A US startup has won a major contract with Shell to provide the oil and gas supermajor with augmented reality headsets for its frontline workers in 12 countries.
Vancouver, Washington-based RealWear, which was founded in 2016, will provide its Android-based, voice-controlled HMT-1Z1 headset to 24 operational sites, it said today.
“A new era of computing has arrived,” Michael Kaldenbach, Shell’s Digital Realities lead, said in a release: “Just as laptops and mobile phones are standard for desk workers, voice command and augmented reality for wearable computers will become commonplace for field staff in our industry, driving safety and productivity.”
— RealWear, Inc (@realwearinc) April 2, 2019
The devices are being deployed through the company’s distributor Honeywell in 12 countries including the US, China, Russia, India, Germany and Austria.
They will be used across 24 operational sites.
The contract win is a stark reminder for the many major technology companies offering similar headsets that it is a competitive space – and a highly specialised one: those in the industrial sector require highly rugged devices with strong voice control.
What is the HMT-1Z1?
The device is a head-mounted one that can snap onto a safety helmet. It has a high resolution micro display just below the users line of sight that views like a 9″ tablet.
RealWare said: “[It] works with powerful software applications from our solution partners in four core categories, each optiomised for hands-free voice control.”
“Use it for remote mentor video calling, document navigation, digital workflow, mobile forms and industrial IoT data visualisation”.
The headset is waterproof, drop proof and can work in temperatures ranging from -20C to +50C, the company said. It is built on Android 8.1 with 2.0GHz 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 with Adreno 506 GPU chipset.
RealWare also described it as the world’s first commercially available device that permits field workers in “highly restricted ATEX Zone 1 C1/D1 zones to use a wearable device where potentially explosive gases are present, helping to reduce health and safety work hazards.”
Andy Lowery, Cofounder and CEO, RealWear: “This vote of confidence by Shell marks a turning point for the 2.7 billion deskless workers globally who increasingly require the same connectivity as those who sit behind a desk.”