Since the beginning of the industrial age, manufacturers have been updating and improving the products we use every day. As those product lifecycles get shorter, manufacturers rely on companies like Microsoft to keep pace. That’s why Microsoft is focused on providing the technology solutions and services, infrastructure and robust security offerings that allow manufacturers to keep up with their end customer needs.
I’m excited to be at Hannover Messe 2017 in Germany this week, showing partner and customer solutions which empower manufacturers to be more efficient, secure, and collaborative using new intelligent and IoT technologies.
Microsoft and its partners and customers will showcase four solutions including how humans and machines work together to help alleviate risks in potentially hazardous work environments. The four solutions use Microsoft technologies such as Windows 10, Azure, Microsoft HoloLens and Surface.
Refining manufacturing with Mixed Reality
Taqtile, a leading 3D app development firm and Microsoft partner, is building cutting edge mixed reality based solutions on Windows 10 and Microsoft HoloLens to improve productivity and security in the workplace. Today, many industries such as field service work, manufacturing, and warehousing are experiencing a plateau in productivity growth as the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers shrinks while manufacturing job openings rise. As a result, we’re seeing a widening gap between the current labor force and requirements to work in these fields, which mixed reality technology can help address.
Together with Microsoft, Taqtile has developed a new Field Inspection app which is delivered through the power of Windows 10, HoloLens and Microsoft Cloud to deliver integrated 3D modeling, predictive maintenance, and inspection for the manufacturing, utilities, transportation and oil and gas industries. These industries can now better train less experienced workers out in the field as a remote expert can visually communicate step-by-step instructions.
For instance, in the oil and gas industry, a worker can quickly put on a HoloLens and search through some of the steps to fix an issue while in the field as provided by their more experienced colleagues via the Field Inspection Windows 10 app. A manager can then get an up-to-date view of their rig environment on a Windows 10 dashboard.
In another innovative use of mixed reality, global electronics manufacturing services leader, Jabil, and its consulting arm, Radius Innovation & Development, are showing how Windows 10 is improving the health care industry. The interactive display will highlight how IoT-enabled product design is giving providers a better way to design infusion devices, which doctors rely on to administer dosages of vital fluids like nutrients and medications to patients.
Using design software on Microsoft Surface Studio and the visualization capabilities of Microsoft HoloLens, the companies are armed with tools that improve collaboration and innovation in the manufacturing process. Holograms and 3D capabilities allow for product manipulation and accelerate group collaboration and design refinement prior to a product’s introduction on the factory floor.
Intuitive and transparent communication for a more productive and hands-free work day
Trekstor, a leading OEM offering a wide range of products in the areas of electronic entertainment and information technology, is introducing a new Windows 10 IoT Core based B2B commercial-grade wearable for the Industry. The TrekStor IoT wearable is cloud connected, can run Universal Windows Applications. It is as secure and manageable like any other Windows device and leverages Microsoft Azure Cloud services like Microsoft Cognitive Services.
The compact and intuitive wearable can replace a larger hand-held device in multiple line-of-business scenarios including:
- Inventory management in retail
- Building automation for guest services in hospitality
- Industrial automation in manufacturing
- Patient care in healthcare
- And several cross-industry scenarios like asset management, fleet management, and others.
The TrekStor IoT Wearable allows various functions to be reported to the right place without any communicative detours, and messages can be transmitted silently in real-time or verbally via voice messages.
The 1.54 inch TrekStor IoT wearable is both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, has plenty of storage space and has the processing power and battery life to perform its line-of-business functions. The wearable can also survive a hard day at work without scratches thanks to the soft casing and Gorilla Glass 3.
More information on this product will be available in the coming months.
Robots helping make work safer
With more than 8 million people injured on the job each year in the U.S. alone, there is demand for robots that can carry out tasks that are too dangerous or difficult for humans. These robots are expected to make critical contributions in industries, including construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, mining, infrastructure inspection, logistics, public safety, and military.
Sarcos Robotics is a global leader in the development of dexterous industrial robots for use in unstructured and unpredictable environments that augment humans, not replace them. Its Guardian line of robots significantly reduces the risk of injury and the cost of performing many of the world’s most dangerous and difficult tasks. Sarcos is collaborating with Microsoft to provide customers a Robot-as-a-Service offering, using Microsoft Cognitive Services, Azure IoT Suite, and leverages Windows 10 for the tablet controller, to create a unique opportunity to fundamentally transform the safety and efficiency of many industrial tasks around the world.
For example, the Sarcos Guardian S robot is intuitive to use and can be tele-operated from miles away using a Windows 10 tablet to reliably traverse challenging terrain including passing through narrow culverts and pipes or scale the inside and outside of storage tanks, pipes, maritime vessels, vehicles and other vertical surfaces. The robot uses a full suite of sensors and facilitates two-way real-time video and voice communications with Azure ML and Windows 10 to detect anomalies within the tanks and learn from service technicians over time.
Microsoft offers end-to-end secure IoT solutions from Windows 10 devices to Azure cloud. Companies like Trekstor are showcasing innovative potential with its Windows IoT Core based TrekStor wearable, while Sarcos takes advantage of Azure IoT to offer innovative solutions that solve manufacturing business challenges. Some examples include how to receive real-time KPI tracking while both hands are occupied in production work or how to execute dangerous tasks and keep employees safe.
Visit the Microsoft booth at Hannover Messe 2017 to check out these and other great customer and partner solutions which are revolutionizing the industry and enabling manufacturers to be more efficient, secure and collaborative. To learn more about all the customer and partner solutions being showcased at Hannover Messe 2017, check out the Official Microsoft Blog.