AI and connected worker technology is helping frontline managers combat employee burnout and improve engagement and retention.

Industrial work comes with an immense amount of stress. Without providing the worker with the right level of support, this stress can lead to increased errors, poor work performance, and eventually, burnout. Recently, Gallup reported that 76% of employees experience some form of workplace burnout. This not only affects performance and productivity but much more, including engagement and employee retention.

employee burnout

To offset employee burnout, managers should aim to:

  • Reduce employee stress
  • Remove roadblocks ensuring their workers have the proper tools to complete their tasks
  • Ensure workers are a good match skill-wise for the work they are doing
  • Give workers a say in how the work is completed
  • Empower workers to believe that the work they are doing is valued and important

road to flow

In a 2022 Gallup poll, 79% of employees responded as not being engaged at work, this same poll found that most employees don’t find their work meaningful and do not feel hopeful about their careers.

When supporting workers and battling workplace burnout, there is no “one size fits all” answer, and many organizations are realizing that taking the same approach for “desk workers” does not account for the many and uniquely different needs demanded by frontline or “deskless” workers. Managers must keep in mind these needs when combating and detecting burnout and boosting employee engagement.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based technology combined with a worker-centric approach can help tremendously in this respect, accounting for the human element in industrial operations while still taking advantage of innovations.

Using AI to Augment and Enhance Worker Experience

By utilizing the capabilities of connected worker platforms and AI, companies can take a proactive approach to reducing stress and preventing employee burnout.

The meteoric rise of AI tools like ChatGPT and natural language processing has created a surge in interest in all things AI and while it’s not a cure-all, AI has the potential to be extremely effective in helping workers get access to the information and support they need while on the job, as well as predicting, detecting, and reducing workplace burnout. By taking highly granular connected worker data and using AI to filter out the unnecessary portions, industrial operations are able to not only improve tasks and productivity but better support and empower frontline workers. Organizations can use AI to engage employees by:

  • Creating communication touchpoints and streamlining communication
  • Pairing workers and tasks based on skill level
  • Suggesting training and certification opportunities for upskilling workers
  • Create feedback paths so employees have a say in how tasks are completed

To complement AI and software platforms, organizations can implement other tools such as wearable devices, mental health applications, and more to aid in engagement efforts. Finding the right balance and combination is key for knowledge exchange and conversation – making employees more engaged within the team.

The Human Element

It is important to take advantage of new technologies and implement them where needed, but technology by itself is not the answer. Finding a balance between technology integration and a worker-driven approach is key and it is paramount that the true needs of the workforce are not forgotten. Although AI and machine learning-based technology can help tremendously with detecting and reducing employee burnout, it has its limits and can only do so much. Technology cannot replace how workers feel and how they interact with management on a day-to-day basis. And at the end of the day, AI can only augment employees and should be used to empower them, never to replace them.

Recently, Augmentir’s Dave Landreth sat down with Christopher Lind from Learning Tech Talks, and discussed the evolution of learning technology and the role that connected worker solutions play.

Recently, Augmentir’s Dave Landreth sat down with Christopher Lind from Learning Tech Talks, and discussed connected worker solutions, and how leading manufacturing organizations are digitizing their workforce and transforming their frontline operations.

learning tech talks

The Evolving Landscape of Learning Technology

Learning Tech Talks explore the evolving landscape of learning and training technology through unbiased conversations with experts and technology providers from around the world.  In this episode, Dave and Chris discuss the role that connected worker solutions play in learning for frontline workers.  The discussion covers what connected worker solutions are, their value to manufacturing organizations, and walks through the process of using this technology to digitize a workforce from “hire to retire”, as well as investigates some of the insights and opportunities that are available in a smarter connected collaboration.


August 13, 2021


Augmentir was recently recognized by Gartner in four separate Hype Cycle reports that cover technology innovation in manufacturing. These four reports include:

  • Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Digital Transformation and Innovation, 2021
  • Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Operations Strategy, 2021
  • Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Digital Optimization and Modernization, 2021
  • Hype Cycle for Frontline Worker Technologies, 2021

In these reports, Gartner highlights Augmentir as a key software vendor in the Connected Factory Worker and Immersive Experiences in Manufacturing Operations categories.

