We caught up with event supporters and speakers at this year’s event Diota, to find out how they’re providing software solutions centred around Augmented Reality, and to ask how they see Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies developing in the future.
Could you start by telling our readers about Diota Augmenting Industries and the services you provide?
Diota provides software solutions centered around Augmented Reality to enable large scale industrial players to link human and digital to increase their industrial performance. On the one hand, these solutions bring digital data in operational spaces to assist human operations; on the other hand they take data collected in the field to information systems to allow optimizing industrial processes. It creates a real synergy between digital data and human know-how, and this synergy generates performance both in the back office and in operational areas.
From which industries are you currently finding the highest demand for AR products and support?
Augmented reality is relevant in any industrial environment where operators have to carry out complex tasks, at any stage of the product life cycle. However, depending on the industry, augmented reality will be used differently. For example in the heavy industry, particularly aerospace, but also rail and shipbuilding, where operators need assistance to assemble unique products whose configuration varies, AR is for now mainly applied in manufacturing processes.
In the automotive industry, AR proves to be particularly relevant to help to design and configure cars, or else to produce and control prototypes. Another example can be taken in the chemical industry where AR considerably improves the understanding and mastering of complex phenomena or enhances training to risk prevention. We mainly work with these above mentioned industry sectors where not only demand is mature,
but also ROI has been verified.
What is it that makes Diota a leader in the AR field?
Our various collaborations with industrial partners have enabled us to observe that the demands and use cases of industrial companies could interbreed even if they had needs that were their own. We also found that key factors for them to move on to an operational phase with Augmented Reality were the flexibility the solution, and its capability to integrate their existing software and hardware environments, which is synonymous of ROI. So we took an early decision to develop a true generic software solution that would enable them to create with full autonomy Augmented Reality projects in direct connection with standard software solutions like PLM they already use for their 3D models and instruction sheets. Based on breakthrough technological assets, among which a marker less, robust and accurate tracking technology exclusive to us, we have created a multi-use, multi-support and plug-and-play software solution.
In a few clicks, an AR project can be created directly in the PLM and exported via our plugin DiotaConnect. This project can then be immediately played in our software platform DiotaPlayer. Moreover, the same project can be used in the operational space through various devices (tablets, sunglasses, projective systems). Finally, during its use, the user can write comments, take pictures, carry out quality controls the statuses of which are automatically recorded…All the data collected can be transferred directly to the back office, via a pdf reporting or, for some data, a synchronous connection to the information system.
Thanks to this comprehensive offer, and our partnerships with major integrators, our clients are now deploying AR across workstations and industrial sites, with great easiness as no expertise in AR is needed, neither in the back office nor in the operational space. We are no longer talking about proof of concepts in AR, but well about deployments at broad industrial scale, which contributes to a certain leadership of Diota in the field of industrial Augmented Reality.
What are the biggest challenges you face working in the AR space?
One of the biggest challenges is likely to make AR acceptable by operators, who are the main users in the end. We must not forget that not only these new tools involve a change in their habits and work methods, but also that technology has often been opposed to human, and may be received with some reluctance. We do believe that digital technologies, as we see and provide them, are on the contrary to the service of human know-how which is irreplaceable. We now have to step up our education efforts as well as supporting change in collaboration with our industrial partners for this message to be the most audible possible.
Do you feel that VR technology has a future outside of entertainment? For example, could you see any potential for VR to be used to help improve processes and service offerings in B2B industries?
Definitely, VR has potential outside of entertainment, especially but not only for education and training, for industry, the medical field… In this respect we see a true convergence of VR and AR.
Do you have any plans to work with VR technology?
It makes no doubt to us that AR reaches its full potential when it is in synergy with other technologies, especially with VR. So, quite naturally we are working closely with providers of VR solutions to new offers. We will have the opportunity to give a preview of joint solutions at our event “Augmenting Industries Day” by Diota on December 02.
What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s VR & AR World event?
VR and AR are among the technologies that have the wind in their sails. It is of course good for us (laughs), but a drawback can be that this craze, fed by example with games that buzz like Pokemon go, hides aspects a little more down to earth, less sexy but especially important in this period of time where the industry of the future, the digital factory…are not just hot topics but critical issues that shape our future, the way we work as well as the way we live… We count on the VR & AR World event to highlight these aspects and bring together all the best expertise and insights.
You can find out more about Diota, including where you can find them at VR & AR World here.