iQagent: Magnifying the Practical Side of Augmented Reality for the Plant Floor
iQagent, Inc. is becoming a leader in the manufacturing industry by way of technological reform. Rather than focusing on flashy custom applications in the augmented reality scene, this company has zoomed in on what really makes a difference in processing environments: practicality. Inspired by the potential mobile apps bring to the plant floor, inventors Bob Meads and Patrick Meere drew from their expertise in software design, engineering and automation to create an app that directly address two major challenges on the plant floor: quick access to equipment resources, and communication about downtime issues with remote resources.
iQagent uses QR codes (Called Points Of Interest, or POIs) to recognize equipment the technician is working on and instantly displays relevant schematics, procedures and live process data. This feature virtually eliminates time traditionally lost while searching for these resources. Additionally, iQagent provides a holistic view of the process, combining video and audio, augmented with live process data, schematics and user annotations; users record and email the view to remote technical resources for problem analysis and resolution. One major automotive manufacturer related to Meads that an internal study indicated savings could reach $1 Million annually.
And it seems the ‘Practical Augmented Reality’ concept is paying off; early adopters of the technology include a global pharmaceutical supplier and two major automakers. iQagent was recently honored with the title of Best iPad App for Business Intelligence, Information and Reference by the 2014 Tabby/Business Awards committee.
A judging panel consisting of 20 individuals from around the world, applauded the company for its very innovative product:
‘Great idea; excellent app, and very innovative! App navigation is simple enough and camera stays on for whole time. Nice use of QR codes to access rich data. It can open sub windows and read text, resize windows etc.; able to take video, picture, annotate, email, etc. Interactions with SCADA is very nice. A lot of potential for manufacturing and/or engineering environments. It has tremendous value to the business by reacting to and addressing issues very efficiently.’
“2014 was a tremendous year for iQagent,” Meads said. “In addition to the Tabby Award, we received our second patent and saw a huge gain in sales and licensing agreements. We have recently signed on value-added resellers in the US and Europe, and are excited to see what 2015 will bring.”