  • Connected Factory Worker: Connected factory workers use various digital tools to improve the safety, quality, and productivity of the jobs they perform. This technology helps connect workers to the “digital fabric” of the business, providing insight into the tasks they perform so that they can be optimized and continually improved on.
  • Immersive Experiences in 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. Gartner sees using immersive experiences for quality and maintenance tasks, remotely connecting and collaborating with employees that are not able to be on-site, or wearables for safety management.

These hype cycles and innovation profiles are provided by Gartner to help organizations decide which new innovations and technology to adopt, as well as what value they can provide to their manufacturing operations.

Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

According to Gartner, the manufacturing industry is being transformed by new business models and strategic, innovative technologies that fit within Industrie 4.0. Manufacturers can capitalize on advancements made in artificial intelligence (AI), visualization, collaboration, and greater connectivity across enterprises.

This was the focus in Gartner’s recently published reports, which revealed opportunities for manufacturing leaders to gain business advantages through concepts and technologies that improve productivity and decision making. Besides adding value to manufacturing businesses, they increase windows of competitive advantage.

The Connected Worker – A first step for Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

Manufacturers are beginning to recognize just how integral frontline workers are to their company’s digital fabric and that overlooking these workers has caused their digital transformation efforts to fall short of their objectives.

These same industry leaders are now investing in an integrated approach – empowering their frontline teams with connected worker solutions that utilize technology such as mobile and wearable devices, augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR), remote collaboration tools, and artificial intelligence (AI). Connected worker solutions that bring together these technologies are helping to connect a new class of workers and are allowing organizations to proactively and continually deliver the right level of training, support, guidance, and improvement.

Optimizing Worker Performance with AI

As 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 productivity, quality, and workforce development, setting the stage to address the needs of a constantly changing workforce.

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 continually optimize the performance of the connected worker ecosystem. Artificial intelligence is uniquely able to address the fundamental macrotrends of skills variability and the loss of tribal knowledge in the workforce, and creates a foundation for data-driven improvements to operational performance and continuous improvement.

“AI will play a critical role in the long-term success of connected factory workers. As more information is curated and made available, algorithms must be continually trained in alignment with continuous improvement initiatives, creating the potential for enhanced root cause analysis.”


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 using AI. For example, after Augmentir is deployed for a number of months, our AI engine will start identifying patterns in the data that will allow you to focus your efforts on the areas that have the biggest customer satisfaction, productivity, and workforce development opportunities. This will allow you to answer questions such as:

  • Where should I invest to get the biggest improvement in operational performance?
  • What manufacturing tasks have the largest productivity or quality opportunity?
  • Where would targeted training give me the biggest return?

Augmentir’s AI continuously updates its insights to enable companies to focus on their largest areas of opportunity, enabling you to deliver year over year improvements in key operational metrics.

Interested in learning more?

If you’d like to learn more about Augmentir and see how our AI-Powered connected worker platform improves safety, quality, and productivity across your workforce, schedule a demo with one of our product experts.


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.

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.

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. 


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.

Recently, the Augmentir team was excited to support WebexOne as a gold sponsor. It was great to participate in such an inspiring event, where collaboration and hybrid work were key themes throughout the sessions.

Recently, the Augmentir team was excited to support WebexOne as a gold sponsor. It was great to participate in such an inspiring event, where collaboration and hybrid work were key themes throughout the sessions.

During the event, our team had an opportunity to speak with industry leaders to discuss their top challenges and how Augmentir and Cisco together are helping shape the future of work in the manufacturing industry.

Shaping the Future of Work

Augmentir’s partnership with Cisco was built to address some of the top challenges in the industrial sector today. Webex remote collaboration tool, Expert on Demand, and Augmentir’s AI-Powered Connected Worker Platform together deliver a unique combination of technology and tools necessary to help increase safety, quality, and productivity for frontline workers performing industrial jobs in manufacturing and service.

These themes were prevalent throughout the WebexOne event – using technology to unlock human potential and elevate today’s workforce.

Elevating Workforce Performance

Many of the themes discussed during the event focused on today’s changing workforce, and the unique needs of the “deskless” workers, who have been underserved by technology.  This is especially true in manufacturing, where 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.

Augmentir’s suite of AI-powered connected worker tools help 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.

