RealWear announced that Mace Group, a consultancy and construction firm deployed RealWear’s assisted reality wearable computers running voice-enabled Microsoft Teams. RealWear is a developer of hands-free head-mounted wearables and says the development paves the way forward for the construction industry.
Throughout this pandemic, the voice-activated RealWear HMT-1 wearable device has enabled workers and clients to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It also reduces carbon footprint via using the device for remote inspections during the construction process.
A new safer way to work
Mace works on a number of construction projects both in the UK and across the globe. When the pandemic hit and travel restrictions came into effect, Mace organised a new and safer way to inspect buildings. To operate as effectively and as safely as possible under seemingly indefinite social distancing restrictions, it needed a solution. A solution that would enable inspection work to still be carried out but with minimal people onsite than normally permitted.
RealWear’s assisted reality head-mounted wearable computers require only a single site inspector to be physically present. Others team members can ‘view’ the site clearly and remotely from their own location. This is achieved via a feed that streams from the innovative headset directly to the viewer’s handheld or laptop computer. The technology negates the need to physically travel to a site. At the same time delivering on Mace’s requirement for its workforce to be fully connected through remote collaboration. Furthermore, the deployment has banished the logistical and planning complexities of trying to coordinate the diaries of several site inspectors to be present at the same time on the same day. Since the completion of the deployment this month Mace has been able to reduce in-person site visits. Its Façade team has seen a 75% reduction in travel. This resulted in a reduction in carbon emissions. In addition, freed up staff time to be more productive during the course of their day.
Improvements in decision-making process
“With its willingness to embrace the future, it’s appropriate that Mace is at the head of the curve within the construction industry with respect to deploying wearable technology,” commented Phil Sedge, Head of Facade, Mace Group. “Since the deployment, we have seen improvements in the decision-making process, and we’re able to share real-time information instantaneously. The technology has enabled us to reduce the number of staff travelling to site. Without any compromises to the quality of our work. The time saving and environmental benefits deliver further advantages,” Sedge added.
“RealWear’s reinvestment back into product development has impressed us, which means that the foundations of this technology are future proofed. We only wish we had deployed it sooner,” Sedge added.
Mace selected RealWear’s purpose built, voice enabled HMT-1 over other solutions available in the market, including smart glasses. The RealWear headsets met Mace’s requirements for no compromises on safety. Hands-free operation and the ability to clip to the side of hard hats. Its other requirements included durability and functionality at the right price point.
Utilising out of the box features
The deployment began in June 2020. RealWear’s technical partner, SystemActive worked with Mace’s IT team to create a bespoke operating system for the HMT-1. This enabled the use of many out-of-the-box features for collaborating with clients and colleagues who were not physically present on site. Once the operating system was set up, the wearable headsets arrived on site and were ready to use. Training from both RealWear and SystemActive included on-boarding sessions to bring Mace’s personnel up to speed. Training was required on how to log on to video conferencing and join meetings. In addition to a walkthrough of the functions of the camera and video stream.
“RealWear’s HMT-1 is purpose built for productivity. Even in extreme environments due to its ruggedness, durability and functionality,” said Jon Arnold, VP of Sales, RealWear Inc. “With software updates to come in March that will further improve the user experience, the HMT-1 is set to be a central part of Mace’s workflow, both now and in the future,” he added.
Mace plans to increase the 150-unit over the next few months as it ramps up deployment of RealWear’s HMT-1 globally. The company has recently procured more units to go out to one of its sectors in Peru. To help with monitoring of a project and its various phases, including safety inspections. It has also increased awareness through its supply chain who have started to adopt the technology.
Enterprise Times: What this means for business?
Popular thoughts on wearable technology, normally conjures up images fast-drying clothes from Back to the future films. Or alternatively smart watches and fitness tracking bands that grips the wrists of many Millennials. However, wearable technlogy also includes many practical applications such as remote health monitor devices for the elderly. Alternatively, police wearing cameras used across the globe or head-mounted displays (HMDs). Mace Construction’s adoption of RealWear device is an interesting and innovative step. It has already enabled a reduction of travel by 75% with RealWear device running Microsoft Teams by its Façade Team. Furthermore, it enables its worker to comply with social distancing and COVID-19 requirements. Inevitably, the use of wearable computers will expand into other sectors and areas of industry. This is a development, well worth watching for the future.