These virtual events were a great way to connect with manufacturing professionals and discuss some of the industry’s top challenges and topics – workforce transformation, learning and development, lean manufacturing, and autonomous maintenance.

October was an exciting month in the virtual manufacturing world! Augmentir had the pleasure of participating in several virtual events including the American Manufacturing Summit, Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo, and the Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit (EWTS). Each of these virtual events were a wonderful way to connect with manufacturing professionals and discuss some of the industry’s top challenges and topics – workforce transformation, learning and development, lean manufacturing, and autonomous maintenance. 

EWTS

The Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit (EWTS) is the longest-running and most comprehensive event dedicated to the business and industrial applications of wearables, including AR/VR/MR glasses and headsets, body-worn sensors, and exoskeletons. This year’s event took place in four bite-sized conference days (every Wednesday from October 6-27, 2021), with community, networking and additional content drops throughout the rest of the month. This unique format allowed for great networking as well as some very valuable sessions. In one of the polls, 32% said that Remote onboarding and training was the top use case for immersive/wearable technology at their company.  

American Manufacturing Summit

The American Manufacturing Summit is a leadership focused meeting designed to bring global manufacturing, operations, engineering, quality and supply chain leaders together to discuss current trends, strategic insights, and best practices in an ever-evolving manufacturing environment. Dave Landreth, Augmentir’s Head of Customer Strategy, had the opportunity to lead a fire-side chat in discussing how Artificial Intelligence and Connected Worker technologies are key pillars of the Industrial Workforce Transformation. We also enjoyed the 1:1 meetings that took place as part of the American Manufacturing Summit. 

Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo

The Gartner supply chain conference offers attendees a one-stop-shop to access research-backed sessions, get expert advice and problem-solve with colleagues. The main focus of this event is to address the strategic needs of CSCOs and supply chain executives and showcase new technologies that adapt to the ever-changing environment in which they’re operating.

Sessions from the event dealt with purpose-driven supply chains and learnings from the pandemic for the healthcare supply chain, risk assessment and global trade, top trends for smart manufacturing, the future of quality management and supply chain planning, and resolving the dichotomy of logistics outsourcing. 

Key announcements from the event:

Continuous improvement, connected worker technology, AI, and data-driven technology were among the top trends from these events. Manufacturing organizations are looking for Connected worker software, like Augmentir, to integrate frontline workers and improve productivity, training, and quality. In addition, as we continue to work remotely and see more supply chain disruptions, AI-based, data-driven technology will be essential to building flexible factories that address these challenges and allow for continuous improvement.

The company will use funds to expand its leadership position in AI-based performance optimization and workforce development for the industrial frontline workforce.

HORSHAM, PA – November 10, 2021 – Augmentir, Inc., the world’s only artificial intelligence-based connected worker software provider, today announced that it has secured $7.5 million in Series A financing. This new funding will enable Augmentir to grow its team and to expand its leadership position in delivering performance support for industrial frontline workers. The Series A was led by Gardner Lewis Asset Management along with other key investors Lerer Hippeau, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and HOLT Ventures.

The funding comes as today’s 350 million strong industrial frontline workforce face readiness challenges magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses face a growing skilled labor shortage, retention, and worker engagement challenges, all while lacking the appropriate digital tools and data to effectively train and continually support their workers.

“The workforce crisis in manufacturing, and across the entire industrial sector, is at an all-time high,” said Russ Fadel, Co-founder and CEO of Augmentir. “Companies like Colgate-Palmolive, BioChem Fluidics, and Hunter Industries are responding to these challenges by investing in Augmentir’s data driven, AI-based platform to transform how they train and support their frontline teams. This funding will enable us to expand our global footprint and deliver our innovative, AI-first approach to a broader set of industrial companies.”

Augmentir’s suite of AI-powered connected worker tools helps industrial companies understand their diverse workforce at an individual level, enabling them to reduce the effort it takes to onboard, guide, and support their workforce.

