Scott Montgomerie is the co-founder & CEO of Scope AR, the first augmented reality knowledge management company.
Earlier in his career, Scott started his first job writing code at 17, and his company got acquired by Intuit. After several years there, he set off to become a serial entrepreneur.
Since founding Scope AR in 2011, Scott was one of the first to get multi-billion-dollar companies to use augmented reality tools. He and his team have simplified adoption and deployment of AR across a number of industries, and today, Scope AR address challenges around problem resolution and guided work instruction experienced by Toyota, Lockheed Martin, Unilever, Prince Castle, and others.
In this conversation, Scott shares how he juggled going to college while working at the startup that was acquired by Intuit. He talks about his journey as an entrepreneur and shares some epiphanies he had along the way.
He goes on to share his early explorations with AR, as well as his experience taking Scope through Y Combinator, a highly selective startup accelerator.
He also discusses the significant impact Scope’s products are having on his customers, including the return on investment, and where the company is headed in the future.
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Enterprise AR is a rich area of opportunity, given continually-proven
bottom line impact. In fact, it’s the largest XR sub-sector in the
outer years of ARtillry Intelligence’s latest revenue forecast. That’s mostly driven by demonstrable ROI in areas like industrial productivity and error reduction.
But despite that ROI story, there’s still lots of enterprise inertia and risk aversion, said Scope AR CEO Scott Montgomerie at AWE Europe (video below). We believe it will
take a while to get over that hump, but then adoption will accelerate as
we saw with enterprise smartphone adoption.
To accelerate that process, it’s all about case studies and proof
points. It’s also about moving enterprises past “pilot purgatory” says
Montgomerie. That happens when innovation centers in a given company
adopt technology but other constituents, like I.T. dept. and employees,
But it still starts with the case studies. And those are slowly building throughout the enterprise AR sector. Scope AR has been an exemplar in pulling together ROI proof points, including increased output, better accuracy rate in diagnosing problems, and reducing time for task completion.
For example, Scope AR’s WorkLink software for pre-authored AR instructions reduced Lockheed Martin’s “orient & decide” portion of a satellite assembly by 99 percent. This type of work is where AR shines, as it reduces the cognitive load that’s inherent in translating 2D manuals to 3D space.
“To put into common terms, think about IKEA furniture,” said
Montgomerie. “You have to look at those paper instructions, read weird
diagrams, and do mental mapping of those diagrams… Multiply the
complexity of that by a thousand and that’s the challenge we’re facing.”
Beyond pre-authored AR instructions, remote AR assistance (a.k.a “see what I see”) is proving valuable. Fast-food equipment supplier Prince Castle used Scope AR’s Remote AR to fix on-site equipment. It achieved 100 percent first time diagnosis rate and a 50 percent labor cost reduction.
“There’s about thirty things that can go wrong with these pieces of
equipment,” said Montgomerie. “Figuring out which one of those things
have gone wrong is really the key, and just with a phone call, their
diagnosis rate was terrible — about 90 percent failure in first-time
As we’ve examined,
Remote AR can also have macro-effects in an organization, such as
reducing impact from subject-matter experts retiring. Shifting them from
field work to remote AR assistance can delay retirement. It can also
optimize diminishing volumes of experts through telepresence.
“In the next five years, they’re going to lose 330 years worth of
experience just by having baby boomers retiring,” said Montgomerie.
“These guys have spent 35 years learning exactly how to maintain, fix
and operate equipment, and that knowledge is literally walking out the
Unilever realized this advantage, as well as the unit economics of lessened downtime. Using Remote AR, it was able to reduce downtime by 50 percent for an ROI of 1,717 percent. The benefit is having things fixed faster when you don’t have to wait for a human to travel to the site.
But again, ROI proof points only get you so far. It’s also about
setting the technology up to succeed by appealing to stakeholders
throughout an organization — business leaders, I.T. depts. and
employees, says Montgomerie. And that’s more about marketing than
Business leaders are the easy part, and are usually sold on the
merits of case studies like the above. Then comes I.T., whose job is to
be risk-averse. Montgomerie’s advice: Get them involved as soon as
possible. That may seem counterintuitive but it pays dividends
“I think it’s a common mistake — one we’ve certainly made — to do an
end run around I.T.,” said Montgomerie. “It’s easy to say ‘yeah, let’s
prove the value first and then we’ll worry about I.T. when we get to
scale. I.T. will screw you at that point, so you need to get them in the
He also recommends deploying AR through smartphones and tablets when
possible. The I.T. and data security pushback is lower with mobile
devices, given their tenure and trustworthiness in the enterprise.
Headsets like the Hololens conversely haven’t gained that level trust
from I.T. yet.
As for employees, it’s likewise hard to win them over. But successful
deployment requires their buy in. Resistance includes fear of new
technology and job security. Montgomerie recommends educating them on
how it benefits them, and enlist change-management pros.
“We’re talking about some pretty impressive ROI numbers here,” he
said. “If I’m a worker I’m thinking, ‘oh well, the company can still do
exactly the same on their bottom line with 50 percent of the workforce…
does that mean I have a 1 in 2 chance of keeping my job next year’.”
In a broader sense, Montgomerie recommends deploying AR where it works
best. It doesn’t work in rote and automated functions, where employees
are already fine-tuned. It shines in low-volume, high complexity
situations (like space shuttles), or high volume, small improvement
Put another way, don’t be a hammer searching for nails.
Act in a needs-driven way to deploy AR in targeted and optimized ways.
Scope AR took this path with aerospace, engineering and heavy equipment,
but Montgomerie believes there are many other verticals primed for AR.
“I think there’s an impression out there that AR is great for everything. I can tell you it’s not,” he said. “We’ve chosen key industries to go after… there are other industries where this is a greenfield — things like medical, construction, and logistics. There are some great use cases there.”
This week in TechTrends’ Construction Executive, Scope AR President David Nedohin explains how AR will impact the design and construction of commercial buildings.
“The construction industry has quickly become one of the breakout success stories for applications in augmented reality (AR). The construction space is ripe with opportunity to take advantage and be a leader in the adoption of AR.”
“During the construction process, every attempt is made to improve efficiency from saving time, reducing waste and improving safety. With AR-based tools, everyone can be an “expert” by ensuring that they have best practices and expert knowledge in front of them at any stage of the project.”
“Using an AR platform, construction companies can also leverage built-in analytics to capture various data points such as timing information around how long it takes to perform a single step or a procedure overall, as well as checklist verifications, images, videos and measurements.”
Scope hit the front page of The Peninsula Newspaper – Qatar today in an article about augmented reality in the classroom!
From the article:
Recently, a study was conducted with CNA-Q’s Engineering Technology
students to see how AR compared to using standard paper manuals for
disassembling an industrial water pump. The study found that students
using AR made no errors in disassembling the pump, whereas students
using paper manuals made four significant errors.