Industry panel at AES Conference Discusses the Realities of Augmented Reality

Industry panel at AES Conference Discusses the Realities of Augmented Reality

Post date :

2023. 10. 30.

Practitioners of XR from Delta Airlines, Dow, Boeing, Turner Construction Company, and Sysco emphasize the importance of Return on Investment when investing in emerging technologies, while sharing cautionary tales of AR and VR projects stuck in “pilot purgatory”. Speakers point to RealWear’s assisted reality smart glasses as a shining example of technology done to solve real operational challenges without breaking the bank. 

Houston, TX (AES) – As the world remains in awe of the novelty of AR, VR, and now Mixed Reality, a new contender rises from the shadows: Assisted Reality, a non-immersive XR solution built for enterprise deployments at scale.   

“The allure of AR and VR certainly gets the clicks and shares,” said Dr. Chris Parkinson, RealWear’s CEO and cofounder.  “But the panel reveals the other reality, that assisted reality is the pragmatic choice bridging to the future because it’s a real-time dashboard, not the industrial metaverse.” 

Dr. Parkinson moderated a high energy panel last week to discuss the “State of XR” with several industry titans. Dr. Parkinson’s start-up RealWear makes a type of smart glasses that are ruggedized for industrial or healthcare use for workflows or video calls, with a small screen that displays like a ten-inch tablet. This hardware boasts a long battery life, and frees a frontline worker’s hands by enabling them to control the headset with their voice. 

The panel represented industries including aerospace/aviation (Boeing and Delta), construction (Turner Construction), food and logistics (Sysco) and chemical/energy (Dow).    

The speakers were united in their positive views of assisted reality, while sharing their challenges with AR, VR, and mixed reality. 

“We found that augmented reality, once we started to put that on warehouse selectors, it starts to mess with their vision,” said Jeff Landowski Technology Strategy Director, Sysco, which operates 334 distribution facilities worldwide and serves approximately 725,000 customer locations. (clip

Boeing spoke broadly about the issue that technology should not be purchased for technology’s sake.  “No one who bought a drill wanted to drill. They needed a hole,” said  Brian Laughlin, Technical Fellow/ Systems Engineer, Digital Transformation / New Airplane Program, Research and Technology, Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. (clip

Dr. Parkinson introduced RealWear’s newest product, RealWear Navigator Z1, which is intrinsically safe for potentially explosive environments, and designed for the world of AI for frontline workers. He went on to state that he believes the future of wearables is AI. “Realwear Navigator Z1 has our first set of AI capable hardware. It’s got its own neural net processors on board and can run AI algorithms directly on device,” he said. 

Dr. Parkinson also demonstrated the need to create products that were built for the correct environment, making his point by intentionally dropping the device onto the stage. 

“We’re not just about hardware, we’re a solutions company,” Dr. Parkinson concluded. “We work with all the other software partners, we then bundle solutions together, and we ship them out to the world. So that businesses can actually deploy, and you’re not stuck in pilot purgatory.” (clip

The organizers of AES concurred with the key takeaway from the panel:  

“We tried to pull together a panel that would represent a cross-section of what’s happening in the real world regarding augmented reality,” said Emily Friedman, one of the founders of BrainXchange who organized the AES conference. “The industry leaders made it clear that assisted reality was extremely important to focus on to generate immediate ROI and to gain real use cases and adoption.” 

The Augmented Enterprise Summit (AES) is the only event fully dedicated to the business and industrial applications of augmented, virtual and mixed reality as well as related emerging metaverse technologies. 

About RealWear  

RealWear, a global leader in hands-free, wearable computing solutions for frontline workers, was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, USA. With a vision of creating a world where every frontline worker is equipped to perform at their best, work safely, and take pride in the quality of their work, RealWear is on a mission to empower more than 2 billion frontline workers with the best technology solutions and support. 

RealWear’s rugged, voice-operated solutions have earned global recognition for revolutionizing the way frontline workers perform all tasks in challenging environments, while returning positive impact to the company and our environment. RealWear’s commitment to innovation and safety has earned it more than 22 prestigious innovation awards, including Best Head-worn device (Augmented World Expo) and Best Solution for Manufacturing and Automotive (XR Today). RealWear’s story has been featured in Wall Street Journal, CNBC, TechCrunch and hundreds of other media outlets.