“Although the industrial workforce is clearly becoming more dynamic, its well-known skills gap remains, making it difficult for companies to meet their operational goals. Augmentir’s unique, AI-based solution for understanding the workforce at an individual level enables companies to move from a “one size fits all” approach to onboarding, guidance, and support, to one that is more personalized. This transforms these processes, which results in lower costs to hire, train, and support workers, all while delivering superior operational performance,” stated Whit Gardner, CEO of Gardner Lewis Asset Management. “In addition, we have confidence in the leadership team at Augmentir, having successfully invested with them in other market leading software products created by ThingWorx (acquired by PTC) and Lighthammer (acquired by SAP).”

Since its product launch in July 2019, Augmentir has experienced many successes in the form of industry recognition and new client adoption, including:

This latest round of funding will allow Augmentir to further expand its global reach in the industrial sector, including manufacturing, construction, utilities, oil and gas, mining, and field service industries, and continue to provide solutions that will shape the future of the industrial workforce.

 

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About Augmentir

Augmentir™ is the world’s only provider of AI-based connected worker software. Augmentir’s software is a suite of AI-powered connected worker tools that helps industrial companies optimize the safety, quality, and productivity of today’s rapidly changing industrial frontline workforce. Companies in manufacturing, service, energy, and construction leverage Augmentir’s AI in conjunction with the platform’s digital workflow and remote collaboration capabilities to optimize their frontline operations and deliver significant growth and continuous improvement in the areas of performance support, training, and workforce development. For more information, please visit www.augmentir.com.

Leading electrical service provider uses Augmentir’s AI-powered connected worker platform to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of its on-site grounding engineering services.

HORSHAM, PA – October 19, 2021 – Augmentir, Inc., the world’s only provider of artificial intelligence-based connected worker software, today announced that E&S Grounding Solutions (“E&S”) has selected Augmentir to further connect, digitize, and modernize its highly specialized electrical services.

With nearly 20 years of dedicated grounding installations across the USA and international sites, plus numerous electrical engineering books published, E&S Grounding Solutions specializes in providing best-in-class electrical grounding services and live online training on an international scale. The company offers innovative grounding solutions — a critical safety feature for all electrical installations, including industrial, utility, and generating plant applications.

By utilizing leading industry computer modeling software, E&S provides highly sophisticated grounding design solutions that reduce costs and provide timely accurate solutions for its clients. The solutions are engineered from detailed soil resistivity test data, analysis, and computer modeling, delivering critical safety features for the industrial and utility sectors. Now, with Augmentir, E&S is further digitizing and optimizing its processes and procedures for a range of services that the company offers, including:

  • Onsite Engineering Services – Augmentir’s connected worker and digital workflow tools improve the accuracy and quality of physical site evaluations and soil resistivity testing, allowing field technicians to connect and coordinate with various instrumentation they bring along to the site. Augmentir’s tools improve the field technicians’ accuracy with automated field data collection and decision support.
  • Remote Expert Assistance Services – Augmentir augmented reality-based remote collaboration solution allows E&S Grounding Solutions to remotely assist its clients’ maintenance teams or external contractors while onsite.

“We were seeking a solution that would help us connect, digitize, and modernize our onsite engineering services and assistance we provide to our clients,” stated Joe Plourde, COO at E&S Grounding Solutions. “Augmentir with its innovative connected worker technology allows us to improve the accuracy and guidance we are providing to our field technicians.  Furthermore, Augmentir’s AR-based Remote Assist tool allows us to quickly and easily collaborate with customers and provide expert guidance in real-time.”

“We are thrilled to be selected by E&S Grounding Solutions as a core technology for their engineering and remote assistance services,” stated Russ Fadel, CEO and Co-Founder at Augmentir. “Our partnership with E&S highlights the broad applicability of our AI-based performance support solution across a range of industrial applications, allowing companies like E&S to deliver exactly the right information at the right moment to help their workers do their jobs to the highest possible level.”

 

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About E&S Grounding Solutions

E&S Grounding Solutions, Inc., (E&S) is a leading global provider of electrical grounding & earthing engineering services, to include design, site testing and auditing, lightning risk assessments, and advanced diagnostics and analysis. E&S also provides both virtual and onsite Training Services, covering a broad range of related topics including international standards. E&S enables its Clients to realize state-of-the-art grounding designs that are high performing yet exceptionally cost effective. The E&S Mission is to ENGINEER, EDUCATE and EMPOWER the world’s leading electrical technology professionals and companies to become safer, more successful, and more profitable, every single day. Learn more at esgrounding.com.