  • Improve job quality – Drive quality improvements by moving from paper-based to interactive digital work instructions augmented with rich media, contextual data, and mixed reality experiences, ensuring your workers always have the correct information on hand to make error-free and safe decisions.
  • Improve Worker Safety – In addition to running on any mobile phone or tablet, Augmentir and Webex are supported on the voice-enabled RealWear HMT-1 and HMT-1Z1 industrial headsets, offering hands-free operation that can be used in nearly any industrial environment. This helps workers stay focused on the task at hand to improve safety and efficiency.
  • Reduce operational costs – Identify areas where the largest improvements can be made within your workforce and across your organization with insights from Augmentir’s AI.

Elevating Hybrid Work and Collaboration in Manufacturing

Hybrid work and collaboration were also central themes during the event, and both are core to Augmentir’s combined solution with Cisco. Augmentir’s digital workflow tools enable rapid creation and delivery of augmented work instructions to help guide workers in day-to-day tasks. This value is extended with Cisco Webex Expert on Demand, which gives workers the ability to quickly connect and collaborate with remote experts wherever they are located.

Cisco also announced Webex Hologram during the event. This new augmented reality meeting solution was noted by Jeet Patel, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Cisco Security and Collaboration, as an “industry first” – combining Webex meeting functionality with augmented reality (AR) hardware to create immersive 3D holograms of participants during meetings.

The Stakes Have Never Been Higher

As you can tell, WebexOne was a successful 2-day event with great conversations around collaboration and hybrid work. As Jeet Patel stated during the event, “The stakes have never been higher” in regards to your workforce and working smarter and more efficiently. It’s time to elevate your workforce with Augmentir’s AI-powered Connected Worker solution.

After more than a year of virtual conferences, we were finally able to participate in person at the AI Manufacturing conference in Dallas early this November and discuss how AI is shaping the future of the manufacturing workforce.

After more than a year of virtual conferences, we were finally able to participate in person at the AI Manufacturing conference in Dallas early this November. This year’s event was hybrid, face-to-face on November 3 and 4th, and virtually on November 5th. While it was refreshing to be able to network face to face with leaders in the Manufacturing industry, it was great to have the opportunity to also network virtually on November 5th. If you aren’t familiar with the AI Manufacturing conference, this conference is the leading Artificial Intelligence event for Manufacturing Industries. This year’s event focused on:

  • The use of AI to Improve Quality, Reduce Defects, and Increase Profits
  • Developing a Digital Twin to Optimize Plant Operations
  • Using Building Blocks to Modernize Manufacturing Activities and Facilitate Growth
  • Designing  Products Enabled by Additive and Hybrid Manufacturing Techniques
  • Exploring the Use of AI in Industrial Attacks and Defense

Using AI to Unlock the True Potential of Today’s Modern, Connected Workforce

Dave Landreth, Augmentir’s Head of Customer Strategy had the opportunity to present on “Using AI to Unlock to the True Potential of Today’s Connected Workforce”. In this session, he discussed the variability of the workforce with generations, how they need to be trained differently, and how AI can assist in worker proficiency. Dave also discussed Bob Mosher’s 5 moments of need and how AI can be applied at the time of learning. 

The Misunderstood Fear of AI

Our founders saw that the humanistic approach was missing with traditional connected worker platforms and realized that AI was the key to saving the manufacturing world and unlocking worker potential. However, companies are reluctant to adopt AI in fear that automation will take over and eventually replace human workers in manufacturing. Others fear that AI would be used negatively to track workers, in a “big brother” type of way.  

As we’ve seen with our customers, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. When AI is leveraged ethically with the workforce in mind, it can be used to help improve and ultimately grow the talent of your workers. Assessing workers on their performance has been done for years through subjective performance reviews. Using AI allows the assessments to be based on data and can provide a path forward for worker improvement and continued growth. 

Understanding Today’s Struggles Within Manufacturing

Manufacturing workforce challenges

The struggles that manufacturers face today aren’t the same struggles that were present 40 years ago. One of the number one issues in manufacturing is hiring. Today, most manufacturers believe that hiring is a risk, with a limited pool of candidates. They are struggling with employees who don’t have the needed skill set and are questioning how they can train them and evaluate their performance. 

