SAP and Vuzix are taking the Google glass concept to the industry in disciplines such as warehousing and maintenance. The two videos shown here are concepts and not currently available, but should set asset management developers’ sights higher when developing a mobile strategy.
The full review that follows below is not talking much about the videos, it is talking about the imminent future landscape and possibilities that Asset Managers need to be keeping in the back of their heads.
SAP and Vuzix
Maintenance Services Concept
With the exponential growth of data transfer speeds and processing power (and their corresponding reduction in costs and size), things previously unheard of becomes possible and even inevitable. Mobile devices in Asset Management have been an increasing hot topic of late, but when one surveys the smartphone/mobile device maturity, it seems that the industry has been catching on too slowly. Smartphones et al have been around for a couple of years and users are already at the verge of trading in those smartphones for wearable technology with small processors like smart watches and optical head mounted displays such as Google Glass.
Google Glass seemed ridiculously premature with its introduction two years ago, but Google has shown that its technology is perhaps more ready than we think for a current price of about R18,000 (US$1,500)… Athough its strategy to get designer eyewear designers to “mute” the nerdiness of the Glass might push that price up for a while.
Since then virtual reality head sets with precise orientation monitoring (such as the Oculus Rift) have caught headlines and prices are already targeted to be around the R3,500 mark (US$300).
Also devices such as the Microsoft Kinect have been reverse engineered to perform 3D-scanning in real time with incredible accuracy for the meagre price of about R1,200 (US$100) for the device.
And FLIR has shown us that thermal cameras the size of peas are available and much more affordable than 10 years ago, for instance there is now covers for iPhones that transform them into thermographic cameras for about R4,000 (US$350).
It will not take much imagination or development costs to combine the cameras, orientation sensors and head-mounted-displays into an affordable device that does automatic data capturing by scanning and interpreting the environment around the worker. The spatial analysis will be able to compare new scans of equipment to the 3D-drawings and identify deviations such as missing members, deflections, or unauthorised additions. The thermographic and photographic scans will be able to detect abnormal temperatures or colours (evidence of corrosion or contamination). Microphones could serve as vibration monitoring devices and active filters to protect the hearing of the worker.
And why should such technology only monitor around the Worker and not the vital statistics and condition of the Worker as well? Your Asset Management System can surely include people in its portfolio as well? Heart rate monitors, blood pressure monitors, core temperature measurement, fatigue level detection (blink rate or brain-wave pattern), estimated rate of perspiration (ambient humidity and temperature), etc. are easily implemented into wearable connected technology with microprocessors.
With technologies such as these workers will be able to focus on the safe execution of instructions, and not be distracted by data capturing activities. Data integrity will be improved immensely, the cost of data capturing will plummet, and your workers will be freed up to do what they do best (hint: it is not complete job tickets).
The implementation of extrasensory augmented reality is perhaps already within the range of a typical 5-year strategy. Have you started contemplating it?