 

About Augmentir

Augmentir™ is the world’s only provider of AI-based connected worker software. Augmentir’s software is a suite of AI-powered connected worker tools that helps industrial companies optimize the safety, quality, and productivity of today’s rapidly changing industrial frontline workforce. Companies in manufacturing, service, energy, and construction leverage Augmentir’s AI in conjunction with the platform’s digital workflow and remote collaboration capabilities to optimize their frontline operations and deliver significant growth and continuous improvement in the areas of performance support, training, and workforce development. For more information, please visit www.augmentir.com.

Jobs for the Future (JFF) has selected Augmentir as one of 15 ‘Innovators to Watch’, as part of their research report Learning as an Experience.

Jobs for the Future (JFF) has selected Augmentir as one of 15 ‘innovators to watch’, as part of their research report Learning as an Experience.

According to JFF, these “Innovators to Watch” are a select group of visionary enterprises that are at the leading edge of market trends and they distinguish themselves from other forward-looking companies by their potential to create significant, business-aligned social impact. These companies offer a potentially transformative innovation and are led by inspiring founders and teams that we believe in.

In the report, JFFLabs takes closer look at the evolving alternative education and training market, with a focus on solutions that have a “measurable impact on workers’ wage and employment prospects.” The program providers and platforms selected help employers develop, train, and retain workers and make up “an ecosystem of opportunity that workers can turn to throughout their careers as they navigate new pathways in an ever-evolving economy.”

According to the report, “Augmentir stands out because it develops solutions with frontline workers and industrial settings in mind. At a time of heightened concern about automation eliminating industrial jobs, Augmentir presents employers with an opportunity to use technology to help workers develop the skills they need to adapt to changes.

The company frames its work around the key idea of skills variability rather than skills gaps, using artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology to holistically understand every worker’s competencies and offering employers tools that help workers acquire new or more advanced skills.

Augmentir’s products give every worker direct access to knowledge and information in user-friendly digital formats. The company’s tools embed training into workers’ day-to-day routines, and employers can use the platform to continually update training content to support workers’ evolving learning needs. And Augmentir’s approach of collectively sourcing knowledge from individuals in the workforce makes learning a social experience and increases learner engagement by giving workers agency to shape training content.”

Read the full report at JFF.org.

The impact of COVID-19 has placed pressure on manufacturing operations leaders to maintain business operations and business continuity. Here are four ways that connected worker technology is shaping the future industrial workforce.

Four Ways Digital Technology is Helping Frontline Workers Operate in Today’s New Normal

The global pandemic has certainly changed the way we work – and for many manufacturers, the change will be permanent.

The impact of COVID-19, and subsequent changes in how factories are located, staffed, managed and digitized, and how customers are supported, are placing pressure on manufacturing operations leaders. Manufacturing companies of every size are now turning to digital and connected worker technology as a way to maintain business operations and business continuity. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) based remote collaboration are now central to the corporate innovation portfolio of any business leader and crucial to boosting productivity at a time when enterprises most need it.

Here are four ways that connected worker technology is shaping the future industrial workforce and helping frontline workers operate at peak levels of safety, quality, and productivity during these times.

1. Provide Remote Assistance

Travel limitations and restrictions have forced companies to re-think how they support their staff and customers. As a result of COVID-19, manufacturers have initiated policies that encourage remote working, eliminate non-essential travel and instruct employees who are sick or under quarantine to stay home. This directly impacts the progression of operations that typically take place when multiple workers collaborate onsite.

AR-based virtual collaboration tools are providing business continuity for companies that can no longer rely on face-to-face interactions.

With on-demand remote expert functionality, onsite workers can quickly pull in an offsite colleague when their expertise is required. Many manufacturers are also extending this out to support virtual collaboration with 3rd party dealers and suppliers, customers, and even field service teams for those companies that provide equipment service and support. Digital work procedures, videos, realtime data and more are readily available and allow remote subject matter experts to intelligently guide and help workers on the job.

