Robert Boers (former Oracle) joins TWNKLS as CEO

Winning awards for its innovative technologies in augmented reality (AR) and implementing these for large international clients worldwide, TWNKLS has grown quickly since its start in 2011. TWNKLS opened its doors on May 1st 2017 to Robert Boers, former EMEA Operations Leader at Oracle, welcoming him on board as CEO. Boers has vast experience leading organizational growth in the IT sector, making him a seasoned operations expert with a passion for change. As CEO, Boers will help TWNKLS into its next stage. In an interview, he tells us more about his ambitious plans for TWNKLS. 

Foto Robert Boers

What are your ambitions for TWNKLS?

We want to make AR more accessible to clients and accessible to more clients. Gerben Harmsen, Lex van der Sluijs (founders) and I identified two focus areas: achieving scalable growth and moving towards a product offer for the market. To do this, we’ve launched the TWNKLS STAR Platform.

TWNKLS STAR Platform is designed for clients that want to give their operators in the field more freedom in their work. Whether it’s a police officer, paramedic, maintenance engineer or sales rep, the AR technologies have been built to provide the operator with detailed and accurate information, quickly and conveniently. In other words, the right information at the right time and place.

TWNKLS STAR Platform is:

  • Modular: tracking, measuring and collaborative technologies can be combined to best fit the business case.
  • Flexible: direct access to new developments and the updates that are becoming available at a rapid pace in AR.
  • Compatible with multiple operating systems and devices like tablets, eyewear and mobile phones. Even detailed CAD data can be presented for viewing on small screens.
  • Seamlessly integrated with operating data from ERP, SEM, MES or other sources.
  • Sector-specific solutions in 4 areas: Healthcare, Security, Industrial and Commerce.

What do you bring to the table at TWNKLS?

TWNKLS currently serves its clients on a case-by-case basis. Each solution is tailor-made, but labor-intensive. I will create the right balance of resources within TWNKLS for establishing scalable and sustainable business processes.

At Oracle I worked on mergers and acquisitions and numerous transitional change programs such as bringing Oracle Applications from a product (license) business model to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Over the years, this has given me quite some first-hand experience at bringing about change and working with people, processes and products.

Why did TWNKLS choose you?

Gerben and Lex are clearly passionate about what they do and what they have built up at TWNKLS. As TWNKLS grew, so did their responsibilities. They recognized that they needed help to realize their ambitions. That takes courage. I’m an operations man. A better balance between technology, commerce and operations will help the company to flourish in all areas.

Why did you choose TWNKLS?

For the adventure. My last program at Oracle was the transformation to digital marketing. Though exciting, I missed the client contact. AR is a field where big players like Apple and Google are making large investments. And while TWNKLS is still relatively young, they’re at least 2-3 years ahead of the market. Unlike many others in the field, TWNKLS has a track record of delivering real AR solutions to real customers with real business benefits. I’m looking forward to further developing the dreams of TWNKLS and its clients.

How will you preserve that special TWNKLS factor?

The client focus is in the DNA of TWNKLS. No matter how the company grows – or how quickly – we will use creativity to develop AR solutions that work and that always contribute to the performance of our clients and their operators.

 

 

TWNKLS reaches out to future innovators at Night of the Nerds

On May the 16th, TWNKLS will be present at the Night of the Nerds in Eindhoven. This event is set up for high school kids to get to know the world of digital creativity, technology, and innovation. Besides AR and VR it has a host of coding, gaming, and digital arts to see and experience, as well as a host of experienced nerds to show the current state of the art.

Like every year, TWNKLS will reach out to the future innovators. At this youth-oriented event, we will hold a number of Hololens demos as well as a Hololens masterclass for students of Fontys ICT.

Night of the Nerds 2016

At TWNKLS we understand the importance for high school kids and students to make a well-informed decision when choosing their educational path. Everyone at TWNKLS has been a student and made the choice to do things that inspire and excite them, and make our eyes “sparkle and twinkle”. We understand which choices students have to make and the things they have to take into consideration. Therefore, we reach out to high school kids and students in the process of making these choices. By participating in Night of The Nerds for example.

