- The Buddy System (n.) — a cooperative arrangement whereby individuals are paired or teamed up and assume responsibility for one another’s instruction, productivity, welfare, or safety.
Who among us has not wished, at some point, on some job, at some remote location, that we could have expert assistance at our side who can see what we see and immediately understand and appreciate the problem that we need to solve? And this wish is invariably made more compelling by a pressing deadline and running cost meter that demands we fix what needs fixing ASAP.
Well, thanks to the emergence of augmented reality (AR) and the evolution of interactive communication tools, global construction equipment giant Caterpillar Inc. believes it now has an app for that. Today, at its Peoria, Ill. headquarters and innovation center, the heavy equipment manufacturer is releasing a host of new technology products, not the least of which is a new remote AR play that the firm believes will be embraced by anxious workers in the field who have been historically frustrated by the difficult task of trying to explain problems and describe unique circumstances to expert assistants who are not there.
“Typically, in the past, you call a friend or colleague for help and have to describe to them over the phone what you are seeing,” says Lonny Johnson, CAT’s senior service innovation technology engineer in charge of the project. “Now, with this app, they can actually see what you are looking at, and even annotate it on screen, to give instruction and help you understand exactly what needs to be done.”
Last month, at our own headquarters in Chicago, BuiltWorlds was given the exclusive opportunity to preview this new technology, developed jointly by CAT and partner Scope AR, an Edmonton, Alberta-based startup that had impressed Johnson enough to win an extensive competition among AR vendors. Here, Johnson and Scope AR President David Nedohin (remotely) demonstrate the new app.
For more, watch Scope AR’s own video below on the technology it adapted for CAT’s specialized mission.