Over the past ten years, Linköping based XMReality has gone from a small research company to a Software-as-a-service enterprise by offering their customers a high tech augmented reality solution.
Through the eyes of an expert
What do you do when the machine you are working with doesn’t work and you are alone? Don’t you wish somebody would just tell you what to do and how to fix it?
With XMReality Remote Guidance™, you are never really on your own. The solution means having an expert standing right beside you in situations when you need guidance and direction. As Futura, one of XMReality’s customers, puts it: ‘you can literally see through your customer’s eyes. This solution breaks down the wall between you and your customer’. Thanks to its augmented reality technology, XMReality can offer remote guidance through streaming video from your location to the expert in real time using a mobile device, e.g. smart glasses.
As opposed to virtual reality, where everything you see is fictional, is augmented reality a way of visualising digital information through reality. If you enter a room, you still see the room as it looks in reality but you might also see a digital thermometer displaying the temperature in the room and adding value to your reality.
For anyone who has played Pokémon Go, this is a familiar concept. Through the same technique, XMReality uses augmented reality to impose gestures onto the user’s view of the real world.
A journey of endurance
In 2007, XMReality was founded by researchers at FOI (Swedish Defence Research Agency). One of their very first projects was to find a way of disarming a mine in an efficient way through remote guidance. The original motivation behind the project was to avoid sending people to war zones but they quickly realised the system could be implemented for the reparation of vehicles and machinery.
The experience of working in extreme conditions has laid a strong foundation for the company.
“We come from a background working in the worst circumstances possible,” says Johan Castevall, CEO at XMReality since January 2015.
“We have worked with patchy internet connection, poor light and difficult weather conditions – all under extreme time pressure. This is something we bring with us on our journey going forward.”
XMReality’s focus is now on the industrial service providers with software as their core business
“Previously, we offered our customers our own hardware solution because we were so early that there really weren’t any efficient smart glasses available. But now that market has taken off, and there are several vendors offering high quality glasses, e.g. ODG. The evolution of the smart phones and tablets has made it possible to use our software on such devices as well,” says Johan.
A couple of years ago, the development accelerated further to separate the hardware from the software.
Today, XMReality Remote Guidance is hardware agnostic and can be used on any Android, iOS, or Windows device. The company is working with the manufacturer of smart glasses although they also offer their own models.
It was a win-win solution for a both financial aspect and in terms of respecting personal life. This is not just about money, it is about people as well.
XMReality’s willingness to listen to the demand of their market and efforts into product development seems to be paying off. Transport giant Bombardier is one of their content clients.
A situation occurred when a train had broken down and an expert was needed at the scene. Only, the broken down train was in the United Kingdom and the expert had just gone on paternity leave in Stockholm. As he didn’t want to leave his family to travel to the UK, Bombardier sent the smart glasses to the UK and the following day the Stockholm based expert (and new father) was able to guide his British colleagues via XMReality. In addition to avoid being forced to leave his family behind, the solution meant that Bombardier saved a total of 20 000 SEK.
“It was a win-win solution for a both financial aspect and in terms of respecting personal life. This is not just about money, it is about people as well,” says Johan.
Another benefit of XMReality’s software is less impact on the environment, as the remote guidance solution helps avoid unnecessary travelling.
In addition, older workers with unique competences can work part-time from home and share their knowledge thanks to XMReality. Younger people, who might have a passion for gaming, get the opportunity to work with high tech solutions in service professions.
“It can help even out generation gaps in different industries,” says Johan.
The vast majority of XMReality’s clients is currently in field service and aftermarket service, but Johan sees large potential in expanding their offer to other industries and uses.
Industrial companies are looking for digital solutions to improve their service offer and increase their revenue. XMReality’s clients can offer a solution to their customers as added value to their existing service offer.
One example of this is Bosch Rexroth. They offer the remote guidance solution with their own branding, and sell it to their customers who can download the app and receive real time instructions from Bosch’s experts.
XMReality works with Awapatent on their IP strategy as a crucial part of their business model.
“Our IP strategy is mostly preventative at this stage: if something comes up, we know how to deal with it in an efficient and active way. We are looking to expand into international markets and Awapatent has been an excellent advisor to help us spot business opportunities from an IP perspective.”
Since April 2017, XMReality is listed on Nasdaq. The company has investors to ensure growth and help spreading their business globally. As for the future, Johan is optimistic.
“Augmented reality is exciting and very ‘hot’ right now. People show great interest in our product and we are happy to be working with some of the biggest companies out there, like Bosch and Siemens.”
For more information on XMReality, please visit xmreality.com
For IP matters, XMReality has been consulted by Ulf Willquist at Awapatent’s Linköping Office.