No landing page at this moment. will put into draft before push live
The AR show: podcast – August 20, 2019
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.
I’m ecstatic to announce that Scope AR has raised a $9.7M Series A! This follows a strong year for Scope AR and we’re on track to have an even better 2019. We’re so excited to have the resources we need to grow and to take advantage of the amazing opportunity that lies before us, which is nothing less than transforming how people perform work in the heavy industries. We’re just at the beginning of the journey with augmented reality-enabled applications, and we have a clear and expanding vision of what is needed to become the global leader in workforce knowledge management.
When we built our first augmented reality project back in 2012, we were blown away by the market opportunity that presented itself, and today is another milestone in enabling front line workers to receive the information they need to do their jobs more effectively. It’s only a matter of time before this technology is in the hands of every blue-collar worker, and it’s extremely exciting to be on the front lines of this world-changing technology, particularly with the recent advances in hardware which are finally allowing our dream to come to fruition.
In 2018, Apple and Google both got into the AR game with ARKit and ARCore, and Microsoft made a big push with their Hololens headset. With the support of these hardware players and billions of devices ready to take advantage of this amazing technology, AR seems ready to take off, and Scope AR is poised to take advantage of this changing landscape. The core ethos around the company is knowledge transfer – getting knowledge into a worker’s hands as soon as possible, enabling them to have the knowledge they need, when they need it. We have accomplished that goal in a couple of core capabilities:
- Remote AR (Remote Assistance), the first AR-enabled remote assistance app, which allows a front-line technician to obtain knowledge and collaborate with someone who has that knowledge in real time, with the enabling technology of augmented reality providing that key communication medium that you just don’t get with FaceTime or Skype.
- WorkLink, the first no-code authoring platform, which allows non-technical users to create intuitive, visual work instructions for virtually any worker to receive intuitive, visual guided instructions for the purposes of training, maintenance, or assembly.
And we aren’t done yet! Stay tuned for some great announcements in the next few months.
Continuing to look ahead, Scope AR will use this round of capital to grow our sales and marketing teams, as well as our development teams. We have an extensive roadmap to build to become the global leader in workforce knowledge management. To help guide us in this journey, I’m extremely happy to welcome Wayne Hu of SignalFire and Krishna K. Gupta of Romulus Capital to the board of directors.
I’m very excited about the future and what we’ll be able to achieve with these additional resources. And if you’re looking to join a rockstar team with huge ambitions to change the world – we’re hiring!
January, 30 2019 – Norbert Sparrow:
Remember Glass? When Google introduced its augmented reality (AR) eyewear, the initial excitement faded into disdain for early adopters, who earned a memorable nickname: Glassholes. The user affectation, as well as the cost and paucity of reasons to actually use them in nature, doomed AR wearables in the consumer electronics space, at least for now. But that changes if you look to the factory or shop floor, writes Jake Swearingen in the Intelligencer section of New York magazine. “In such settings, augmented-reality smart glasses are already being deployed across a wide swath of industries.” Scott Montgomerie, CEO and co-founder of Scope AR (San Francisco, CA), was an early advocate of AR in the manufacturing space and has played a key role in its adoption at companies such as Lockheed Martin and GE. He will speak to his experience at the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Summit during the co-located PLASTEC West and Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West event in Anaheim, CA, on Feb. 5 to 7, 2019. In advance of the event, he shared some perspectives on the technology with PlasticsToday.
The eureka moment regarding AR opportunities in manufacturing came to Montgomerie at a mining convention in Las Vegas. “We began playing around with AR in 2012, when a big mining company came to Scope AR, asking if our technology could be used for training. We did a proof of concept, which went really well, and the company asked us to bring it to a trade show in Las Vegas later that year.” The demo was an instant hit, with a constant stream of attendees telling Montgomerie and his colleagues that it was “the coolest thing” at the show. “And we were, like, really? Because those giant mining trucks with wheels bigger than your living room looked really cool to us!” recalled Montgomerie. Nevertheless, the die was cast. Scope AR started getting contracts from the likes of Toyota, Boeing and NASA. By 2015, “we decided that this platform was going to scale and there needed to be an easy way to create instructions and interact,” said Montgomerie.
