At JourneyApps, we view site visits as crucial to understanding the needs of end-users and see first-hand the real world impact of RealWear apps built on our platform. An important part of our product development process involves observing how users interact with applications in their hands and on their heads. Direct feedback from end users often provides surprising insight.
Our team recently visited a customer on-site in the North East of the United States to gather direct feedback. The app in question was built for conducting asset condition assessments through the RealWear HMT-1 device.
The JourneyApps team, including engineers and product managers, traveled to the North East to visit a customer that conducts asset condition assessments within a sewage treatment facility. The location is a challenging work environment, with heavy machinery being operated and continuous loud noise. Many of the work areas were tested to have continuous background noise of 70 decibels, with some areas getting as high as 90 or even up to 100 decibels, pushing RealWear’s noise cancellation capabilities to the test.
This environment is a good representation of the types of areas that many of our customers work in: noisy, hot, underground and with poor connectivity. This is common for many field workers in the industrial space, which is why our platform has been optimized for building apps that thrive in these environments.
- A worker uses a RealWear HMT-1 device (Image Source: RealWear)
Objectives and Outcomes
The JourneyApps team made the site visit for three reasons:
- To test the performance of the RealWear HMT-1 in this high-noise environment.
- To train technicians how to use the HMT-1 device.
- To get technicians using their JourneyApps-built application on the HMT-1, on site.
- To gather end-user feedback.
Firstly, tests were run on the performance of the HMT-1 within the high-noise environment to demonstrate how voice commands are picked up correctly.
Secondly, technicians were shown how RealWear devices should be used and encouraged to use voice commands in high-noise areas. Different areas were included: underground, close to pumps, outside next to loud trucks, and close to other loud machinery. An important insight was that uninitiated users tend to set up the HMT-1 display right in front of their dominant eye. Unlike with smart glasses, this is not necessary — the HMT-1 boom arm should be adjusted so that the display is just under the user’s line of sight, so that it’s easy to glance at the display when necessary but the field of vision is not reduced. Lowering the boom arm has another benefit: the multiple microphones on it are closer to the user’s mouth, allowing them to pick up voice commands more clearly in high-noise environments.
Thirdly, technicians were taken through the app workflow. This customer had previously used iPads to capture the necessary data for their condition assessments, and the goal was to validate that by using RealWear and JourneyApps, required data can be captured faster, and in a safer way.
We observed that the learning curve was steep: users were completing processes much, much faster on their second and third go. Using the HMT-1 in conjunction with JourneyApps allows data to be captured faster than on an iPad, while also allowing workers to be totally hands-free. Quicker data capture means technicians can spend less time in these uncomfortable environments.
Finally, this on-site visit provided valuable information to put towards product development. We pride ourselves on quickly turning customer feedback and requests into new functionalities available on our platform. Seeing our customers use apps to complete actual jobs in the real world uncovers immediate areas where we can make changes that improve the experience for the user even more.
We are privileged to be able to visit customers on-site and to work with them to make our partnership a success. The insights we gather on these visits enable us to implement enhancements to our product, which benefits all JourneyApps customers.
JourneyApps provides a rapid way to build custom apps for RealWear® HMT, mobile and desktop. Auto voice commands are simple to set up and manage, we provide offline support out of the box, and deploying apps happens with a single click. Comes with prebuilt ERP integrations. If you are interested, please contact us to schedule a demo. You can also visit our homepage to learn more and subscribe for notifications about new blog posts.