For equipment manufacturers, the traditional approach to installing, maintaining, and servicing their equipment has become increasingly challenging due to the current travel limitations and changing nature of work caused by COVID-19. Industrial OEMs are turning to AI-powered Connected Worker technology to transform how they service and support their customers and ensure field service continuity during this unprecedented time.

Connected Worker technology combines augmented reality (AR) with artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), allowing equipment manufacturers to improve the safety, quality, and productivity of their workforce both during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. 

Our vision at Augmentir is to transform connected worker technology with artificial intelligence and our software is the first of its kind to do so. Whether you have your own service force or work through a dealer network, equipment manufacturers can use Augmentir’s Connected Worker software platform to:

  • Enable your customers and 3rd party service companies to install, maintain, and repair equipment using easy to understand Augmented Guided Instructions
  • Provide remote and virtual support through integrated Remote Assist collaboration tools
  • Use AI-driven “True Opportunities” to shed light on inefficiencies and service, repair, maintenance process improvement opportunities within your direct service force, dealer networks, and customers

Connected worker software helps manufacturing and service teams improve safety, quality, and productivity across a range of use cases.


  • Guided Instructions for Assembly, QA, MRO (maintenance, repair and operation): Personalized work instructions deliver the right level of guidance, based on worker proficiency, along with 80% reduction in training and authoring times.
  • Remote Assist for Engineering Support: Integrated remote assistance tools provide industrial- level collaboration and support remote problem solving, QA checks, remote factory acceptance tests, while greatly enhancing efficiency.
  • AI-driven Continuous Improvement: Granular data collection on every job drives insights into Scrap, First Pass Yield, Production Bottlenecks and AI- based True Opportunities.


  • Guided Instructions for Repair, Warranty & Recall: Improves quality and efficiency by moving from paper- based to digital work instructions while providing enhanced insights into compliance and operations.
  • Remote Assist Supports a Multi-tier Service Network: Integrated remote assistance provides a level of remote and virtual support to customers and dealers that they have never had before.
  • AI-driven Continuous Improvement: Day after day, year after year, AI-driven True Opportunities find ways to improve your processes, procedures, and worker skills.

It’s critical that we recognize this time as a major turning point in the way frontline workers interact and perform daily operations. Manufacturers will continue to face challenges in a post-COVID world and connected worker technology will allow them to keep their workers safe and businesses operating.

Augmentir Offers Free Use of its Remote Assistance Tool for Frontline Workers to Help Companies Address the travel and social distancing issues related to COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread across North America, the CDC has suggested that businesses implement remote work policies and travel restrictions to help slow the spread of the virus. The situation has become more troublesome over the past few weeks, and many companies are looking for ways to help limit business disruptions while keeping the health of employees a top priority.

At Augmentir, the health and safety of our employees, as well as the employees of our customers and partners is our top priority. Therefore, in a response to COVID-19, Augmentir will be offering free use it’s Remote Assist Tool for the remainder of 2020 in an effort to help the many businesses affected by the sudden increase in work-from-home policies and travel restrictions resulting from the global outbreak of the virus.

During this challenging time, video-conferencing, chat, and remote support and collaboration will be more important than ever in maintaining the wellbeing of employees while also enabling people to continue to work and businesses to operate. Augmentir’s Remote Assist tool helps to minimize the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on businesses by providing a remote collaboration and support solution that can be adopted in less than 60 minutes, so that workers, technicians, and customers can get the support they need to do their jobs without compromising health, safety, or productivity.

Augmentir’s Remote Assist Tool – remotely connect your workforce and support customers without travel

Augmentir’s Remote Assist Tool, a component of the company’s Connected Worker platform, is an augmented reality (AR) solution designed to guide frontline workers with augmented, step-by-step-instructions, whenever and wherever they need support.

The solution is available on both mobile devices and AR-enabled smart glasses, and allows users to remotely collaborate through a live video stream and directly communicate through audio. Both the user and the remote expert will be able to add annotations to the video stream so they can quickly diagnose the issue and determine a solution to move forward.

