Last week, Ubimax and RealWear joined BMW to announce the roll out of a new AR system to all U.S. dealerships of the premium automaker. 347 BMW centers and select MINI Dealers in the U.S. are now equipped with voice-controlled, rugged RealWear HMT-1 head-mounted monocular microdisplays running Ubimax Frontline. The Ubimax software displays technical information on-demand and enables real-time remote support from BMW engineers. BMW pilots showed the new system reduces repair and maintenance times, increases workshop efficiency and ultimately improves customer satisfaction. These kinds of uses of AR are often referred to as “Assisted Reality,” to avoid confusion with many other modes of Augmented Reality.
Ubimax won against many other current BMW AR partners who currently supply AR solutions throughout the BMW’s design, manufacturing, sales and after-market systems. Ubimax had already been working with BMW for some time on assembly line support, quality assurance and documentation when it was selected by BMW to power the new AR solution for its dealers. The Frontline features used by dealers will feature work instructions and remote support, but BMW has plans for a worldwide roll out and a roadmap to utilize more features of Frontline.
Here’s how it works. Technicians at your BMW dealer connect with engineers and other experts at BMW directly via Ubimax’s hands-free remote support solution xAssist. The expert can project step-by-step technical bulletins and schematic drawings onto the display inside the technicians’ head mounted display, as well as take screenshots and enlarge images for better visibility. There’s a built-in camera for photo and video capture, and of course a powerful flashlight.
“This is a great example of how we are applying new technologies to help our technicians work more efficiently and further our commitment to offering the best possible service experience for BMW customers,” said Claus Eberhart, VP Aftersales, BMW of North America. “By solving issues faster, BMW dealers can get customers back into their cars sooner.”
“To see BMW rolling out Ubimax Frontline across the entire U.S. is another great testimony of how beneficial our technology is for the after-sales service business.” said Dr. Hendrik Witt, co-founder, and CEO of Ubimax. Ubimax Frontline software is used by around 250 companies around the globe incl. DHL, Schlumberger, Samsung, BMW, Daimler, Coca Cola, Denso, etc.
BMW is not Ubimax’s first automotive client. They’ve been a longtime AR supplier for Daimler. “We do work with automotive partners in various different use cases ranging from logistics, quality assurance to remote support, though” said Witt. “Ubimax Frontline is getting traction in the service, training and maintenance fields with xInspect and xAssist Frontline solutions especially since we launched Frontline CREATOR — an all graphical drag & drop web-based editor, that allows even the non-IT and AR expert to build own AR workflows and applications.”
Like Ubimax, RealWear has had a phenomenal year. BMW selected the HMT-1 after a period of testing out various different headsets available on the market. Andy Lowery, co-founder, and CEO of RealWear, says “BMW, Ubimax, and RealWear have formed an ideal team to lead the digital transformation of automotive servicing. RealWear is proud to see HMT-1 on the path to become a standard part of the automotive technician’s tool belt thanks to leaders like BMW and Ubimax.”
Realwear is having a great year. According to the company, year over year growth is 500%. In only two years RealWear has already captured 40–50% market within dangerous environments such as in factories or for outdoor uses such as field services. It shipped its first product RealWear HMT-1 in September, 2017. RealWear just won an Auggie Award at AWE 2019 for “best headworn device.” Colgate-Palmolive and Shell also are deploying RealWear HMTs..