they can help your business, please get in touch here.
VR & AR World 2016
If you’re interested in finding out more about this year’s VR and AR World conference, visit the official event website, where you’ll find info on speakers, agendas, tickets and more.