  • Connect your workforce with your internal subject matter experts: For equipment makers that have support teams in the field, Augmentir’s Remote Assist Tool allows them to remotely connect and collaborate with your subject matter experts to help troubleshoot and diagnose field service problems. For manufacturers, help keep your employees safe and avoid travel by allowing technicians on the shop floor to remotely connect with subject matter experts.
  • Connect your customers to your tech support teams: Keep your internal tech support teams safe by remotely connecting with customers to help quickly diagnose and troubleshoot issues.

Deliver a remote support solution in days

As company work procedures and daily routines are changing quickly due to COVID-19, we are happy to provide a solution that can be implemented quickly and easily. Companies that sign up will have free use of the tool for the remainder of 2020, and have access to the following features: 

  • Stream live video and audio to remote experts to improve issue resolution and remote knowledge sharing
  • Guide your field technicians and customers with live annotations for enhanced collaboration
  • Support remote users on their existing devices as well as AR-enabled smart glasses

Global efforts continue to focus on lessening the spread and impact of the COVID-19 virus. The federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat. As companies must rethink their processes and approach during this time, we hope that offering our Remote Assist Tool for free will give businesses and workers the technology and support they need.

The current COVID-19 crisis has impacted almost every industry worldwide, forcing businesses to implement work from home strategies, discontinue travel, and scale back on operations. Industrial and manufacturing businesses have been particularly affected by this due to reduced frontline worker availability, supply chain issues and the need to create social distancing workplaces for the health and safety of workers while also keeping them connected.

But in an industry that relies on the bulk of its operations to be carried out on-site, how can manufacturing businesses remain at capacity and keep frontline workers engaged during a time of remote working and travel restrictions?

Many leading manufacturing businesses are looking to Connected Worker technology to help manage these issues and keep up with operations. Through the use of augmented reality (AR) combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), a connected worker platform allows manufacturers to take advantage of digital information to carry out tasks on site and complete jobs. Here are 3 major ways connected worker technology is helping keep manufacturing businesses stay afloat during COVID-19:


  1. Flexible work arrangements that support social distancing
    As a result of COVID-19, manufacturers have initiated policies that encourage remote working, eliminate non-essential travel and instruct employees who are sick to stay home until they are better. This directly impacts the progression of operations that typically take place when multiple workers collaborate onsite. With on-demand remote expert functionality, onsite workers can quickly pull in an offsite colleague when their expertise is required. Procedures, videos, realtime data and more are readily available to intelligently guide and help workers on the job.

  2. Reduced complexity and downtime
    Manufacturers can expect a learning curve as they assess strategies and implement new ways to work more at home and less on the shop floors. Using a connected worker platform allows companies to pivot quickly in order to retain the workforce and reduce downtime during learning periods. Frontline workers are able to receive fully augmented, guided instructions on any device to improve productivity, quality and customer satisfaction.

  3. Gather insightful data to track progress during the crisis with AI
    It’s critical for manufacturers to monitor processes and track progress during this time so that they can make quick adjustments to ensure overall optimization. Incorporating AI into an AR strategy goes one step further by enabling true organizational optimization using the rich stream of activity data to recommend improvement actions to frontline workers, continuous improvement specialists, trainers, manufacturing engineers, and operation and service managers.

As this pandemic crisis continues to spread worldwide, manufacturers will likely continue to face challenges and look to connected worker technology to keep their workers safe and their businesses operating. It’s also important to recognize this as a major turning point in the way frontline workers interact and perform daily operations in the future. 

The growing skills gap in the manufacturing industry, combined with a tight labor market, is creating increased challenges for manufacturing companies of all sizes. In fact, in 2019 more than 25% manufacturers had to turn down new business opportunities due to a lack of workers, according to a report from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

What’s behind this growing skills gap problem?

One key factor is the extraordinary number of retiring workers who are walking out the door with vast amounts of experience and skills. Unfortunately, for most manufacturers the knowledge possessed by this senior workforce has yet to be captured in any digital or electronic format. At the same time, a younger, more tech-savvy generation of unskilled workers is coming into the market. They may have the attitude and aptitude, but lack the skills required to effectively participate in day-to-day operations.

