IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems - May 2017 - 14
Imagine a novice technician is
in the field and needs to change
a piece of equipment while it's
raining. This technician
doesn't want to read or
doesn't have access
to the user's guide.
They have smart
glasses on them
or a mobile
then they have
an expert at the
back end who,
via augmented reality, can guide the
technician in his or her
work, step by step. There
might even be a cognitive system in the back end, not a human
expert. This is just one example
where this technology can help
technical workers become more
EH: Our research is conducted
with actual customers in real
industries with real problems.
These may involve manufacturing, equipment assembly or maintenance and support. Industries
are facing several challenges.
First, it's very costly to
maintain remote systems and
support them. Our clients need
to reduce costs, for example, by
prolonging the sustainability of
their existing infrastructure and
reducing the cost of hardware.
Second, they have an aging but
expert workforce that would like
to retire. Unfortunately, the new
people coming on board may
never even see a problem that the
expert already has seen. How can
we maintain their knowledge?
How can we plan for that? How
do we keep the information and
reduce the cost of labor, travel,
time of operation and quality-
and do it very quickly and very
Think about an airplane that
may have an issue parked at a
gate. The penalty for not getting
"Say your dishwasher breaks down.
You order a part but don't know
how to install it. So instead of hiring
an expert to do it for you, how
cool would it be if you had AR
glasses that would guide you
through the process?"
-Tal Drory, senior manager, Multimedia Analytics, IBM Research
that plane airborne is huge for
the manufacturer, the airline,
the airport-everybody suffers.
The mission is to very quickly fix
a part that you have never seen
before; and to do this efficiently,
accurately and on time. Imagine
an AR system that shows you
the X-ray of the part and where
it is in the cabin, for example,
behind some panels. The system
guides you on how to disassemble the elements around the
part to replace it-all by talking
to the system, getting the entire
storyboard. Similarly, think of a
railway and fixing issues inside
the cabins, think of a server in a
data center, think of any equipment you can imagine. There's
always a problem that needs to
be solved, yet the expert is not
there. Can it be solved by inexperienced technicians? Can it be
solved quickly and accurately?
That's where we step in.
TD: You can even use this in your
own home. Say your dishwasher
breaks down. You order a part but
don't know how to install it. So
instead of hiring an expert to do
it for you, how cool would it be
14 // MAY 2017 ibmsystemsmag.com
if you had AR glasses that would
guide you through the process?
This technology is applicable
for technical operations and for
We have a very nice demo where
you enter your car with a mobile
device-an iPad, in this case-and
scan the console. You can then
see-augmented on your video
screen-instructions about how to
operate the radio, how to operate
the air conditioning. Then you can
interact with it by clicking on the
instructions and asking questions.
You no longer have to slog through
your car owner's manual. You can
simply use this application on your
mobile device to understand how
to operate your car or even interact
with it in the future.
EH: When you buy a new car
today, you may not actually
know where the window-washer
reservoir is, where to add coolant,
or how to top off your oil. I looked
for my spare tire for 30 minutes-
only to find out the manufacturer
doesn't include one.
ISM: What type of technology