Manufacturing companies also struggle with retaining employees. We are all aware of the workforce retention issues right now. Employees are feeling like they aren’t heard and that they can’t contribute to the company, which causes them to look for a new career. There is also the struggle of thoughtful upskilling, meaning that formal training programs only recognize one type of worker. The average manufacturing plant sees 4 generations of workers, ranging from those fresh out of high school to the ones that have worked on a plant floor for 40+ years. Different generations learn differently and require different levels of support. There isn’t a one size fits all approach for teaching different generations. 

Another challenge with the workforce that isn’t as obvious, is with mergers and acquisitions. An acquisition means that companies now consist of two workforces doing things differently and needing to understand what part of procedures from the newly acquired company is worth incorporating into the existing procedures.

Leveraging AI to Help Build and Grow a Top Performing Workforce

Build and grow a top performing manufacturing workforce

AI is uniquely suited to solve these challenges, and we recognized that early on at Augmentir. We started looking at how AI could help build and grow a top performing workforce. One way AI can help is the ability to hire for potential by increasing the hiring of candidates to those not as skilled. AI allows companies to understand a worker’s skillset and provides the ability for personalized workflows to guide them in the context of work while they are doing their job, whether it’s a new worker or one with dozens of years of experience. AI can also help with the “Right person – Right Job – Right Time” approach – always ensuring that the correct person is performing the task at the most efficient time. 

The use of AI allows all workers to contribute by allowing inline feedback to optimize work procedures. In addition, AI can be used to ensure personalized career job competency allows workers to be hired even if they do not have the optimal set of skills and experience. Measuring a worker’s proficiency when they are completing the work allows the worker to focus on each specific step and guides them at the time of need, instead of during classroom training. AI provides workers with predictive and stable data to help them grow in their roles. Having a data-driven way to measure success and provide advancement opportunities helps establish career paths as well as opportunities to grow. 

With an AI-based onboarding approach, organizations are able to hire a wider range of individuals with varying skill sets. If we can teach someone in the context of doing their work, onboarding time is reduced due to being able to train them in the field. We also see an increase in productivity and are constantly evolving their learnings. When workers feel included and confident about their careers, they are also more likely to want to stay and grow with the company. The ability to train workers in the field while doing their jobs with AI personalization allows you to clearly and quickly assess how a worker is doing, where you focus the help to them, and driving those 1:1 work procedures is a game-changer.

AI in Manufacturing will solve many of the challenges that we are seeing. 

Learning & Development and the 5 Moments of Need

The Five Moments of Need methodology was created by Bob Mosher, a thought leader in learning and development with over 30 years of experience. He realized that after 20 years, classroom teaching was the wrong approach since it rarely teaches you things that you do in your job on the shop floor. Classroom learning allows an individual to gain a certain level of confidence, but quickly falls off when it’s time to apply it within context to a given workflow.  

According to Bob’s methodology, the 5 moments when our workforce needs knowledge and information consists of: 

  • When people are learning how to do something for the first time (New).
  • When people are expanding the breadth and depth of what they have learned (More).
  • When they need to act upon what they have learned, which includes planning what they will do, remembering what they may have forgotten, or adapting their performance to a unique situation (Apply).
  • When problems arise, or things break or don’t work the way they were intended (Solve).
  • When people need to learn a new way of doing something, which requires them to change skills that are deeply ingrained in their performance practices (Change).

The approach that Bob and his team adopted in the last 10 years is to think more about performance support. The variability of the workforce, both skilled and young, proves that there’s not a one size fits all approach. This is where AI comes in: being able to deliver personalized work procedures for every worker, allowing for continuous learning and growth. Based on proficiency, there may be a more guided set of work instructions, a session with a remote expert, or a supervisor sign-off required in order to complete the job on quality and on schedule. AI can also be used to continuously measure and assess how the workers are doing. This is where organizations can start seeing growth within their workforce.

Looking Ahead

We had a blast at this year’s AI Manufacturing conference and are already looking forward to another successful event next year! If you’re interested in learning more about why AI is an essential tool in digital transformation, from reducing costs and downtime to improving over quality and productivity, we’d highly suggest considering attending next year. In the meantime, if you’re looking for information surrounding AI, digital transformation, and building a connected workforce, check out our eBook: “Building a Modern, Connected Workforce with AI”.