Night of the Nerds will take place at the Klokgebouw in Eindhoven, and will begin at 12:00 till 21:00 hrs.

Free entrance

Feel free to come by and visit us! To get your free tickets, use code RELATIES.

 

 

Client in the spotlight: WEMO

When shopping for the best Augmented Reality (AR) solution, no two clients are the same. However, they often do have similar questions and concerns. Here, we share the journey of one of our clients, WEMO, before they decided to work with TWNKLS.

Together with WEMO, specialist in designing and building high output machine lines for forming sheet metal into an end or a half product, TWNKLS created an application for HoloLens that enables a machine operator to independently run a full production facility that consists of one or more WEMO production lines. Paul Hoekstra, Managing Director of WEMO, tells us their customer journey and shares his insights. 

What challenge were you facing at WEMO when you contacted TWNKLS?

At WEMO, only a trained machine operator can work with our line, even with our current simple human machine interface. Some of our clients, for example in China and the USA, regularly face the problem that their machine operators suddenly leave the company for a higher paying position elsewhere. It is costly and time-consuming to hire a new machine operator and train them to work with the interface. To address this problem, WEMO was focused on how to make their human machine interface so that anyone could operate it. In other words, we were looking for a way to make the work of the end-user (the operator) as easy and efficient as possible. Finally, in order to apply industry 4.0, we needed more than just a nice marketing term; we needed a real pragmatic solution!

What made you decide to look externally for a new solution?

WEMO strives to continuously innovate in order to expand on our unique selling points and to stay ahead in the market; we invest 5% of our revenues each year in innovation. Furthermore, we wanted to bring our service up to an even higher level, looking not only at the client request and the technology, but also at the needs of the end user. How can we make the work of the operator easier to improve efficiency? It is important to us to keep a focus on people and in this way to enable the human and the machine to learn from each other.

How did you make the decision to work with TWNKLS?

We first looked at who in the AR world was capable of taking something that already exists – our human machine interface with additional service options – and converting that into a holographic operator system by using augmented reality. That narrowed it down to just a few candidates worldwide, including TWNKLS. Besides the fact that TWNKLS is a Dutch company with very good references, there was also a personal click between the colleagues at WEMO and TWNKLS. Finally, we both operate in the highest segment of our own technology.

How do you find the collaboration with TWNKLS?

Perfect: we can read and write together, we share the same DNA and we are both motivated by the same drive and passion. Also, we are challenging each other constantly.

What advice would you give to others thinking about implementing augmented reality for their organization?

Think carefully about what you want to use it for beforehand. Spend enough time setting up the right scope. It can be overwhelming having so many possibilities to choose from with AR.

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A safer, more secure world with Augmented Reality

Recently, TWNKLS teamed up with the Dutch police and the Delft University of Technology to have a closer look at how AR can add value in the domain of safety and security; and with very positive results! Here we share some of the lessons we’ve learned.

Safety & security

From saving lives to safeguarding sensitive information, there is a lot at stake for operators in the safety and security industries. The slightest error can have grave consequences, and operators rely heavily on the tools available to them. That’s where TWNKLS comes in. Before diving into the technology and possible AR solutions, we had to identify the areas that needed the most attention.

Case study: police – challenges of the traditional approach

Simply stated: field agents report to the office at the start of their shift for briefing. They make a plan for the day and then go out into the field to take action. Any updates on new incidents received at the control center are communicated simultaneously to all field agents. An agent in the area, when available, will respond as soon as possible for more detail. At the end of their shift, the field agents report back and are required to document the various incidents of the day from memory.

In this example, we see challenges in three main areas: (1) coordination of agents in the field by a centralized control center, (2) communication of new incidents and (3) delayed reporting.

