How Upskill is helping industry use augmented reality - Technical.ly DC

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Oct. 11, 2017 12:28 pm

How Upskill is helping industry use augmented reality

The company's software is used on planes and Coke machines. A new update adds more capabilities.

Upskill's Skylight AR user interface in action.

(Courtesy photo)

This article was updated at 3:40 p.m. on 10/12/17.

Remember Google Glass? It’s back!

While the smart glasses never found footing in the consumer space, it appears heavy industry and enterprise customers have found uses for the technology.

Think of businesses using smart glasses so they can scan SKU IDs with a glance when taking inventory, instead of keying in that information. Or, allowing field mechanics to view real-time assignments and step-by-step guided instructions when assembling an aircraft engine.

Those are a couple of the applications that Tysons Corner–based augmented reality company Upskill makes possible.

More could be on the way. This week, Upskill is announcing its next-generation Skylight software platform to work with a variety of systems platforms. This include Glass Enterprise Edition.  The new release of Skylight includes capabilities such as a suite of new live HD video collaboration tools and a new Software Development Kit. An application builder allows non-technical workers to rapidly create a library of applications based on previous processes.

The Skylight development platform also supports a line of other AR vision devices, and the new release will help Upskill support a slew of Fortune-500 hundred companies and government contractors.

“We are embracing the use of AR and emerging technologies across GE to simplify work and increase safety with hands-free access to just-in-time support,” said Sam Murley, Environmental Health and Safety, Digital Acceleration Leader at General Electric—who is both an Upskill customer and investor through GE Ventures. “The new release of Skylight will allow our teams to further capitalize on the new opportunities the technology presents and enable rapid integration of more use cases across the GE network.”

Skylight AR works with several different types of smart glasses. (Photo by George Mocharko)

Skylight AR works with several different types of smart glasses. (Photo by George Mocharko)

The wearables market is supposed to grow into a $6 billion industry with the smart glass technology looking to help save $1 billion in annual costs savings for field work, according to a whitepaper that Upskill released called “The State of Enterprise Wearables.”

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Some more use cases: Skylight AR can be used with smart glasses to help workers wire aircraft for Boeing, service machinery for Coca-Cola or fulfill complex warehouse orders for GE. All are Upskill customers.

With talk that automation would push companies out of jobs, companies like Upskill are building products to help advance human potential.

“We are invested in helping people become competitive in the modern workforce,” said Brian Ballard, CEO of Upskill. “There are jobs that people don’t want to do, shouldn’t do or are dangerous to do. Yet there’s a lot of areas in modern process management where a combination of man and machine working together on different pieces of the job makes a ton of sense.”

The release is the latest point of growth this year for the company. Formerly known as APX Labs, Upskill recently acquired Pristine, a video streaming software business based in Austin, Texas. Pristine, known for its leading product EyeSight, offers “see what I see” technology to help businesses with remote collaboration when doing maintenance, inspection or repair.

Upskill raised a Series B round of fundraising from a group of investors including Boeing HorizonX and GE Ventures back in April. Upskill’s client base includes Jabil, Bayer and The Hershey Company.

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