Upskill Skylight update aimed at bringing augmented reality to mainstream

Upskill wants to be the development platform for your smart glasses, regardless of the brand. This agnostic approach is fairly unusual for companies building augmented reality applications and it provides enterprises with a neutral way to build these applications to work across different smart glasses systems.

Company CEO Brian Ballard says the hardware is beginning to mature, but what’s been missing is a development tool for creating content more easily. The latest update to the company’s Skylight development platform includes several new pieces to increase the use of augmented reality inside large companies.

For starters, the company has added a couple of tools that simplify app creation including an Application Builder with pre-built user interface cards that enable non-technical personnel to drag and drop these cards to build a simple workflow application without any coding skill. Skylight Connect is another new piece designed to tap into a company databases without any coding. Upskill claims to handle the connectivity for you in the background. You just point to the database and it does the rest.

If the legacy application is a bit tougher than something Connect can handle, there is also an SDK designed for enterprise programmers to connect to systems that prove a bit more challenging. Finally the company includes Skylight Live, a Facebook Live-like experience that allows a person to broadcast what they are seeing through their smart glasses.

Photo: Upskill

Upskill hopes that today’s update will bring large companies one step closer to deploying AR applications at scale. While many companies like Boeing and GE are playing with AR proof of concepts, very few have large-scale deployments yet. One of the things that is holding them back is that these applications don’t exist in a vacuum.

Photo: Skylight

Most enterprise companies have a vast legacy infrastructure and the AR applications often have to work with these legacy systems to pull information like inventory, documentation or back office data. This requires a platform that’s been built to handle those kinds of connections. Skylight has always aspired to be that platform, but the upgrade enhances that and adds tools to bring less technical personnel into the content creation mix.

What’s more, when companies go to the trouble and expense of building an AR app that pulls data from various systems across the company, they don’t necessarily want to be tied to a smart glasses proprietary development system that locks them into a single hardware manufacturer. With Skylight, they can move much more smoothly from headset to headset type without having to redo the code in a substantial way.