Scope AR’s WorkLink allows users with no prior coding skills to create rich AR smart instructions that automatically collect data and provide actionable insights, which can be deployed globally through an app. Instead of rifling through paper instructions, users are immersed in computer-generated 3D imagery that overlays on top of the real world, explains the company on its website. The software is platform agnostic—”we want people to be able to use the technology they feel comfortable with,” explained Montgomerie—and is also the first authoring system to provide full support for Microsoft’s HoloLens system. The company also offers Remote AR, which allows a worker to collaborate remotely with an expert, both of whom are seeing the same thing as if they were standing side by side. The possibilities and efficiencies that can be achieved are head spinning.
Using a HoloLens, for example, instructions can be overlaid on a part or piece of equipment using 3D models to perform maintenance or assemble a part, explained Montgomerie. Human error is dramatically reduced and efficiency skyrockets. Montgomerie cites Unilever, which reported an astonishing return on investment of more than 1,700%, and Lockheed Martin, which reduced manufacturing time by 50%.
“I’m particularly fond of the Lockheed Martin use case, which involves the space shuttle,” Montgomerie told PlasticsToday. It is making a “capsule with 3000 fasteners that need to be tightened. The old way of doing it was to paw through a 3000-page binder, look up the table, find the fastener in question, look up the torque setting, crawl into a tight space to get to the fastener, set the torque, do quality assurance to verify it was tightened properly, and rinse and repeat 3000 times,” said Montgomerie. “Our AR technology shows the technician where the fastener is and on top of that displays the torque setting. Productivity was improved by 50%,” said Montgomerie.
If the task is more complex and requires expert assistance, Remote AR offers a time-saving solution. “Suppose you have a part that doesn’t fit and you need to reach out to a manufacturing engineer or even the OEM,” explained Montgomerie. To help out, typically the expert would have to physically come to the shop floor. That could take days in some cases. With our technology, they can communicate over video in real time and real space across synchronized devices.”
Employee training is another area where AR is revolutionizing processes in organizations as disparate as the U.S. military and Walmart. Writing in Forbes, AR and virtual reality entrepreneur Lorne Fade notes that Microsoft has made a $480 million deal with the U.S. Army to train troops for complex, dangerous real-world situations via AR and that Walmart has partnered with Oculus and Strivr to teach personnel internal processes in an immersive AR-enabled way. For Montgomerie, AR technology may even represent a partial solution to the skills gap.
“It takes a lot of time to gain expertise—10,000 hours, right? What if you could receive instructions that are so intuitive that you wouldn’t have to memorize them?” said Montgomerie. “You can store tons of information on the internet and then you become the actuator.”
The skills gap is heightened as baby boomers retire en masse. “All of that knowledge is literally walking out the door,” said Montgomerie. “A feature that we are working on is the capability of recording interactions. As the technician is receiving instructions from an expert, the video, audio and 3D adaptation, on a separate channel, are being recorded. Later, you can go back and replay that interaction on top of that piece of equipment.” When the expert retires, his knowledge stays with the company and continues to educate young workers.
The power of AR in these scenarios and countless others resides in the richness of the communication channel. “The user interface allows you to communicate in a much more natural way. Now we’re interacting with real and virtual objects in a real world setting and that neatly solves so many problems that stem from a misinterpretation of instructions. Montgomerie cites an example that almost everyone on the planet can relate to: Assembling Ikea furniture.
“An expert attempts to communicate through diagrams, but the technician, or consumer in this example, misunderstands those instructions and uses the wrong fastener or beam. With AR, you can see the pieces overlaid on top of the furniture in 3D, and you will certainly make fewer mistakes. Through that form of communication, you viscerally understand what you need to do versus trying to interpret instructions,” said Montgomerie.
And that’s the crux of it: Whether you’re assembling a Dagstorp sofa or tightening screws on a space shuttle component, AR reduces human error and accelerates the process. No wonder that the AR market is forecast to grow at 75% CAGR through 2024, exceeding $50 billion by 2024, according to Market Study Report LLC.
Montgomerie will lead a discussion devoted to modernizing manufacturing with augmented reality at the co-located Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West and PLASTEC West event in Anaheim, CA. The presentation, scheduled for Feb. 7 at 10:15 AM, is part of the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Summit. MD&M West and PLASTEC West will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center from Feb. 5 to 7, 2019.
