Augmented reality software firm Upskill announced new first-time investors in Accenture Ventures and Cisco Investments along with $17.2 million in new financing, signaling that AR is being seen as ready for workplace productivity gains.
Upskill, maker of the Skylight AR platform, already counted Boeing HorizonX and GE Ventures among its investors. Skylight provides a way for enterprises to import their data to use in an augmented reality context, supporting a wide variety of smart glasses such as Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens. Upskill describes its investors as strategic.
To that end, Upskill and Accenture also announced they’ll be working together. Accenture’s consultancy wing will tap Upskill’s platform for its own “Extended Reality” and “Industry X.0” groups.
That’s in line with previous investors also making business ties to Upskill. In April 2017, Boeing launched an innovation cell as it made its investment. Prior to that, GE first deployed Skylight-powered headsets following a Wearables Challenge issued to its employees.
Cisco didn’t announce any business tie-ins to Upskill just yet. But in a blog post, Amit Chaturvedy, lead of the global investment practice for Internet of Things at Cisco, writes a glowing view of the future where augmented reality headsets are key to business success in any industrial setting.
“Imagine being able to wear something that makes you more efficient and productive at your job. This might sound like science fiction, but with Skylight, it’s reality. The software operates on AR-enabled smart glasses and presents as a simple, intuitive software interface that’s visible in a worker’s line-of-sight,” he writes. “Hands-on workers can receive instructions, live remote support, complete tasks faster, make fewer mistakes, and update records in real-time while remaining hands-free. As a result, Upskill’s customers have seen significant improvements in worker onboarding and productivity, and reduction in error/accident rates.”
Upskill says that 2018 will be a pivotal year for the company. The fundraising is now post-series B financing. It claims to have tripled its client base over the past twelve months, which also saw it release a new version of the Skylight AR platform.
It says that a self-service feature that allowed clients to create their own AR workflow and integrate their data boosted usage by six times.