Konica Minolta has announced a new commitment with US-based company RealWear, a global leader in assisted reality devices for frontline workers. The partnership extends Konica Minolta’s use of its acclaimed remote visual support tool AIRe Link on smartphones and tablets for use with award-winning RealWear headsets. This is another important step by the digital workplace provider to help customers digitise their processes as part of its Intelligent Connected Workplace portfolio.
Konica Minolta AIRe Link is a remote support application that allows service specialists to see what customers see and to remotely guide them visually to fix an issue. Before the new partnership it was possible to use the application via any tablet or smartphone to which the customer received a link and could thus open the application in a browser. In this way, the problem can be solved more quickly and virtually. Remote support can also reduce travel times and costs as well as CO2 emissions.
“Our experience has shown that the majority of issues can be solved using remote visual support in combination with a smartphone. However, there are situations where the smartphone blocking one hand is an issue. That is why we decided to partner with RealWear – one of the market leaders in the assisted reality market – to add a hands-free application to our offering,” emphasises Zdenek Vrbka, Programme Manager, Intelligent Connected Workplace, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe.
Konica Minolta identified several hands-free use cases when using AIRe Link internally and in discussion with other manufacturing vendors: “For example, in one use case, an operator of a complex machine needs help with the machine configuration or a machine malfunction and needs both hands free to follow the instructions from the machine vendor. In another example, a junior field engineer is fixing a complex machine and needs advice from a more experienced colleague and needs both hands to fix the machine.” By extending AIRe Link with head-mounted wearables, customers can now use remote visual support in situations that require hands-free operations. Any user can now easily use AIRe Link on RealWear by downloading the free application from RealWear Cloud.
Since the first deployment of AIRe Link in 2020, more than 6,000 technical experts are already using Konica Minolta AIRe Link, supporting thousands of customers and frontline professionals. Of these, 40% of are external customers. One example of this is the Bruker Corporation, a global company supplying high-performance scientific instruments and high-value analytical and diagnostic solutions for molecular and materials research, as well as for industrial and applied analysis. “If we have an issue, AIRe Link allows us to immediately see what the customer sees. We can often identify or even fix the customer’s problem remotely using AIRe Link, which avoids travelling to the customer’s premises. The customer gets a solution faster, and we save travel costs and carbon emissions. It also significantly improves customer satisfaction and ensures the well-being of service staff,” said David Burian, Head of Service at Bruker.
EG.D, an energy provider from the Czech Republic, also used AIRe Link for remote visual support as part of a pilot study. “The goal of the study was to test new options of information transfer to field workers. Konica Minolta supported us on preparation, execution and evaluation of the test deployment of AIRe Link within the selected use case. The pilot study provided us with a better understanding of the possibilities of assisted reality in our company. We also gained exact data about the usage of AIRe Link by our employees. This is an important input for our discussion about the deployment options of assisted reality in our company,” emphasised David Šeda, Project Manager at EG.D.
“With the AIRe Link application running on the RealWear headset, we especially appreciate the simple connection of the technician in the field using a QR code, the high quality of the video transmission compared to some competing applications and devices, as well as the simple reporting in the AIRe Link online application. Visual navigation of the technician in the field via the AIRe Link platform is also very intuitive and we used all the functions provided, which were beneficial for our work. We are happy to cooperate with Konica Minolta, which provides high-quality products and services in the field of digital communication,” stated Tomas Gebauer from ELVAC, a certified RealWear partner.
Jon Arnold, Vice President of EMEA at RealWear, commented: “At RealWear, we understand the importance of reducing response times, minimising unnecessary customer visits and improving first-time fix rates. With Konica Minolta’s AIRe Link application on RealWear Navigator™ 500, it’s now easier than ever to provide real-time assistance to Konica Minolta’s customers.”
Konica Minolta has already received a special award for the relatively new application in 2021, when it received the Buyers Lab (BLI) 2022 Pick Award in the Document Imaging Software category from Keypoint Intelligence for AIRe Link and was rated “Outstanding Remote Support Tool”.