This lack of a skilled frontline workforce is creating an increased focus for manufacturing companies on training and up-skilling their workers. A recent article highlighted some staggering statistics on what lies ahead. According to the Manufacturing Institute: “Manufacturers are set to spend $26.2 billion on internal and external training initiatives for new and existing employees in 2020 to combat the shortage of available workers. Nearly 70% of manufacturers said they are creating or expanding training programs for their workforce. Three-quarters of respondents said upskilling workers helped to improve productivity, promotion opportunities and morale.”

Using Artificial Intelligence to Close the Skills Gap

Fortunately, manufacturers are turning to emerging digital technologies to equip and train their workforces with the tools and knowledge needed to be productive. Technologies such as mobile and wearable devices, augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are helping to connect a new generation of workers, and are allowing organizations to proactively deliver the right level of support and guidance.

One of the most notable examples of technology adoption is using artificial intelligence to augment human activity in manufacturing.

Artificial Intelligence has been branded as a threat to replace the human workforce, but some leading manufacturing companies are turning to AI as a way to help onboard and train new workers.

Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being used to augment, not replace, the human workforce. AI is uniquely able to address the fundamental macrotrends of growing skills gaps and the loss of tribal knowledge.

Supported by an increased level of connected-ness of today’s frontline workers, AI systems are capable of taking in large amounts of data and finding correlations and patterns that can be used to help improve productivity, enhance skills, and provide more cost-effective, targeted training. With an ecosystem of content authors, frontline workers, subject matter experts, operations managers, continuous improvement engineers, and quality specialists, there are dozens of opportunities to address the skills gap, improve quality, and improve performance.

Using AI to Reduce Training Time

In one example, Bio-Chem Fluidics, a manufacturer of high performance pumps and valves for clinical diagnostics and analytical chemistry applications, is using AI combined with digital work instructions to improve the onboarding and training process for their new technicians and operators. One of the most significant impacts were achieved with training and onboarding new operators.

According to Bio-Chem, the company’s training time for temp workers has been reduced by over 80%.

“Augmentir has made our complex procedures very repeatable for operators of all skill levels. As a result, our training time for new operators has been reduced by over 80%. The flexibility and ease-of-use of the Augmentir platform have made it painless to implement across our company.”

Linsey Holden-Downes, Vice President of Operations at Bio-Chem

The company uses Augmentir’s AI-powered connected worker platform to digitize and standardize their work instruction library, and leverages Augmentir’s AI to deliver insights that are helping them optimize their training efforts.

After adopting Augmentir, it now takes their team lead roughly two weeks to fully train a new hire whereas prior to Augmentir, it would have taken three months of supervision. Additionally, the time spent monitoring new hires is dramatically reduced from an estimated 50% of a team lead’s time to just 10%.

Using AI to Augment Digital Work Instructions

Like Bio-Chem, many manufacturing companies rely on knowledge that is either recorded on paper or trapped in the heads of their senior workforce. With the increase in skilled technicians that are retiring, this is creating an urgency for companies to act.

STRONGARM, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer, recently dealt with these issues. STRONGARM designs and builds ergonomic and environmentally protected workstations for companies in a wide range of markets, including food, pharmaceutical, CPG, packaging, and transportation. In recent years, the company faced growing challenges within its operation – an aging and retiring workforce, talent shortage, and increased competition – which increased pressures to produce high quality products at lower costs.

STRONGARM’s initial focus was on the assembly and final quality control processes for the company’s most complex workstation and industrial display unit. Augmentir’s rapid authoring environment allowed STRONGARM to quickly migrate their existing paper-based instructions to digital, augmented instructions that incorporated rich media, checklists, verifications, and several other features that were central to their assembly and QC processes.

According to Steve Thorne, General Manager at STRONGARM, “Augmentir’s AI-based ‘True Opportunity’ system enables us to gain insight into how our technicians are performing, and autonomously identifies our largest capturable opportunities across our entire operation.”

