11 October 2016

Atlantic Bridge see the big opportunity in Wearables & Augmented Reality

Last week, along with our partners and friends the Westcott we announced a $6m investment in Ubimax, the leading provider of Wearable and Smartglass systems for desk-less workers. Along with the Westcotts we have been investing in the wearable and augmented reality space for quite a few years now and we would like to think we have developed a level of expertise in that time. Recent successful investment such as Metaio (acquired by Apple May 2015) and Movidius (acquired by Intel September 2016) demonstrate that the technology has reached a level of maturity to enable more widespread adoption, in particular for enterprise applications.

As we see the core smartglass and wearables technology develop and proliferate our investment in Ubimax is driven by the belief that as the technology becomes more ubiquitous there will be a need for an enterprise grade suite of applications to ensure that the technology delivers the promise of increased productivity, reliability and safety to desk-less workers.

When we first met the Ubimax founders Hendrik, Jan and Percy it was obvious that not only were they a group of incredibly talented and hard-working individuals who had a unique understanding of the enterprise smartglass sector but also that this knowledge was rooted in a deep pragmatism and practicality. This is not a group of futurists developing tools that will only deliver once smartglasses are ubiquitous and as common as mobile phones or laptops are today. The Ubimax software suite is deployed today in real world use cases, delivering vertically specific solutions to more than 100 customers such as BMW, VW, Daimler, DHL and Samsung.

We tried these solutions for ourselves when we visited the team at their Bremen R&D centre. It was pretty obvious that applications such as xPick, xMake, xAssist and xInspect are going to revolutionise how Warehouse Operatives, Field Engineers and other desk-less workers perform routine tasks. With the constraints of needing both hands free at all times, many of these tasks today are still done in more or less the same way they have been for the past 100 years or so. Smartglasses and other Wearables are a game changer for these workers who will benefit from the increased efficiency and productivity that us desk bound workers have taken for granted for so long.

Taking xPick as an example, it is designed to be used in a warehouse environment by pickers wearing smartglasses. With both hands free, xPick can direct the pickers to the exact location of the item to be picked. Picking a group of items, the worker is automatically directed in the most efficient manner around the warehouse, saving on shoe leather. Cameras mounted on the smartglass automatically record the item being picked (and register if the incorrect item was taken). All this data is seamlessly streamed back to the warehouse management system enabling advanced analytics to be performed without the need for tedious report filling. The intuitive user interface including gesture and voice control ensures that user acceptance is very high and training requirements are kept to a minimum.

Expect to see more additions to the Ubimax software suite in the future as this investment will enable an expansion of the R&D and product development. In addition, we expect to strengthen the commercial team in key markets in the US and Europe. The desk-less future is here and it’s powered by Ubimax!