Augmented reality (AR) software provider Upskill today announced the availability of its Skylight platform for Microsoft's HoloLens headset. The platform is designed to help workers in industry use cases such as maintenence and manufacturing; it can also assist workers in training exercises. The HoloLens version is now available through its Early Access program for an undisclosed price.
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Upskill has been creating wearable technology for headsets since 2010. The Skylight platform had previously been available for Google Glass Enterprise Edition and the Epson Moverio BT-350 ANSI Edition AR glasses. The release of Skylight for HoloLens marks a growing number of hardware options on which you can now use the platform. Today, Epson announced both the availability of their Moverio BT-350 ANSI Edition augmented reality glasses and the release of Skylight on Moverio AR devices.
Industrial Augmented Reality
Before delving into the announcement, it's important to first explain exactly the sort of uses AR can have in mainstream business scenarios. AR effectively superimposes graphics over your view of the real world, letting you see things such as directions, text, and 3D models of items in your surroundings. Displaying this information over your view of the world can deliver information without you having to take your focus off the task at hand.
For example, let's say you work for an energy company and you have to repair a damaged transformer. Before using AR tech, you might have had to consult a manual or someone else in your company for help to solve the problem. This would inevitably make the repair a very time-consuming and daunting task. Today, if you are wearing an AR headset equipped with the Skylight product, however, then you can find your whole workflow transformed. Relevant information about the transformer will be displayed on the headset, and that will be in your field of view as you repair the unit. An engineer back at your office, who could see what you're seeing via livestream, can circle parts on the machine to help you understand what you need to do next. You will have all of the information you need right in front of you, and in real time, which will save time and help you solve problems faster.
Skylight for HoloLens
Skylight isn't a platform you use out of the box, but more of a set of building blocks you can leverage to build AR apps that work for your business. All told, the usefulness of Skylight is about as limited as a developer's competence and imagination. It comes with a software development kit (SDK) that lets you build custom-made apps for the platform. There is also an app builder that lets companies build AR apps for the business without having to write any code. Skylight is currently used by companies in the automotive, defense, logistics, and telecom sectors.
A couple of things make the workplace application of Skylight possible. With hand gestures, users can place, move, and resize content in the real world. You can also do the same with on-display windows. The platform even supports PDF files, so you can upload, say, a technical manual and display it on the headset as well. The app-building module works in a similar fashion to many of the low-code development platforms currently on the market.
The HoloLens launch is all about the company's mission to make its product more accessible, according to Jay Kim, Chief Strategy Officer at Upskill.
"Since we started as a company, we've had an obsession with making delivery of AR applications and wearables as easy as possible," he said.
The company has been working with unnamed customers to test the solution for HoloLens and provide feedback for this newest version of the platform. As of today, Upskill is opening its Early Access program to anyone who wants to sign up for it. While this isn't a formal launch, it will serve as a chance for businesses to try out the HoloLens version.
Upskill offers no concrete pricing information for its product on its website, and that's because they say no two companies will have the same setup. Therefore, you'll need to call for custom pricing.