While in these roles, Boyd came across many customers and partners who were very excited about AR technology; however, it was also clear that as the novelty factor passed, industrial leaders were interested in understanding how AR could be mission-critical for industrial and business process. Customers were envisioning a few risks including that initial, fully immersive AR experiences could limit industrial workers’ field of view. Also, AR was limited to a few devices rather than being compatible with devices that industrial workers already used either wearable or mobile. Finally, if AR software was developed to work with a single device, customers risked tremendous loss of resources, capital and productivity if either the software couldn’t be updated or the OEM discontinued that device.
Maybe the biggest risk to industrial knowledge is that 85 percent of the baby-boomers are projected to retire in the next seven years, causing a significant loss of “tacit knowledge” across industrial enterprises globally.
Based on customer input, Todd also thought that the industry could be served better with a different approach to AR. For one thing, AR should do simple things well making it both informative and easy for industrial workers to use— scaling its value. For example, AR could be used to tag relevant videos and photos of industrial assets rather than providing fully immersive experiences. As well, AR should be available on whatever device workers already used, making it cost-effective.
Tacit delivers software solutions that empower industrial workers with “tacit knowledge” using speech and other AI technologies. The solutions capture tribal as well as undocumented institutional knowledge of front-line industrial workers in critical manufacturing, inspection, maintenance, and compliance processes thereby facilitating the transfer and preservations of tacit knowledge in the organizations. “We are addressing it from the software perspective, first of all, we are hardware agnostic. For us, it all depends on the client needs, so if they already have 10,000 iPads deployed in the field, we will support it. Further, if they want to include head-mounted displays (wearables), we will support that too. Therefore, it is all driven by customers and their needs,” states Todd.
The company’s Tacit Application Suite of Software broadly includes Data Capture-in-Context (i.e., tagging data or videos to an asset); Data Visualization; Dynamic Workflow; and Content Search and Management. Specifically speaking, the suite has modules like the TacitHub, which provides a platform for third-party applications, making it a growing ecosystem of third-party solutions. Another important module is TacitExpert—a remote expert solution, which works in two folds, one, providing a live stream to the remote experts as well as storing the data in the back-end for future use, thereby retaining the tacit knowledge. Second, it allows the experts to see the previous work done allowing them to push the information and procedures in real-time to the front-line worker to quickly get to a common understanding of the problem. Additionally, other modules include (Tacit) Tasks, View and Search.
At the OSIsoft conference this past spring, Tacit demonstrated how its software could be used to bring OSIsoft PI Vision’s historic and real-time data to the Realwear’s hmt-1 headset. The company has also partnered with Samsung to bring Tacit software to Samsung’s ruggedized tablets and provide notifications on Samsung’s Gear S3 watch.