“When one of our senior and most experienced technicians retired recently, we were able to onboard a new technician and trust Augmentir’s AI engine to guide him during the learning curve to get product out the door at 100% quality so that we didn’t miss shipments. Once Augmentir’s AI engine determined that the worker had become proficient, it recommended that the instructions should be adjusted to enable him to complete the job faster while still meeting quality and safety goals.  This has resulted in a 20% reduction in average build time in our most complex workstations.”

Steve Thorne, General Manager, STRONGARM

The level of personalization that an AI-based system can deliver to work procedures and instructions allows companies to not only address initial skill gaps but also deliver continual improvements over time.

Intelligently supporting workers in real-time with remote experts and AI-bots

The benefits that AI can bring to industrial companies are not limited simply to standard operating procedures, work instructions, or training. Companies are also turning to AI as a way to intelligently guide and support frontline workers with real-time decision support. Connected workers are increasingly relying on “Remote Expert” capabilities to leverage the expertise of senior colleagues for on-the-job troubleshooting and problem solving. As we look ahead, AI-bots will be able to capture tribal knowledge of these subject matter experts during remote expert sessions, and intelligently guide workers that are experiencing the same situations.

Addressing the Skills Gap with Augmentir

At Augmentir, our AI identifies patterns and generates insights based on analyzing data from connected workers. These insights improve worker performance as well as provide positive impact on training, operational workflows, and quality.

Digital Work Instructions help guide connected workers with visual aids and augmented with AI-driven insights and contextual information enable workers to perform at their best.

Integrated Remote Expert assistance helps workers resolve issues faster using insights from Augmentir’s AI and information from the guided procedure.

Augmentir’s AI uses granular data  to identify the largest opportunities in improving the skills of the frontline workforce, and helps to drive continuous improvement throughout the organization.

Gartner recently published their annual Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Operations Strategy and Innovation in Manufacturing Industries. These two Hype Cycles focus on the leading-edge technologies and methodologies that will significantly change how manufacturers innovate, deliver and support products and services.

Augmentir was recognized as an important player in both Hype Cycle reports.

Emerging Technologies in Manufacturing

According to the report, “manufacturers that adopt the breakthrough opportunities presented as innovation profiles on this Hype Cycle will accelerate digitalization that increases the agility and ability to innovate products and business operations”.

These Hype Cycles, which reflect the convergence of the physical and virtual worlds, present several key mature and emerging technologies, including the following:

  • Connected Worker: Connected workers use digital technologies to improve and integrate their interactions with both physical and virtual surroundings. Through the use of digital work instructions, as well as augmented/mixed reality delivered through mobile/wearable devices, they are able to make faster and better decisions that optimize and improve a process or workflow that they participate in.
  • Immersive Experiences – Manufacturing Operations: According to Gartner, immersive experiences refer to enabling the perception of being physically present in a nonphysical world or enriching people’s presence in the physical world with content from the virtual world. The report covers three kinds of immersive experiences: Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Virtual Reality (VR).
  • Machine Learning: Machine learning is a technical discipline that identifies patterns and generates predictions based on analyzing large sets of data. According to Gartner’s research: “In manufacturing operations, machine learning (ML) can take advantage of available data and rely on the algorithms to identify patterns and correlations. It can also use them to predict outcomes, to find the best course(s) of action and to control processes. Typical use cases include eliminating unplanned downtime and stoppages, increasing yield optimization, reducing energy usage, improving product quality or stabilizing production processes.”

Augmentir is mentioned in the context of Connected Workers and Immersive Experiences in Manufacturing Operations as software and solution provider.

Augmentir’s Approach to Connected Workers and Immersive Experiences in Manufacturing

Augmentir sits and the intersection of these innovation profiles, using artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to amplify the value that digital technologies bring to the connected worker.

Digital Work Instructions help guide connected workers with visual aids and augmented with AI-driven insights and contextual information enable workers to perform at their best.

Integrated Remote Expert assistance helps workers resolve issues faster using insights from Augmentir’s AI and information from the guided procedure.

