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Exclusive: All weather 5G compatible AR wearable tech for connected workers

Manufacturers are increasingly turning to wearable technology to give workers across various industry access to the data they need — whenever and wherever the job takes them

The HMT-1 wearable computer provides the foundation for Connected Worker programs across all industries The HMT-1 wearable computer is faster, safer and smarter than either a tablet or smart glasses You share real-time situations virtually at the speed of light while adding figures and pointers on the displayed view

Adoption of wearable tech in the Middle East is increasing at a phenomenal rate.  MarketWatch projects that the industrial wearable segment globally will grow from $1.5bn in 2017 to $2.6bn in 2023, a 73% jump.

RealWear came to GITEX Technology Week to present its latest development in wearable technology, the HMT-1 wearable computer . 

the HMT-1 wearable computer  provides the foundation for Connected Worker programs across industries that include oil & gas, aviation, transportation & logistics, utilities, infrastructure, security, healthcare and automotive.

Voice controlled, equipped with Android 8 level of security and “unbreakable” device can operate in wet, dusty, hot, dangerous and loud industrial areas for up to 12 hours on a single battery charge and help companies reduce operational downtime by up to 75%.

Read: 10 key technologies disrupting the GCC market

Ameinfo conducted the following Q&A with Andy Lowery, co-founder and CEO of RealWear.

1- What is the the HMT-1 wearable computer? 

The the HMT-1 wearable computer has a completely hands-free voice-controlled user interface allowing workers to operate the tools and equipment needed for the job, even while climbing a scaffold or tower. Allowing the worker to maintain full situational awareness and maximum productivity, the HMT-1 wearable computer is faster, safer and smarter than either a tablet or smart glasses.

2- What is the ROI and benefits of investing in the HMT-1 wearable computer?

The processes that we are trying to improve using the HMT-1 wearable computer  are ones that have very high value to downtime. For example, when you have an oil platform at the sea drilling down, the oil flows back to the shore and gets refined. Well, the way oil refineries count revenue is through a “Golden flow meter”, a meter that measures flow in a pipe as oil gets pumped. When the flow stops, the revenue stops. One of these oil platforms can pump about  $500,000 per day. Therefore, when a pump breaks down, it takes eight to ten days to fix. You need to diagnose it, troubleshoot it, fail to fix it the first time and then maybe have someone who knows how to fix it fly in. Travel costs alone can be somewhere between 10 to 20 thousand dollars. However, the real issue is having no oil pumping for eight or nine days because there are millions of dollars lost revenue because of an unexpected breakage. 

Read: Will wearables become the norm in the workplace?

Now let’s discuss the same scenario using the HMT-1 wearable computer. The same pump breaks and the oil does not flow anymore. The technicians on the team are smart and qualified but they don’t have the skills to work on this type of pump. They have not been trained on how to fix it. Instead of having the vendor that does know how to fix the pump fly on an airplane, which could take days, they could simply call in using a tablet or laptop while the team at the oil rig is wearing the HMT-1 wearable computer. The camera view of the individual wearing the HMT-1 wearable computer  will be transmitted to the vendor’s laptop. Accordingly, the vendor can show the technician at the oil rig how to fix the pump. You share this real-time situation virtually at the speed of light while adding figures and pointers on the displayed view. This means that the technician at the oil rig is also being trained in real-time. Therefore, you reduce the time taken to fix the pump from nine days to one day and accordingly save millions of dollars. 

Read: VR and AR: Use Cases and Potential in the Gulf region

3- How does the HMT-1 wearable computer address the skills gap issue?

In a lot of countries, the population is inverted. This means that majority of the population comes from the older generations. At the time between 1946 and 1961, the average birth rate per thousand people per year in the United States alone was 25 kids. Today, this average has gone down to about 11 which is less than half. In addition to that, the older generations are leaving the workplace with all this knowledge in their head. As the younger generation is coming in, there isn’t many of them to do a one-for-one job. Therefore, if you don’t start improving efficiency, you are not going to have a skills problem but rather a ‘person’ problem. Who should you even give the skills to if you can’t find someone you can pass on the knowledge to?

Every country that has this inverted pyramid model of more elderly than junior, experiences a lack of skilled workers in the generation that replaces the elderly. This means that we need to get better and quicker at training because there is not enough of us. The millennial generation is tech-savvy and now dominating the workforce.  Teaching them a new set of skills using book and paper will not work efficiently. Millennials want to learn through visual platforms such as YouTube. Therefore, the generation is expecting to have digital means of learning at the workplace because this is how they acquire knowledge.  Millennials engage in micro learning all the time by studying the subject online right before they go into a conversation. That way, they have the basic knowledge needed to be a part of the discussion. For the older generations to find out information, they had to go to an old school library and read the encyclopedia. With the HMT-1 wearable computer, the older generation can train the millennials by sending them a video of how something is done. In fact, one person can train many employees at a given time.