2. Reimagine Training

One of the challenges that has emerged during this pandemic has been workforce variability. Flexible staffing is becoming more the norm, and training/re-skilling is more important now than ever.

Traditional methods of classroom training have now become impractical if not impossible, and many companies are looking towards connected worker technology to help shorten training times and accelerate onboarding for new technicians. Use augmented reality (AR), visual aids, and contextual information to guide workers through complex tasks and deliver AR-based training experiences.

For example, Bio-Chem Fluidics, a mid-sized manufacturing company, was able to reduce new employee training time by over 80% – from three months down to two weeks. The use of visual aids and short training videos within digitized work procedures allowed their operation to onboard technicians at a faster rate and reduce downtime during learning periods, resulting in improved productivity.

3. Improve Quality and Productivity through Augmented Work Instructions

Another area where connected worker technology helps is through augmented work instructions. Equipped with digital devices that could include tablets, mobile phones, or even AR-enabled industrial smart glasses, frontline workers are able to receive fully augmented, guided instructions on any device to improve productivity, quality and allow workers to perform their jobs more independently. These help guide workers with visual aids, AR/MR experiences, and contextual information.

Digital work instructions enable manufacturing workers, customers, dealers, and field service technicians to complete assembly, installation, maintenance, or repair procedures at 100% quality without requiring face-to-face support. Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) can be used to amplify the value that digital work instructions bring to the connected worker. AI is used to personalize the instructions to each worker’s proficiency level, which helps intelligently close the skills gap and enable workers to perform at their best.

4. Uncover Continuous Improvement Opportunities

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. 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.

Incorporating AI into a connected worker strategy enables 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.

  • AI-based connected worker platforms can use granular data to identify the largest opportunities across the frontline workforce
  • For example, Augmentir’s AI-powered connected worker platform looks through all job data and uses AI to cleanse the data set and recognize the largest improvement opportunities for your company in productivity, training, quality, and delivers them to your team automatically through insights in the system
  • In doing that, the system learns a lot about each worker, and can dynamically match the instructions to each worker’s proficiency and capability, intelligently closing the skills gap
  • Finally, AI bots allow you to accumulate tribal knowledge (that your subject matter experts know) and convert it into a scalable, digital corporate asset

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 improve performance.


Now is the time to consider these and start digitizing and connecting your frontline workforce. These technologies are proving to be practical and effective ways to close skill gaps and transform training efforts – allowing your frontline workers to work safely and efficiently in today’s new normal. Book a personalized demo to learn more.

 

Augmentir, a data-driven, AI-powered Connected Worker solution ensures that your frontline workers can go the extra mile every day by providing training, guidance, and support through the combination of digital work instructions, remote collaboration, and advanced on-the-job training.

In 2009, the Extra Mile America Foundation, a foundation promoting action and empowering positive change, first celebrated the “Extra Mile Day”.  Fast forward to 2014 and 527 US cities declared November 1st as the official “Extra Mile Day”. This day is designated to living life to your full potential, having a positive influence, and always striving to make the world a better place.

At Augmentir, we believe in positive change, living to your full potential, and going the extra mile every day. In 2017, our founders decided to continue their journey of creating some of the most important software technology revolutions in manufacturing (Wonderware (1987), Lighthammer (1997), and ThingWorx (2008) by focusing on the most important asset, the frontline workers.

We recognize that today’s industrial workforce is different, and the old way of supporting workers just doesn’t work anymore. The static “one size fits all” approach used in the past, no longer applies to this generation of workers.

Augmentir, a data-driven, AI-powered Connected Worker solution ensures that your frontline workers can go the extra mile every day by providing training, guidance, and support through the combination of digital work instructions, remote collaboration, and advanced on-the-job training.  

As your workers become more connected, companies have access to a new rich source of activity, execution, and tribal data, and with proper AI tools can gain insights into areas where the largest improvement opportunities exist. Artificial Intelligence lays a data-driven foundation for continuous improvement in the areas of performance support, training, and workforce development, setting the stage to address the needs of today’s constantly changing workforce.