December 18, 2018 – Greg Nichols:
The AR Cloud, ruggedized hardware, and a consumer-friendly app ecosystem. Could 2019 be the year this technology breaks out of the novelty phase?
Augmented Reality is still pretty lame. Sorry, I know that’s a broad brush to paint an increasingly diverse technology category, but that’s my professional opinion.
On the enterprise side, AR is finally showing some indications of becoming genuinely useful, particularly in sectors like field service, but adoption has been uneven. On the consumer side, it’s pretty much all face swaps and cheesy marketing “experiences” crafted for brands conned by marketing teams into thinking they’re in danger of missing a phantom wave of mixed reality adoption.
But if AR is still sputtering, it’s equally true the category has tremendous potential and is bound to change the way we interact with and interpret our world.
To get some insight on how and where AR will progress in 2019, I reached out to Scott Montgomerie, co-founder and CEO of Scope AR, a company that crafts enterprise AR solutions for various industries. Here are three areas where we can expect significant leaps forward in 2019.
HARDWARE WILL BECOME MORE RUGGEDIZED
There’s a big barrier inhibiting AR adoption right now: Many of the sectors that could most benefit from AR require workers to go into demanding environments that are brutal on hardware.
“While more and more companies are using AR glasses or headsets,” says Montgomerie, “they are still fragile and expensive. As such, users are hesitant to bring them to high risk environments, such as a construction site or an oil rig, where they could easily get broken.”
That should change in 2019. Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is expected to launch, likely adding durability to one of the most popular enterprise headsets. More than 75 percent of respondents in Digi-Capital’s Augmented/Virtual Reality Report pointed to Microsoft HoloLens as the smartglasses platform that matters most to their company.
Several other companies, including Apple, are working on AR devices as well, and it’s a sure bet they’re eyeing use cases that will require a measure of durability.
PROGRESS AROUND THE AR CLOUD WILL LEAD TO A NEW LEVEL OF COLLABORATION
Some definitions are in order. The AR Cloud is a digital copy of the real world that’s accessible to everyone, and it’s going to be really important. How important?
“The AR Cloud will be the single most important software infrastructure in computing, far more valuable than Facebook’s social graph or Google’s pagerank index,” says Augmented World Expo Founder and CEO Ori Inbar.
That statement makes sense if you can envision a future in which digital information about people, objects, and places will be derived not from Googling them using text but from training a camera at them. When a publicly accessible digital copy of the real world is complete, training an AR device at just about anything will yield a wealth of information.
There’s a race underway now to control the AR Cloud. Google, which has paved the way with its Street View efforts, is firmly in the lead, but there’s been a groundswell of activity in the area.
“The progress being made on the AR Cloud will unlock a new set of use cases and allow co-workers (or consumers) to communicate in an unprecedented way that’s more precise and location-specific,” Montgomerie told me. “Several startups who are working solely on AR Cloud development came out of stealth mode this year.”
Among the most promising efforts, the Open AR Cloud Organization was unveiled at AWE EU in mid-October.
Because an AR Cloud will be interoperable and available to everyone, it promotes multiplayer AR experiences. Two people working on an oil rig can access complementary technical and sensor data in real time, for instance, aiding enterprise collaboration. Two consumers will be able to enjoy the same AR experience on different devices, bringing a social aspect to a technology that’s been single player so far.
2019 IS THE YEAR IN WHICH WE’LL SEE THE LAUNCH OF THE INDUSTRY’S FIRST PRACTICAL CONSUMER APPLICATIONS
Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore debuted in the second half of 2017. That timing is important, because it means developers and startups have now had enough time to get their feet wet with the technology and gauge market response to begin producing meaningful consumer apps.
“About a year and a half after the original Apple App store launched, developers finally learned how to leverage a touch screen to build engaging and useful user interfaces, and app development exploded,” explains Montgomerie. “AR app development requires a whole new way of thinking. Much like the iPhone’s user experience required a transition from mouse-and-keyboard interaction to touch, AR experiences require a new method of interaction.”
Fortunately, Montgomerie believes developers are and consumers alike are becoming fluent in these new modes of technology interaction.
“We’re starting to see the signs that mobile AR is following the same growth trajectory as mobile apps.”
If that’s true, expect the technology to finally escape the doldrums of face swaps and tacky brand promotions in the year ahead.