Masters of Pie formed in 2011 to bring our expertise in real-time technologies into the enterprise sector. Working directly with high profile end-users in automotive, aerospace and manufacturing gave us an early insight into their real-world pain points.
We soon realised that the fundamental problem which lay at the root of many of these issues was that enterprise teams lacked the ability to effectively collaborate in real-time using live, complex 3D data.
It was this universal problem that we set out to solve by building Radical.
Sharing Live Data
The Radical platform is a purpose-built framework technology for adding native real-time collaboration and immersive device support directly into legacy enterprise software packages.
The key to enabling true real time collaboration is to start where the data ‘sits’ and ensure that this original data ‘truth’ is the same for everybody when working together, no matter where they are located or what device they wish to use. This way, everyone in the team has the correct and most up to date information available.
Integration is Key
Whether it is a CAD package, PLM software, MRI scanner, robotic simulation software or a laser scanning system, many industries are becoming increasingly dependent upon spatial data types and ‘digital twins’.
These complex data formats are usually incompatible or just too cumbersome to use ‘as is’ in existing collaboration platforms such as Webex, Skype, Google docs or Slack, all built primarily for 2D data formats such as video, text or images.
Moreover, the legacy software generating the data itself is unlikely to have any in-built real-time collaboration functionality and so enterprise teams must resort to one of two methods:
- Manually export the data, followed by a painful and time-consuming reformatting process, and then manually import the newly crunched data into some type of 3rd party standalone collaboration package (this could be VR or non-VR enabled)
- Simply ignore the spatial nature of the data entirely and instead screen grab or render out 2D ‘flat’ images of the originally 3D data, for use in a basic PowerPoint presentation or similar.
Neither of these methods provide the ability for teams to efficiently collaborate using a live data ‘truth’ (i.e. the original data itself instead of a reformatted, already out of date interpretation of it) and so both methods only compound the root collaboration problem instead of helping to solve it.
Radical is integrated directly into the host software, ‘grabbing’ the original data at source, before efficiently pushing it into a real time environment which users can join using their choice of device (VR, AR, desktop, browser or mobile) for instant and intuitive collaboration. End to end encryption ensures that even the most sensitive data can be confidently shared across remote locations.
One-click, secure collaboration using live data.
A deep integration into the host package provides not only a live connection but also a bidirectional connection, meaning that users in the Radical environment are still connected to the host package running in the background.
This gives Radical distinct and powerful advantages over standalone applications as it can still gain access to core features of the host package (eg. an accurate measurement of a CAD model using vertex or spline snapping to the original B-Rep held in the CAD package, or requesting a re-simulation of a robot arm while users edit the robot’s position in the immersive environment, all in real-time).
A Bidirectional connection means that Radical can leverage the power of the host application to provide users with a data/feature-rich space in which to securely collaborate.
Alongside the collaborative framework sits the Radical toolkit, a module to allow complete customisation of the look & feel of a product built using the Radical framework.
Our customers can tweak our sample tools or create entirely new tools for use in VR, AR or touchscreen environments with the UI being completely reskinnable to resemble the host application.
Radical ‘extends’ the legacy software into the immersive space for a seamless end-user experience with no friction.
Complex data formats are usually incompatible or just too cumbersome to use ‘as is’ in existing collaboration platforms such as Webex, Skype, Google docs or Slack, all built primarily for 2D data formats such as video, text or images.
Truly Modular and Extensible
The core architecture of Radical is designed to offer our customers the flexibility to create multiple different types of products to service multiple use cases, thereby giving them the confidence that by adopting the Radical framework technology, they will be able to keep up with the pace of change in such a rapidly evolving tech landscape.
As new use cases present themselves during the shift to industry 4.0, Radical’s modularity means that customers can easily select the relevant features and functionality to continue to put out innovative new products which promptly serve the market.
Want to keep your proprietary renderer but use Radical’s powerful collaboration framework? No problem, it’s modular!
Want to build your own bespoke tools into the Radical environment? Sure, it’s extensible!
The API is easy to use and so creating products/features rapidly is no drama.
Cloud Rendering & Streaming to Mobile Devices
Rendering in the cloud for remote streaming allows users to untether their devices and go mobile. The receiving application on the device itself can be lightweight and be used to ‘drive’ a heavier cloud application which does the hard work. Radical cloud can integrate with this heavy application to render the images on the server side and then stream the result to the mobile device.
