New technology can bring immense benefits to companies of all sizes, in all industries, in all facets of their operations.
Today, however, the pace of new technology introduction is accelerating. With the emergence of technologies such as Augmented Reality, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, companies face some high-stakes decisions in their R&D departments. Which new tools should they adopt? How would those integrate with or enhance legacy systems? How can Return on Investment be forecast and maximized?
VistaVu Solutions R&D department is working to bring powerful, relevant new technologies to its customers to solve their critical business issues. Chris Brooks, VistaVu’s Programming Manager, heads up the Research and Development team that’s active in several areas.
“When you look at R&D, there are two ways you can approach it,” says Brooks. “The first way is, I have a business problem, how can technology help make it less painful? The second is, here’s an interesting technology, how can it solve business problems or add value?”
In the year since its inception, VistaVu’s R&D team has been working from both ends of this spectrum, and trying to spark innovation for customers somewhere in the practical middle. As Brooks explains, the team has worked with new products from world-class technology partners in three broad areas.
Many North American industrial field service companies rely on VistaVu’s FieldVu, a field service management solution. Brooks and his team integrate FieldVu with Microsoft’s HoloLens – the first holographic computer inside a headset. The concept, which VistaVu calls Assist, would enable rapid and detailed communication to and from the field.
“This is about helping the workforce be more effective,” says Brooks. “A service technician is out in the field working with both hands, but this is like having a computer on their head. They can read the equipment manual or watch a training video for the equipment they’re servicing or take video or pictures to send back to the office – all hands-free. From that simple idea we expanded into other Business to Business and Business to Consumer mobile app solutions that bring our customers closer to their customers.”
“In other areas we’re getting data from sensors at intervals as tight as five seconds,” says Brooks. “We’ll have tons of data in just a matter of months and we’ll start thinking about how we can put AI into our products. The customers own the data and we want to facilitate AI in a way that benefits the customer.”
Trimble is supporting these initiatives with their
Connect for HoloLens helmet- shown above.
Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence
Brooks sees vast potential in the category of Internet of Things and, in 2019, plans to commercialize a piece of smart field equipment developed in collaboration with a customer. FieldVu Cloud, released in the summer of 2018, is currently laying the data groundwork for future VistaVu AI solutions. Straddling the worlds of IoT and AI, Brooks is also evaluating AWS Deep Lens – a wireless-enabled video camera capable of machine learning — as a tool to streamline manufacturing processes for VistaVu customers in that sector and integrate with SAP ERP solutions.
VistaVu has worked closely with the Alberta Innovates program for R&D activities and it has enabled them to freely accelerate their projects.
“When it comes to new technology, we are focused on the problems it will solve for our customers,” says Brooks. “On the one hand, we understand our customers’ businesses and our own solutions intimately. On the other hand, we are immersed in the very newest technologies from the top technology companies. We’re here to bring those worlds together and deliver innovation of true value to our customers.”
Stay tuned for more exciting innovations from VistaVu Solutions and the R&D team.