Advantages of AR for safety & security:

TWNKLS is currently developing a new AR system to address these types of challenges. To do so effectively, we are building on 5 years of scientific findings from the Delft University of Technology in this area. The AR system offers the following advantages:

  • More informed decision-making due to detailed situational awareness.
  • Action made possible in much shorter time frames with instant information exchange.
  • Greater accuracy with high-precision tracking and minimal margin of error.
  • Improved collaboration between distributed individuals and teams.
  • Increased common understanding among people with different knowledge and expertise with visual communication tools.
  • Quicker reporting and less paperwork with accurate and instant documentation.

Lessons learned

Three lessons that stood out from working with AR in the safety & security domain:

EMPOWER THE INDIVIDUAL: The best way to coordinate a large number of field agents is to empower them to do it themselves. Provide them with the right information at the right time, as well as the tools to take action directly. Enabling them to collaborate requires creating a common understanding and a common language for them to communicate effectively.

MINIMIZE PERIPHERAL TASKS: AR can be used to minimize the amount of time spent on tasks that are related to the core work being done. For example, by making reporting easy and instantaneous for the field agents, more time can be spent on the investigative work needed to make decisions and take action.

MAKE CHANGE FAMILIAR: Integrating the technology into the existing way of working leads to faster, more natural adoption of a new system. Our technology is designed to work with a range of devices including smartphones, tablets and eyewear, depending on what is most practical. One more reason the end users were enthusiastic about the AR system is that it’s a lot of fun to work with, too!

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The core technologies

-       High-precision tracking with TWNKLS’ state-of-the-art SLAM system.

  • Accurate GPS tracking both outdoor and indoor with a miniscule margin of error,
  • Real-time location & mapping for better coordination and communication between various remote and field agent,
  • 3D scanning for accurate reconstruction of a room or landscape,
  • Effective filtering of information for field agents based on their location so they receive relevant and timely information.

-       Remote AR collaboration.

  • Real-time audio-video feed for multiple remote parties,
  • Visual cues and annotation can be shared directly on the screen,
  • Notes and images can be saved directly for documentation purposes.

Future of collaborative AR

Looking ahead, we see a future for collaborative AR that incorporates Empathic Computer technology. Addressing the challenges of working remotely, this technology enhances empathy among distributed users when engaged in collaborative AR shared experiences.

 
You can also read this article titled ‘Dutch Police discovers an ar system to identify criminals’ which was published on Infinityleap.

TWNKLS at the Augmented World Expo (AWE) USA 2017

From May 31 till June 2, the 8th Augmented World Expo (AWE) will take place in Santa Clara, USA. AWE is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to augmented reality (AR), virtual reality and mixed reality. TWNKLS will be present with a booth where we will showcase successful implementations of AR with regard to training and instruction, maintenance & repair, remote expert and measure & visualization. TWNKL’s founder Gerben Harmsen will be presenting some case studies concerning Industry 4.0. and dr. ir Dragos Dactu will give a presentation on how augmented reality can enhance security.

About AWE

This year’s conference and expo will showcase speakers, startups and organizations who are using AR & VR to drive economic growth, encourage empathy and collaboration, democratize healthcare and education, and promote sustainability in the world.

The Auggie Awards

The Annual Auggie Awards have been the most recognized industry AR & VR awards in the world since 2010. Now in it’s 8th year, the Auggies continue to showcase the best-of-the-best in the augmented world. TWNKLS has been nominated in the category ‘Best Enterprise Solution’ with the WEMO Operator System. Public voting is now open. On June the 1st the winners will be announced at AWE USA 2017.

High-res image WemoLens3

Augmenting Collaboration

Currently, TWNKLS is focusing on something special: collaborative AR. This enables people to work together from anywhere in the world, supported by each other and by AR technology. Whether for healthcare sector, security or for technical maintenance, the core is helping people to collaborate and solve problems, and to present them with the right information at the right place and time. During the AWE, TWNKLS will– for the very first time – be presenting to the public their collaborative AR platform. In short, a true premiere.

 

TWNKLS nominated for Dutch Interactive Award

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TWNKLS is nominated for a Dutch Interactive Award, category B2B with the WEMO Operator System case. Together with WEMO, specialist in machine building and machine components, TWNKLS created an application for HoloLens which lets an operator run a full production line by himself.