When it comes to our frontline workers, let’s enable them to go the extra mile, not just on November 1st, but every day, by empowering them with the only AI-powered Connected Worker solution.

Augmentir CEO Russ Fadel had the opportunity to be interviewed recently by Ann Wyatt, Industry 4.0 and IIoT Enthusiast, for the OnRamp Manufacturing Conference.

Earlier this month, Russ Fadel had the opportunity to be interviewed by Ann Wyatt, Industry 4.0 and IIoT Enthusiast, for the OnRamp Manufacturing Conference. OnRamp Manufacturing is the leading conference for manufacturing innovation that brings together the manufacturing industry’s leading corporations, investors, and startups. The conference highlighted innovations disrupting the manufacturing industry, the leaders making such innovations possible, and how new technologies and business models will reinvent the industry. 

In this exciting interview, Ann and Russ discussed some of the top challenges that today’s manufacturers face, and how technology such as AI and connected worker solutions that recognize the variability in today’s workforce are empowering workers by giving them tools and resources that will set them up for success. 

The following is a recap of some of the highlights of the discussion.

The great resignation is upon us now

The consistent story of the manufacturing workforce is that there is an aging workforce and 30-40% of that workforce will leave within the next 5 years, taking valuable, hard to capture tribal knowledge with them. Many manufacturers were under the misconception that the remitting workforce would pass down their knowledge to the next generation as they did before. However, this was a big misconception. Even prior to Covid, the dynamics of the workforce themself have changed. In the last 5 years, the tenure of manufacturing workers is down to 17% and that decrease escalated even more as a result of the pandemic.

The stability of the workforce has decreased in the past 8 years. Old work processes were designed during a more stable time and unfortunately aren’t applicable for this generation of workers. Today’s workers are in the factory less frequently, don’t stay as long, and due to Covid, may be out for short periods of time, resulting in the need for a more dynamic workforce. To deal with this rapidly changing workforce, manufacturers will need a more data-driven approach powered by AI to empower their workforce.

A highly effective, cross functioning workforce

Over the years, the manufacturing industry has done a really good job of connecting machines into the fabric of the business and giving operators the necessary data to help run those machines better. Our frontline workers, the last piece of connectivity, are the least connected set of workers in the company. Frontline workers should be fully integrated into the fabric of the business from a collaboration standpoint so that they can access the data they need as well. Secondly, when they are working, it needs to be understood what workers are doing well and what they are struggling with, so we can match people with the tasks that they already excel at.

Top trends and key challenges in today’s workforce

At the highest level, everyone is talking about the disruption of the mobile supply chain. The role of the manufacturer is to put supply into the supply chain and to safely build products at acceptable quality and productivity levels, matching today’s workforce with today’s task load. 

The new dynamics of the workforce (lots of turnover, shorter tenure, people leaving abruptly) are at odds with what manufacturers are trying to do, which is to be a stable source of supply to the global supply network. Technology today, specifically AI, lets us understand at a data-driven level and in real time how workers can perform at their individual best, based on their training experience and raw ability for a specific task.

How Hybrid Work is impacting the manufacturing workforce

With Covid came an immediate need for remote presence, but the real issue is the idea that a subject matter expert needed to be on site for support. This way of working is now a thing of the past. When we think about having frontline workers fully connected to the organization, at any moment in time, they should have direct access to the tools and resources that would help them do their job better. Connected work in the future means using AI to allow frontline workers to have access to internal and external resources that are appropriate for them at their fingertips.

Another interesting statistic resulting from Covid is that employee engagement is down almost 20% from pre-Covid times. Manufacturers are always concerned about employee engagement, particularly with certain jobs that might be repetitive. AI is extremely helpful in measuring signals of engagement but also provides tools to the organization to increase the level of engagement of frontline workers. One thing that causes a reduction in engagement is when a worker feels like they can’t perform a job so they become frustrated. 

Using AI to give frontline workers the tools and information they need when they need it is one way to help increase engagement. The other way is to let them feel connected to the actual importance of their work.