Augmentir’s AI uses granular data  to identify the largest opportunities in improving the skills of the frontline workforce, and helps to drive continuous improvement throughout the organization.

At Augmentir, our AI identifies patterns and generates insights based on analyzing data from connected workers. These insights improve worker performance as well as provide positive impact on training, operational workflows, and quality. According to Gartner, “The possibility of predicting performance is extremely attractive for manufacturers. This is driving the strong interest in ML. ML is an essential enabler of artificial intelligence (AI), smart factories and intelligent automation”.

Our view at Augmentir is that the purpose of a connected worker platform isn’t simply to deliver instructions and remote support to a frontline worker, but rather to optimize the performance of the connected worker ecosystem. Artificial intelligence is uniquely able to address the fundamental macrotrends of growing skills gaps and the loss of tribal knowledge. With an ecosystem of content authors, frontline workers, subject matter experts, operations managers, continuous improvement engineers, and quality specialists, there are were dozens of opportunities to improve performance.

Artificial Intelligene

This post by Augmentir CEO Russ Fadel was originally published on Medium.

I have been a fan of Marc Andreessen since the Netscape days — he has consistently predicted the macro changes in numerous marketscapes before virtually anyone else. Recently, I was watching Marc on Youtube “Why You Should Be Optimistic About the Future” and found his discussion on AI particularly enlightening, and in complete alignment with Augmentir’s journey. The entire video is worth watching, but the discussion on AI runs from between the 7:00 to 9:00 minute mark.

Some of the most insightful (paraphrased) quotes include:

  • “There is a more fundamental question — is AI a feature or an architecture?”
  • “A16z sees this with most start-up pitches now — ‘here are the 5 things my product does…and oh yeah, AI is always bullet number 6.’ Number 6 because it was the bullet they added after they created the deck”
  • “If AI is a feature, then this is correct, where every product will have AI sprinkled on it.”
  • “We (a16z) believe AI is an Architecture, and if it is, everything above this will need to be rewritten.”
  • “Ultimately, the goal of AI is to answer questions, even before the have been posed.”

At Augmentir we had to make a strategic decision at the time of company founding (late 2017), as to whether AI was going to be a feature of our connected worker platform or, whether it was going to be the architecture that our connected worker functionality ran on. We didn’t frame the decision as elegantly as Marc did, but we nevertheless asked, “will AI be a feature of our product or will it be pervasive?”

Even though no one in our space had chosen this path, we decided AI would be pervasive. We postulated that the purpose of a connected worker platform wasn’t to deliver instructions and remote support to a frontline worker, but rather to optimize the performance of the connected worker ecosystem. We knew that AI was uniquely able to address the fundamental macrotrends of growing skills gaps and the loss of tribal knowledge. With an ecosystem of content authors, frontline workers, subject matter experts, operations managers, continuous improvement engineers, and quality specialists, we predicted that there were dozens of opportunities to improve performance.

By building our connected worker platform on an AI architecture, all data is automatically pipelined, labelled, and cleansed, and is immediately available to start generating insights and recommendations. On this journey, the scope of what we can use AI for has even surprised us. Our initial thoughts were on personalizing instructions and content to make each frontline worker perform this current task safely and as quickly as they can, given their current proficiency. This immediately expanded to a generalized True Opportunity™ system that uses AI to stack rank where an organization has the largest capturable opportunities across all stakeholders. The range of this is astounding: which jobs have the largest monthly opportunity, which workers can benefit from targeted training, what is the optimum time to perform any given task, what inline training material can benefit from an update, what content/procedures would benefit the most from an update, etc.

The future looks even more fantastic — AI bots offer a realistic opportunity to capture tribal knowledge and convert it to a scalable corporate asset, and AI Diagnostic bots to make everyone an immediate expert.

This is only possible when you view AI as an architecture, not as a feature.

Enterprise AR

Judging by the plethora of images we see in the media of individuals wearing Augmented Reality (AR) sets in all aspects of their work-life, one could assume that Enterprise AR has been widely adopted amongst many companies. However, the reality of Enterprise AR is that most industrial companies have had difficulty creating sustainable value when attempting to implement the technology. One reason being is that most early AR vendors were overly focused on delivering information and digital work instructions to industrial workers via wearable devices, which has not produced the expected efficiency benefits.

