The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses into remote work models, whether they were ready or not, making Zoom a household (or home office) name for its video conferencing service.
Now, in response to this general shift, smartglasses maker Epson and remote assistance platform provider Spinar America are joining forces with their respective products, Moverio smartglasses and Remote Vision software, to add augmented reality to the video conferencing toolkit for companies with teams of technicians who need assistance from remote experts for troubleshooting.
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The companies unveiled their partnership in conjunction with the Field Service Connect USA 2021 virtual conference, an invitation-only event for senior executives from the field service industry, where the hardware and software bundle will be demonstrated.
"Right now, businesses are in need of new communication practices and innovative productivity tools to collaborate effectively when employees can't be in the same location," said Kevin Weafer, CEO of Spinar America, Inc., in a statement. "The Remote Vision and Epson Moverio solution goes a step beyond usual teleconferencing to provide a unique avenue for rich work and collaboration experiences including remote assistance and on-site inspections that can improve overall business operations."
Running on Zoom's video platform, Spinar's Remote Vision enables remote experts to share guided instructions to technicians in the field in real-time. When launched on Moverio smartglasses, technicians are able to communicate with their remote colleagues and view information on Si-OLED displays while keeping their hands free to work on the task at...hand.
"Businesses are evolving at a faster rate to stay ahead and accommodate the needs of today's workforce, incorporating new remote assistance tools into day-to-day processes to improve communication over the long haul," said Remi Del Mar, senior product manager of digital experiences, augmented reality and commercial display solutions at Epson America, Inc. "We are excited to work with Spinar America to help bridge the gap between countries, cultures, and borders through hands-free communication. By harnessing the power of AR for real-time collaboration, companies are able to excel in the 'new normal.'"
Increasingly, enterprise businesses have many options for remote assistance and AR collaboration. Epson's smartglasses are compatible with several of them, including ScopeAR, Ubimax, Upskill, and Librestream, as well as its own Moverio Assist.
However, Epson and Spinar's combined solution leverages the popularity that Zoom has gained throughout the pandemic and expands it to smartglasses. Still, they are not alone even when it comes to Zoom AR. One of Epson's smartglasses competitors, Vuzix, has similar capabilities available for its smartglasses, while Arvizio has updated its Immerse 3D app to enable AR collaboration over Zoom for smartphones, HoloLens, and Magic Leap 1.
Even though vaccines are being distributed, the window for remote work isn't necessarily closing. Many companies are now extending remote work indefinitely, while some forward-thinking enterprise businesses have leveraged the work model even prior to the pandemic as a means to reduce travel associated with facilitating in-person meetings for distributed workforces.
Video conferencing has become indispensable in this regard, but AR hardware and software providers have an opportunity to increase adoption within best practices for remote work. If they can ride the coattails of Zoom to do it, then that's just savvy business.