While the tech industries giants and eager startups chase the dream of widespread consumer augmented reality, enterprise AR is living the dream today.
Now, riding on the strength of present-day return on investment over future potential, enterprise AR platform maker Scope AR has closed $9.7 million Series A funding round.
The funding will enable the company to extend the reach of its enterprise AR products, such as hands-free workflow guidance platform WorkLink and AR telepresence solution Remote AR, for mobile devices and AR headsets like HoloLens.
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"AR is becoming an important tool for how knowledge is shared within heavy industry, allowing workers to get the information they need, when they need it, in an intuitive way," said Scott Montgomerie, CEO and co-founder of Scope AR, in a statement. "We are thrilled to have the support of our new and existing investors to accelerate our growth and development during a crucial inflection point in the market. It underscores, yet again, that enterprise AR is a leading driver within mixed reality thanks to the impressive ROI and growing list of use cases the technology enables."
According to the company, some of the brands realizing efficiency gains and cost savings from Scope AR's WorkLink and Remote AR products are Lockheed Martin and Unilever. With Remote AR, Unilever claims a 50% reduction in downtime, and Lockheed Martin reports that it has reduced overall training time by 85%, according to Scope AR.
The company has now raised a total of $15.8 million in capital. Romulus Capital led the latest round, with existing investors SignalFire, Susa Ventures, Haystack, New Stack Ventures, North American Corporation, and Angel List also participating. In addition, Krishna Gupta, founder and managing partner of Romulus Capital, and Wayne Hu, managing director of SignalFire, will take seats on the board of directors overseeing Scope AR.
"Enterprises are now realizing that leveraging AR and other agile, remote software solutions can be the answer to many operational challenges they have always faced -- from closing the growing skills gap to reducing downtime," said Gupta.
"Scope AR's product leadership and vision has put them at the forefront of the industry, addressing these challenges with tools that provide workers with instant access to critical information that helps resolve operational issues in an agile and accurate manner. We're excited about their product roadmap and growth opportunities as we work more closely with some of the largest enterprises in the world."
Sure, the potential for entertainment and gaming through consumer-grade smartglasses planned by Apple, Google, Snapchat, Facebook, and Magic Leap is sexier than enterprise-focused AR. But, just as the PC and the smartphone started out as business tools, it appears AR will have to earn its stripes in the office and on the factory floor before it strikes it rich in the home.