Since many of the early adopters of AR solutions failed to justify cost and complexity compared to the minimal gains in efficiency, they got stuck in “pilot purgatory” where they weren’t able to successfully emerge from an initial proof-of-concept initiative.

First Wave of AR Solutions Failed to Find Widespread Adoption

But why is it, that a technology that promised to generate overall success and savings in resources, costs and time has failed to deliver? If we take a step back and examine the first wave of enterprise AR, we can pinpoint some of the reasons why Enterprise AR alone has been unable to provide the value that manufacturers are looking for causing a lack of widespread adoption:

  • Early AR solutions are characterized by high costs and long implementation cycles, which made them accessible only to the largest manufacturing enterprises that have high innovation budgets and significant resources.
  • Solutions were not tailored to small and mid-market manufacturing companies. 
  • Poorly implemented software solutions and early hardware that didn’t perform to the comfort, safety, and reliability expected by the users
  • Existing solutions only deliver information to frontline workers and with that have not been able to provide value beyond the initial one-time gain in productivity. 

Most importantly though, once the solutions were finally deployed, it became obvious that the software failed to provide value beyond the initial one-time gain in productivity, which was  frequently seen in use-cases where hands-free operation was the real source of the benefits derived.

Expanding the Value Proposition of Enterprise AR by Focusing on the Connected Worker

But just because the first wave of AR implementations have mostly failed, doesn’t mean that the technology doesn’t have the potential to generate great efficiency gains for industrial companies. We simply need to take a new approach. 

What’s been overlooked so far in all use cases and solutions examined in Harbor Research’s latest report, is the potential derived from collecting data about the work from this newfound connectivity to the worker. 

If you could envision workers as a new source of information to improve your processes, and if you used AI to analyze that data to create insights into every aspect of their productivity and training, you could benefit the entire organization.

How a vision like this can be put into practice is the focus of Harbor Research’s latest report “Transforming Industry with Augmented Operations.” Stay tuned for more insights into the report by following this blog series or download the full report here.

manufacturing challenges

In the last ten years alone, billions of dollars have been invested in cloud technology, networking infrastructure, computing hardware, and software platforms to solve manufacturing challenges and revolutionize the service enterprise. Until recently, few of these investments have been directed to support the activities of the hands-on or frontline workforce. Entrepreneurs with long experience in industrial software describe these frontline workers as the “forgotten component” of the enterprise, people hidden from view as if by a “cloak of invisibility.”

Recently, organizations have turned to emerging technologies like Enterprise Augmented Reality (AR) to solve manufacturing challenges such as the imminent skills gap or the need to continuously improve productivity and quality. This market was created when wearable computers/smart glasses and augmented reality emerged as technologies that offered the promise of delivering live information to front-line workers in an immersive manner to be consumed hands-free. But despite the ubiquitous marketing images of people in smart glasses and VR goggles, Enterprise AR has had trouble generating sustainable value for industrial organizations and has therefore not been able to gain traction beyond test-pilots.

Harbor Research recently set out to examine a new software platform that takes a refreshingly new approach to integrating AR and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a comprehensive offering that better enables manufacturing and services industry workers to perform their jobs.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be examining the findings in the Harbor Research report and take a deep dive into:

  • Why Enterprise AR alone fails to provide value in manufacturing
  • How we can make frontline workers part of the digital journey through AI and AR
  • How a new revolution in worker productivity called “Augmented Operations” provides a step-change beyond traditional Electronic Work Instructions and Enterprise AR
  • How manufacturers can leverage the concept of Augmented Operations to continuously improve their operations  

Can’t wait to see the results? You can jump right into the the full Harbor Research Report and discover a new software platform that leapfrogs the current Enterprise AR market’s noise, clutter, and failures by cleverly unifying core work-instruction and process-development tools with AI and machine learning in a single, scalable solution.