The Dutch Interactive Awards are the prizes for the best interactive work. The nominations were announced April the 5th and the ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 1st, 2017 at the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam.

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TWNKLS HoloLens workshop @ MaintenanceNEXT

From 11 to 13 April, MaintenanceNEXT 2017 will be the epicentre of the maintenance industry. This industry event will focus on employment, innovation and value creation in maintenance and repair. TWNKLS will be present during this event: the 11th of April we will hold an Operator 2.0 HoloLens and Google Tango workshop where our experts let you experience augmented reality for yourself.

MaintenanceNEXT logo

Operator 2.0

Together with WEMO, specialist in machine building and machine components, TWNKLS created an application for HoloLens which lets an operator run a full production line by himself. WEMO expects to be 35% faster, and to make 90% fewer mistakes. We will hold a do-it-yourself workshop where you can be the operator and experience augmented reality for yourself. You can sign-up to join our workshop.

We are looking forward to meet you and talk to you about our maintenance enabling technology!

 Bezoeker workshop

AR: interaction between humans and knowledge

‘Mastering assets; partnering for performance’ is the theme of this year’s MaintenanceNEXT. Mastering Assets goes a step further than simply ‘managing’ assets. In order to help a client as quickly and efficiently as possible maintenance professionals need full control of the installations. By supporting those employees with advanced technology and relevant AR lets them excel in their field. That is exactly what AR is about: the interaction between humans and knowledge.

Decrease downtime

Using AR can make your workers’ daily work easier and help them solve problems in a quick and efficient way. Let a remote expert see what you are seeing and guide you through the process in a visual, step by step way. All you need is a normal phone or tablet. This method has been proven to not only work more effectively, but can also shorten the time spent solving a problem. Less downtime, less money wasted, happier users.

Practical information workshop

Don’t forget to get your free ticket for MaintenanceNEXT!

 

 

 

TWNKLS Celebrates 6-year Anniversary

April 1st 2017 marks six years for TWNKLS, making this pioneering company a dinosaur in the world of Augmented Reality (AR). What began as two curious Dutch entrepreneurs in a non-existent market has proven to be a serious contender, now competing with 15 heavyweights in the international arena. How they did it? The TWNKLS founders, Gerben Harmsen and Lex van der Sluijs, describe their journey and share their vision for the years ahead.

CREATING A MARKET

When TWNKLS started out in 2011, they were practically falling over all the new technologies. Most of these, however, fell short on execution, had no clear application or were bought up by larger companies. According to Lex:

It was a very exciting time. With so many new AR technologies, we expected the market to take off at any moment! But the technologies often had many hidden limitations, therefore it took longer than we expected.”

Their first AR project was making the world’s first virtual postage stamp. It was a neat, new way of conveying information. For Gerben and Lex, it also showed how well their combined experience with the technology and feeling for strong content came together for a concrete business case. And so, TWNKLS was born and the challenging search for clients began. Gerben explains:

“We owe a lot to our early clients who believed in what we were doing. Their patience, resources and open mind made the initial showcase projects a reality.”

Gerben en Lex

ALWAYS TWO STEPS AHEAD

Companies would often see a new technology in the US and want to work with it. In many cases, TWNKLS was a pioneer worldwide, already working with the technology in the market. So, what gave TWNKLS this head start?

- Clients come first. While others were busy making gimmicks to show off what the technology could do, TWNKLS focused on solving serious business problems for its clients, all along the value chain.

- Hands-on mentality. With the pragmatism the Dutch are famous for, TWNKLS makes use of the technologies available, figures out what is missing and builds a solution. This approach has given them tremendous knowledge and expertise in AR and computer vision techniques.

- Understand how it works. TWNKLS understands how the technology is put together. Their R&D department has grown and they can now also build the user-friendly interfaces to offer clients a complete package.

“We were one of the few worldwide to engage with the market and at the same time able to develop our own technology to find meaningful solutions.”
 