This cuts the need for any data to be present on the mobile device for efficiency (easy to send a simple browser link for collaboration) and security (no data footprint on the device).
5G technology will open up the potential to stream to immersive devices such as AR and VR, while mobile and browser-based streaming can already be achieved via Radical as frame rate requirements are lower and can be supported via 4G and current WiFi connectivity.
Enterprise Collaboration – More than just 3D data
Once you have your live 3D data flowing freely between users and delivered in real-time to a range of immersive devices, you have the fundamentals of true collaboration.
However, getting the most benefit from your digital twin means augmenting your 3D data sets using a whole host of other data types such as metadata, 2D images, real-time IIoT data pushed from the physical ‘twin’ and access to services now appearing from cloud providers to enhance cloud data storage.
This complex and evolving ecosystem offers untold benefits for Industry 4.0 but it requires seamless connectivity between disparate parts in order to fully realise its potential to revolutionise how we all work together.
This ‘collaborative thread’ is our vision for Radical.
Center of the Ecosystem
As our customers create the first wave of commercial products powered by the Radical framework, MoP continue to push toward our mission to develop Radical into a full collaborative thread technology which sits at the center of the Industry 4.0 ecosystem and beyond.
- Radical will continue to work with edge and communications providers to bring lightning fast 5G powered streaming to the shop floor, facilitating AR enabled assembly for manufacturing or remote maintenance for service engineers.
- As IIoT data streams from smart devices in the factory, Radical will be the connecting technology which overlays this data via AR glasses in the physical space (Fig 1).
- As cloud service providers build out features such as Spatial Anchoring to support ever larger physical spaces, or natural language interfaces which leverage the power of the cloud for accuracy, Radical will utilise these new services within collaborative environments rich with real-time data (Fig 2).
The Collaborative Thread
As the ecosystem continues to evolve, Radical connects the separate elements (eg. Cloud Services, IIoT, 5G, Edge Computing, Cloud Rendering and Streaming etc.) to become the essential layer which helps facilitate the shift towards industry 4.0.
Use cases which are currently under served can be addressed in a scalable fashion.
AR for Industry – Use Cases
Factory workers will have the ability to ‘dial an expert’ directly from a virtual panel on the smart factory device. This offsite expert will appear as a holographic colleague and bring with them live 3D data for that individual machine. Both users will have real-time IIoT data overlaid intuitively on the fully interactive 3D model to facilitate a more effective diagnosis/maintenance process (Fig 3).
Empowering shop floor workers with hands-free AR and detailed 3D data will dramatically improve assembly line efficiency. Radical offers an intuitive environment where product data is fully interactive.
Users can move, hide, isolate and cross-section though parts, all while using markup and voice tools to create super-efficient instructions for the assembly/disassembly of complex products. These instructions will be ‘recorded’ in Radical and delivered as holographic guides via AR directly on the assembly line.
Retiring skilled workers will be able to capture their expert knowledge thanks to the ability to record an immersive session. Before experienced engineer ‘Bob’ retires he can simply talk and walk through his operational processes in VR using interactive CAD models of his particular equipment. Radical will capture his voice, movements, model interactions and even markup, for later distribution as invaluable training material which can subsequently ‘sit’ on a virtual panel above the physical equipment in the factory.
This session capture feature (affectionately called ‘ghosting’ in the MoP development studio) will mean that a new worker will be able to watch the previously captured session in VR or AR as if ‘Bob’ was walking them through his processes in person.
Radical will help maximise the effectiveness of the training process.
In Conclusion – The Future is Now
The doubts about whether immersive technology can add any real value for enterprise teams can now be laid to rest. Radical is already in-market with our commercial partners, including some of the largest engineering companies in the world and tangible benefits are already being seen.
The wheels are firmly in motion to bring about the age of spatial computing and enterprise teams are demanding that these technologies be supported within their daily workflows along with instant access to colleagues for more effective collaboration.
The data they rely on is growing in complexity and the technology landscape is shifting rapidly as new capabilities appear in areas such as hardware and cloud connectivity almost daily.
With Radical as your framework technology, you can be sure that your software portfolios can evolve, continue to innovate and remain relevant for years to come.