From custom solutions to software-as-a-service through unique AR and VR platform for the industrial sector.
From custom solutions to a software-as-a-service solution; that is the challenge Maurice Kruse and Albert Hoekstra tackled with the Total Reality team. “The platform we are developing makes VR and AR more affordable and more widely applicable in the industry. It allows companies to add information to models themselves. This will make sharing knowledge easier and more efficient.” The Novel-T Innovate GO program supports them in their development.
The terms AR and VR call to mind games, virtual changing rooms or slick marketing campaigns. But augmented and virtual reality have so much more to offer. The Twente-based company Total Reality specializes in applications for the industrial sector. “We develop mixed-reality solutions to improve processes, make telecommuting easier and save time and money,” says CEO Maurice Kruse. For a manufacturer of seat belts, they developed an app that helps the company to set up crash tests, for example. “Coordinates of parts are shown in their correct positions through the Microsoft Hololens glasses worn by the technician. That way, they can place the right parts in their appropriate positions more quickly. As a result, they now perform seven rather than four crash tests per day for various car models.”
From hours of work to software-as-a-service
“We offer custom solutions, which require a wealth of time, are expensive, and not suitable for all companies or applications,” Maurice explains. “With the editor we are currently developing, a company can add information to a 3D model and visualize it in the physical model afterwards. The platform supports the entire industrial lifecycle, from prototyping and process optimization to training, maintenance and marketing. That is unique.” Maurice gives us an example: “Imagine, you’re producing feed machines for cows, and the user encounters a malfunction. The user can then use your app on their tablet to scan the machine. The location of the malfunction will show instructions on how to clean the machine in order to resolve the malfunction. The app serves as a sort of augmented-reality manual, which the producer can supplement with data through our platform.”
Developing a business case with Innovate GO
The idea for the new platform was born last year, when corona caused a number of projects to be put on hold. “We took the time to consider how we could strengthen our own service. The technology in this field is extremely fluid and is becoming ever cheaper to apply. This presented us with opportunities.” Before, Novel-T consultants Marike Boertien and Frank Landhuis assisted the company in adding more focus to their services. This time, Maurice and Albert made the choice to use the Innovate GO program to work on their innovative idea in a structured manner. “Over three periods of six weeks, we went from market research to a minimal viable product.”
Making the product market ready in phases
Even now, they work on their innovation at least one day a week. “We are using 2021 to make our product market ready in phases. We adhere to the Innovate GO structure in this process. For example, over the next six weeks, the first launching customer will test our platform during the assembly of a production line by a local engineer in South America.” Total Reality will also continue to offer custom solutions. “We need to do so to stay innovative. The knowledge we acquire can then be implemented in our platform. I expect that, in five years, we will have completed the switch to software-as-a-service.”
Started a field lab together
“How we go about innovation? My co-director, Albert Hoekstra, is a technology expert, and I can see the opportunities in the market. This results in great discussions and also offers a powerful combination for innovation.” In cooperation with other AR and VR companies in the area, Total Reality set up a field lab named the ‘Industrial Reality HUB’. “We share knowledge about hardware and work on new developments together. The market potential of AR and VR is so large that we do not think in terms of competition. It is better to develop together and provide a strong, area-wide front.”
Enter the market quickly
Maurice advises entrepreneurs to deliver new products to a customer as quickly as possible. “Do not keep on developing because you think your product is not good enough yet. Enter the market as quickly as possible and test your product together. That is what we are currently doing with our new platform. Customers can use it free of charge if they tell us about their experiences. That way, you can speed up the innovation process and are sure to meet the customer’s demands.”