UP NEXT: AUGMENTING COLLABORATION

TWNKLS is growing up. Projects and experimentation in the pioneering phase now give way to developing AR products for the business market. By now, Gerben and Lex know the field of AR inside and out. They know where the opportunities lie, what technological challenges they face and also what can be achieved and within what timeframe.

Currently, TWNKLS is focusing on something special: collaborative AR. This enables people to work together from anywhere in the world, supported by each other and by AR technology. Whether for healthcare sector, security or for technical maintenance, the core is helping people to collaborate and solve problems, and to present them with the right information at the right place and time.

PORTFOLIO HIGHLIGHTS

A few examples of TWNKLS can do. Click to learn more! 

  • Mauritshuis Pellegrini App (2015). A milestone in the technical advances in tracking up to the lowest level of pixels. The app enabled museum visitors to relive the restoration of the Golden Hall of the Mauritshuis.
  • WEMO Operator system Together with WEMO, specialist in machine building and machine components, we created an application for HoloLens which lets an operator run a full production line by himself.

TWNKLS looks back on Virtual Revolution

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From the 7th till the 9th of March the Virtual Revolution and RapidPro took place in Veldhoven. More than 4200 people visited the 107 exhibitors and participated in the conference program and the workshops. Together with its clients, TWNKLS showcased successful implementations of augmented reality with regard to training and instruction, maintenance & repair, remote expert and measure and visualization.

We can look back on a successful exhibition with inspiring encounters, enthusiastic responses during our Hololens and Google Tango workshop and engaging and informative presentations by our clients.

Presentations 

On Wednesday the 8th of March several speakers gave presentations of AR applications in industry and the security domain. We’ve attached some of these presentations below, should you want to look into them more extensively.

Download the presentation of dr. Stephan Lukosch, TU Delft.
Download the presentation of Jordy van de Velde, WEMO.
Download the presentation of Gerben Harmsen, TWNKLS.

Want to have a short retrospect on the Virtual Revolution? Check out the photo’s on our Facebookpage.

 

Augmented Reality: Enabling the future

The first three parts of our series on augmented reality have showcased current solutions that make Industry 4.0 possible. This final article will focus on how the field of AR will develop in the future. A future made possible by advancing technology and an ever-growing adoption of augmented reality.

The next generation of smart glasses
Most current AR applications are made for a phone or tablet. Smart Glasses will be the next big step forward for these apps. Smart head mounted displays let you look through a clear lens at your work, but can also show augmentations. Google Glass was one of the first, but new devices such as Microsoft’s Hololens or the Meta 2 are in a completely different league. Next-gen Smart Glasses offer an immersive field of view and powerful computing. Because they are mounted to your head they leave your hands free to do whatever you want. You simply control the devices via gestures or your voice. This enables you to do complex maintenance tasks whilst seeing clear instructions superimposed over your work.

First industrial application for Hololens
Industry is the best place to combine the strengths of augmented reality with the potential of Smart Glasses. This year WEMO, specialist in machine building and machine components, rolled out the first industrial application for Hololens: WEMOlens. This app lets a single operator run a full production line in a mobile hands-free way. Traditionally an operator can only control a machine at a single fixed console. But since some production lines can be over 100 meters long the operator loses a lot of time walking around. So instead of forcing you to walk to a console WEMOlens brings everything you need to you.

High-res image WemoLens3


A flexible solution
An operator can use WEMOlens to operate the production line, and view the line status and OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) data. The application also lets you see and change your production schedule as well as offer a direct remote assistance link to WEMO itself. The app can use IoT sensor data to push information to the user only when he needs it. The result is a flexible solution that lets an operator focus on what he does best: making reliable and high-quality products!

35% faster
WEMO expects to be 35% faster, and to make 90% fewer mistakes by using the Hololens.It serves as the perfect finale for this series on how augmented reality forms the driving force behind Industry 4.0. AR empowers workers via smarter working environments, and lets them focus on creating value in a safe and reliable way. Think of how augmented reality can help your business and join the new Industrial Revolution!