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Saab Global
XM Reality

A new reality

4 min read

Saab’s rapid integration of XM Reality’s Remote Guidance tool is an ideal example of the agile innovation culture we need to stay competitive.

XM Reality’s Remote Guidance technology allows Saab to provide on-the-scene expert advice using augmented reality. It means an engineer in Sweden can guide a colleague or customer halfway across the world through an installation, training, maintenance or upgrade, as if they were side-by-side. 

It’s a sustainable and cost-effective solution that’s a tremendous addition to Saab’s capabilities. And it has already proved its worth in some of the company’s key international projects. 

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The roots of the project

The adoption of the tool has been driven by Anna Lundström, Business Improvement Manager.

“I’m interested in how we can use new technology, especially visual technologies,” she explains.

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“So I started a strategic initiative where a group of us looked at how other companies are using visual technologies, such as visualisation of 3D objects using virtual or augmented reality.” 

“Someone in the group had heard of XM Reality, a small company based in Linköping. We met them in 2019 and heard what they had to offer. We realised that Remote Guidance would be something that we could benefit from.”

Teamwork and the impact of coronavirus

Soon they found a project in the civil sphere to test the tool on: the modification of a training aeroplane for Cranfield University in the UK. 

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“The Cranfield project wanted to test it with the customer. We also wanted to involve other parts of Saab, so we invited our Gripen support team,” says Anna Lundström.

Then the Coronavirus pandemic came. No-one could go anywhere.

“Gripen support had a recurring planned maintenance activity in Thailand but they couldn’t travel. They needed to use local personnel to perform this test.”

“So they asked us if they could use some of the licences to guide their local operator to do the tests and have experts in Sweden decide if they could extend the flight hours. That worked really well.”

“And the designers in the Cranfield project were working from home, so they couldn’t travel either. They needed to see inside the aeroplane and liaise with people working in Sweden on modifications to the design. They’ve now used the tool several times,” says Lundström.

Thanks to this cross-functional networking, and a silver lining to the otherwise trying nature of the pandemic, proof-of-concept was firmly established in short order. 

A perfect example of innovation culture

For Kalle Eldebo, part of Saab’s innovation management team, the Remote Guidance story augurs well for Saab’s innovation culture.

“Normally when we look at buying something, we go through an extensive procurement process. But with small innovative companies offering new technologies we scale down the NDAs and the contracts. This proof-of-concept approach helps us to try something out first,” he says.

“We need to do more small proof-of-concepts like this so we can be ready to respond and keep competing. We also want more people to come to us for help with their ideas.”

Anna Lundström believes this experience is a blueprint for the future.

“When people see things can be done quickly, it improves the environment for innovation and new ideas,” she says. 

How it works:

  • XMReality Remote Guidance allows the user to see what the customer or colleague sees and guide them as if they were right by their side
  • It’s an augmented reality software that works with smart devices such as laptops, smartphones or smart glasses.
  • You can use the app to create a link and send to anyone that needs support.
  • The person you send the link to does not need to install an app or sign up. It also allows direct connection with existing XMReality users without having to send a call link.
  • The tool has image sharing, pointer, hands overlay, draw and zoom-in options and also allows the session to be recorded.
  • “It’s very simple to use. You don’t need training, you just need to start practising on it,” says Anna Lundström.

Read more about XMReality here