The 8th Enterprise Wearables Technology Summit (EWTS) took place this year in four virtual and in-person sessions every Wednesday throughout October (6-27 October). EWTS is the longest-running event focused on wearables and applications within business and industrial environments. The event covers a variety of wearables, including aR/AR/VR/MR (collectively, “XR”) headsets, glasses, body-worn sensors and exoskeletons.
This year’s event was attended by over 1,200 professionals specializing in innovation, operations, training, and other enterprise functions. Insights were shared by end users, and the latest immersive and wearable technology solutions were presented. This year, EWTS was focused on the growing maturity of enterprise wearables and the continued impact of COVID-19 on the industrial workforce.
Industrial wearable technology is used in a wide range of industries from construction, to healthcare and real estate. Many of these industries had representatives at presentations conducted throughout the event.
- The industries covered at EWTS 2021 (Image source: BrainXchange.com)
The wearable-specific applications presented at EWTS 2021 focused on a variety of use cases. As wearable technology becomes more widely adopted, the areas of the business where it is being used has diversified quite rapidly.
- Use cases covered at EWTS 2021 (Image source: BrainXchange.com)
Presenters and Attendees
Over the four sessions there were over 120 presenters, including Rama Oruganti, Chief Product Officer at JourneyApps partner RealWear. Companies from around the world were represented, including many on the Fortune 1000.
- Companies represented by presenters and attendees at EWTS 2021 (Image source: BrainXchange.com)
On the opening day of the event, the keynote address was given by Mike Campbell of PTC. Among the topics that he covered were connected worker strategies, high-value AR use cases, and quantifying the real-world value of AR investments. The keynote was followed by a panel on getting started, getting support, piloting, deploying, and scaling. A number of large companies were represented on the panel, including TeamViewer, Wendy’s, Porsche and Medtronic.
Next, a panel led by AREA Executive Director Mark Sage discussed the question “What’s required of enterprise-grade wearables and applications?” The members of the panel talked about human-centered design, UX/UI in industrial environments, content creation, and more.
The focus then turned to security and integration, with a number of enterprise IT and security professionals discussing best practices and workarounds for integrating XR into your organization and legacy systems. The final panel of the day was moderated by CBT’s Sean McCoy. Companies such as Raytheon, Novartis and Caterpillar were represented in the discussion on emerging technologies like AI and robotics and the value it could unlock when combined with wearables and XR.
The second session of the conference started with a look at XR applications, and the program breaking out into different tracks The red track met to discuss remote support and augmented work instructions. Next, CBT’s Blake Chavis and Lonnie Ludwig spoke about integrating wearables into impactful IIoT solutions.
On the green track, representatives from BP, NASA, JPL, and Gulfstream Aerospace discussed XR visualization and a case study on the use of XR throughout the NASA mission lifecycle.
Later in the day, the red track switched their focus to training. They discussed the ecosystem Lenovo is creating to propel AR forward. Ken Hubbell (Wells Fargo) discussed immersing learners in virtual environments to bring about real behavioral change.
The green track picked it up again with a discussion on XR Marketing & Sales, with the topic then turning to innovating device training with AR and today’s AR market in general. The week’s session ended with a look at the journey of State Farm’s first production AR experience.
Week 3 kicked off with presentations on how Gulfstream designed a HoloLens 2 app from the ground up, and then how Fortune 100s are implementing XR at scale. Then, TeamViewer’s Hendrik Witt presented a picture of the fully digitalized workplace.
The remainder of the day, things were broken down by industry, starting with Manufacturing (Red Track) and AEC (Green Track). First, the red track discussed the connected factory of the future. Medtronic then did a presentation on how they cut onboarding time in half. On the green track, the discussion turned to XR visualization, some current and future XR projects at Jacobs, and then a view at the AR universe at Hershey’s.
Later in the day, the red track shifted focus to Utilities, Energy & Field Services. A host of leading oilfield services companies discussed the pandemic-era issues that they are facing in the field. The green track then focused on logistics, led in the discussions by industry leaders from DHL, XPO, FedEx, and others.
The final week of the conference began with a real-time demonstration of the training tool used by KLM Cityhopper, and a lesson from INVISTA in developing AR without developers. The final keynote of the conference was given by Debjani Panda of Guardhat, about body-worn wearable opportunities in enterprise. Representatives from Altria, Air Canada, CVG, Spirit Aerosystems, and DPR shared first-hand experiences of various wearables.
Next, Evergy’s Rayna Brown joined Kenzen’s Phillip Davis and Michael Prewitt for a case study about the power of heat monitoring in utilities. The focus then turned to the state of industrial exoskeletons, with representatives from companies such as AWS, GM, and Cargill presenting real-world use cases and standards.
Following this, Makusafe’s Tom West explained how wearables can go beyond biometrics and fitness to paint a complete picture of workplace risk. The final session of the day focused on wearable EHS applications.
EWTS 2021 provided a comprehensive look at the enterprise wearable device and application space. Wearable technology is developing so fast that new use cases are emerging every day. EWTS 2022 will take place in San Diego, CA from 17-20 October 2022.
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