Skylight R5

Enterprise wearable software

Smart Software for Smart Devices

Skylight R5 is generally available now.

The Highlights:

For Skylight R5 we added important new features to what was already the leading enterprise wearable software platform.  With Skylight your users are hands-free and your business operations are fully connected.

Workstreams:  a new Skylight work management system that gives each user the instructions, content and help they need for their job.  Expert workers can scan their job and get to it fast.  Novice workers can drill down when then need it so it’s done right the first time.

Smartwatches:  get your Skylight workstreams, help, notifications and checklists on smartwatches.  You only need one platform for your business – many devices and many scenarios.

Voice:  work hands-free using voice navigation, search and commands.  Fast and efficient interactions, online or offline.

The Details:

We’re fortunate to have leading companies adopting Skylight and a bunch of passionate users and partner developers who provide us with ideas and recommendations. This feedback loop is one of the powerful drivers of our product planning and engineering cycles. With Skylight R5, we’ve tapped into this feedback goldmine and created the most powerful version yet.
With this release you will see a revolutionary work-management system called Workstreams, support for smart watches, an advanced voice processing system, improvements in how you authenticate with back-end systems, and enhancements to image-capture quality.
At the very heart of Skylight is helping people do their jobs faster and with higher quality results. One of the things we’ve recognized is that the types of jobs people are using Skylight for are really varied with often very complex workflows, and even for the same job, people may need different things to help them work their best.
In R2 we added various types of task responses and multiple choice questions to provide more input to the add-in to enrich the possible scenarios we could support. In R3 we added the work-space toolbar to simplify and improve the user interactions. In R4 we added offline, so you can work disconnected when you are out in the field or at a customer location.
In R5 we’ve completely redesigned the ‘getting work done’ experience in Skylight with Workstreams. These are unbounded task lists which have embedded actions, icons and instructions. You can attach subordinate streams to drill into details when needed, you can branch them based on user choices or externally driven data, you can use them online or offline, use them on glasses or watches, and you can append/change items on the list based on the context of the user and the work.
With Workstreams, we’ve made giant strides in:
  • Visibility: We provide visibility to the user to see the complete workflow they are facing. A lot of times a quick scan of the full scope of work is enough, especially for a proficient or expert user. They can see at a glance the steps and actions available for their work, and if they need to drill down for details they can. The user can navigate and interact at the right level of granularity that is most helpful for them.
  • Hierarchy: We also accommodate different hierarchies of work. Skylight can map your current activities and build the work orders, tasks, steps, etc., that are maintained in your existing business systems like SAP, Salesforce, Microsoft and Oracle.
  • Flexibility: We support users having more than one set of tasks they need to accomplish, as well as account for ordered/unordered work. We also need to recognize that work encompasses both content as well as actions – both concepts live together at the same level of the UI.
  • Fast and Simple: Much of our user’s work is frequently repetitive. So, above all, it needs to be intuitive, responsive and fast for the user. Skylight is designed so it doesn’t get in the way of people doing their work.
Smart watches
At APX we believe that wearable devices of all sorts have a role to play in the wide range of today’s unconnected industrial work scenarios: Smart glasses, smart watches, motion trackers, mobile audio systems, wearable cameras, smart badges, smart connected tools, and so on.  And we are building Skylight to be the enterprise software platform for all these wearable devices.
With previous releases of Skylight we enabled solutions that run on five different types of glasses, incorporated motion trackers, laser scanners, location beacons and other peripherals. This release will add smart watches to Skylight.
These new devices are a great option for scenarios where you need notifications and quick task guidance using Workstreams.  So if you are getting work orders on the factory floor, or service checklists out in the field, or material handling expedite notifications, then maybe smartwatches are the right device to consider.  The initial Skylight support for smart watches will be for Android Wear devices, with Apple Watch coming soon.
Voice System
With R5 we made a lot of new investments in our voice processing system. This is a key way of interacting with Skylight in situations where you need to be completely hands-free.
We implemented this system to do voice command and control, to implement voice driven short-cuts and for selection among large lists. Customers get these benefits online or offline, on-premise or cloud, and do not need to purchase or implement any additional software – it is all inside Skylight.
Directory Integration
Enterprises don’t want to have multiple redundant user and credential stores to manage. They want to use what they already have. A key ‘IT check box item’ is to integrate with Active Directory to populate (and sync) users and groups as well as to authenticate users with enterprise credentials. With R5, we’ve implemented claims-based authentication to enable this approach.  For customers who need two-factor authentication or geo-fenced security perimeters for their wearables we can do that too.
Image Quality
One of the most critical and used features of Skylight is POV video sharing with remote colleagues. Sometimes just seeing what is going on in the environment is enough. But the nature of a lot of these cases will involve remote verification, compliance and help where they need to see more fine-level details of the user’s work.
There are external limits to the hardware camera itself and network conditions that affect the live video quality of course. Nevertheless, this is a challenge we continue to chip away at. In R2 we implemented time-lapse photos. In R3 we implemented one way video to preserve bandwidth. In R4 we did some image resolution enhancements. In R5 we built a new webRTC communications stack to optimize the underlying protocols and performance. In addition we enable users to capture high-res photos while you are in the midst of a video call. Feedback we’ve heard from this approach has been positive – you get the context from seeing the live video and you can ‘drill in’ with a high-res photo on the specific item you are concerned about.
We’re proud of what we built with Skylight R5 and especially the great response we’ve heard from users and customers already.    Please reach out to us if you’d like to learn more.