Hiring, Training & Reskilling

The new workforce dynamics and the nature of hybrid work are also now forcing manufacturers to re-think employee onboarding and training.

The historic methods of onboarding and training taught workers everything they could “possibly” do which resulted in overtraining. The data-driven era we’re entering into is one of continuous learning and development powered by AI. Training shifts from the things frontline workers are possibly going to do to what they are probably going to do. This results in reduced training times, continuous learning and development, and the ability to upskill at any point as needed. Learning is always available, training content is available to the worker on the shop floor at the time of need. Reducing the initial onboarding training and allowing training to occur at the moment of need, coupled with AI for scoring, provides insights into the most effective training modules as well as what needs to improve based on demonstrated execution.

Transforming Today’s Workforce with AI & Connected Worker Tools

One challenge with connected worker data is that it’s inherently noisy. In many cases, up to 37% of the signals that come back are not representative of what is actually happening. Fortunately, AI excels at recognizing patterns in noisy data, so we can use that to focus companies on the work processes that have the most opportunity, allowing organizations to understand their actual proficiency at any procedure or job. This helps them understand current workforce skills and where they should invest if they want to get the largest return, with AI being the driving technology that unlocks those signals in noisy data.

 

AI is largely embedded in most aspects of our lives. It will play an equally large role in helping the connected workforce progress and become part of the 21st-century solution and the next generation of how people work. Adopting these methodologies early on will make the overall digital transformation process a lot easier for manufacturers.

You may have noticed that our website and brand look a little different. Augmentir has a new look, but under the hood, its the same powerful AI that is helping to transform the industrial workforce of the future.

You may have noticed that our website and brand look a little different. Well, that’s because behind the scenes for the past few months, we’ve been under construction (no pun intended).

Augmentir was founded in 2017 with the vision to use AI to empower the industrial frontline workforce to perform at their best. This was a continuation of our rich history – our founding team has been at the forefront of three of the most important of these software technology revolutions in manufacturing over the past three decades – Wonderware Software in 1987, Lighthammer in 1997, and ThingWorx in 2008.

A lot has changed since then. The world we live in today is not the same as it was 4 years ago. And in the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the stability of the workforce and drastically magnified some of the industry’s top workforce challenges, which stem from the unprecedented levels of dynamism in the areas of skills diversity, reduced tenure, and increased churn from the “Great Resignation”. Unlike the stable and predictable workforce of the recent past, today companies have to live in the new normal where workers are hard to find, hard to engage, and hard to keep.

These top challenges of today have only reinforced the need for an AI-powered, data-driven approach to empowering frontline workers.

This data-driven era we’re entering into is one of continuous learning and development with tools like remote collaboration and digitized work processes truly integrating frontline workers into the fabric of the business from a collaboration standpoint whereas they may have been overlooked before.

Augmentir’s AI-powered connected worker platform provides the tools to not only survive in this new normal but to thrive.

You can’t build a truly modern, connected workforce without AI

The term “connected worker” has become a recent buzzword in the manufacturing world, and is now considered a tool that the new generation of workers expect to work with. But true connected work means using AI to allow frontline workers to have access to internal and external resources that are appropriate for when and how they need them.

Augmentir isn’t your typical connected worker platform. Our platform was built from the ground up on an AI foundation. AI algorithms are ideal for analyzing large amounts of data collected from a connected workforce. AI can detect patterns, find outliers, cleanse data and find correlations and patterns that can be used to identify opportunities for improvement and create a data-driven environment that supports continuous learning and performance support. Our connected worker platform utilizes AI to help train, guide, and support today’s frontline workers in a dynamic workforce by combining digital work instructions, remote collaboration, continuous development and advanced on-the-job training capabilities.

This approach aligns perfectly with the dynamic, changing nature of today’s workforce, and is ideally suited to achieve and sustain effective on-the-job performance.

As the world’s only AI-powered connected worker platform, we decided it was time to refresh our brand identity to accentuate our strongest feature and the thing that makes Augmentir unique – AI. We’re still the same AI-first connected worker platform that you know – just with a new look.