Learn how Raytheon Missiles and Defense uses remote collaboration solutions to repair and maintain assets, enhance consumer experience, and manage supplier relations.
Librestream COO Jereme Pitts sat down with Raytheon Missiles and Defense’s John Cogliandro to understand how Raytheon uses Librestream’s Onsight for remote collaboration, the importance of selecting a fitting technology provider and the future outlook of AR and VR in the defense industry. Listen to the podcast or read the transcript below.
Jereme Pitts: Hello, everyone. My name is Jereme Pitts. I’m the Chief Operating Officer for Librestream, a leading provider of augmented reality AR / VR solutions in the industry. We’ve been around for over 17 years. And, I’m joined here today with John Cogliandro. John is Raytheon Missile & Defense’s engineering fellow. John leads Raytheon’s strategic integration of technologies, and is an important part of Raytheon’s rollout of VirtualWorx, which is Raytheon’s connected worker vision. Raytheon ultimately chose Librestream as a partner to advance its vision. And in this session, we will touch on a few key elements, including what led Raytheon to look into remote collaboration technology, their journey to find a solution, the value and benefits achieved with that solution, and really, where is AR / VR heading, and what’s the importance of selecting the right partner in this journey?
John, thank you again for joining. We’ve assembled some questions, we thought we’d just rapid-fire at you. They said that you can handle these, this was your specialty. And just keeping with kind of the theme of what I introduced, what led Raytheon to look at remote collaboration and what would this platform solve?
John Cogliandro: Like any large company, especially a technology company, we had a high need for collaboration, you know, in person, and then remote both. And we have that need, mostly because there are almost three completely separate markets for us for collaboration. The first one really is engineer to engineer, people inside of the company. We’re a global company, we’re very big, we have a lot of people, something as simple as someone in California talking to someone in New York on a technical subject. And we actually have a lot of that. But then you think about your customers, your actual customers, using our equipment, our equipment is all around the world. It’s fairly complex. And so, we need to support those customers, and we need to support them rapidly. They’re very important to us. But then there’s actually a third area, which I think is very interesting. And that’s suppliers, and we have 1000s of suppliers. And they might be in the next state to you or they might be in another country, depends on what you’re doing. But supply chain and working, something as simple as a bolt. Well, the bolt doesn’t have the value, maybe to fly all the way there to work with the vendor. But you can easily turn on the system and say, “Hey, let’s look at that. Let’s turn it around. Hey, you have it right, or hey, you don’t have it right.” So working with suppliers is the third area; I think it’s very important.
Jereme Pitts: That makes a lot of sense. I know you guys were working on this, you know, years before COVID was even a glimmer. So you saw the value pre-COVID, I can imagine it’s even advanced in this type of environment where we’re all working remotely for the most part.
John Cogliandro: Yeah, we started, I want to say five or six years ago, now. The company had many, many different initiatives for our, you know, essentially electronic or transformation. And certainly, remote collaboration was one of them. And it was ahead, probably, and we’ve gotten tremendous value out of that lead but when COVID hit, of course, the shortage just amplified all those same things. One way of looking at it is, you know, there are certain things you just couldn’t do, whether a person is sick, or whether you have COVID, or whether the distance is too far, the value is too low. There’s a lot of things that simply stop. And then the augmented reality collaboration starts it back up. It’s very hard to even calculate some of the value to it because it’s something that didn’t exist and now that collaboration does exist.
Jereme Pitts: Well, I think that’s a really interesting point. So you said, you know, plus five years and looking at this, what was that journey like? Were there multiple vendors? Give me some of those twists and turns.
John Cogliandro: Yeah, there was a journey and like good engineers, we had prototypes, and we test them and we break them and we try again. I mean, that’s all part of engineering. Failure is not a terrible thing. It’s a learning thing. We as a company, we deal with 1000s of wonderful vendors and systems, just great people all around the world that supply us. In this particular case, we ended up with Librestream. I would say our journey with Librestream was really because they became more of a team member, not even really a partner or supplier, they really became a team member we work on, “Hey, here’s a new use case, for example, maybe an inspection use case we’ve never done before and the camera lighting is not working for us.” Librestream just comes alongside of us and we solve the particular use case. And then we write down the magic formula, and then we send it to our customers, and then that becomes a new thing. So, we work on a lot of things together.
Jereme Pitts: That makes a lot of sense, John. I think in knowing some of the processes that we went through, I think that engineering mind and that engineering process you guys went through, really helped this system document and come up with other ideas. So I can tell you, from our perspective, we did feel like part of the team. You mentioned the three areas, are there any insights since this has been rolled out or some benefits that Raytheon has seen across one or all of those areas. Is there anything that you could point to?
John Cogliandro: Yeah, of course, this is my favourite topic. It is in my book, and we’ve talked about it at conferences. How can you calculate return on investment or net present value? I can go on all day, I won’t bother you on that. But you use the word value. There’s a lot of ways you can essentially calculate the value you get out of a remote collaboration system. And they maybe begin with sort of the obvious things, you’ve saved some travel, or you’ve saved some time, sort of the industrial engineering view of the world. But I really like to focus on some of the softer benefits. I’ll give you an example of one I call the “collaboration effect.” You know, what happens, instead of saving one trip, maybe you have four or five or seven people in a single session, and they’re from multiple states or multiple areas. Now they’re collaborating, and each one is bouncing an idea off of the other. And they solve a very complicated problem without having to solve it in stages. So that could be a collaboration effect. I don’t know how you calculate the goodness of that, but it’s certainly there. Another one I like to look at is the reduction in employee stress. So sometimes your key employees are really, they’re in demand, and they’re flying around the place. And if you can even just eliminate one of those trips, the stress on the employee goes down.
Jereme Pitts: No, that makes a tremendous amount of sense. Knowing I think the audience could assume who your customers are, are their values that you’re able to bring to the customer today? Or is it primarily internal engineer-to-engineer, like you said?
John Cogliandro: Oh no, it’s certainly both ways. The value I’d say to our customers is really that we can become more responsive. You know, we do all the traditional use cases that every other industry does, you know, repair, maintenance, upgrades, all those kinds of things. Can we help those go smoother? Can we help them go faster? That’s definitely what we’re looking into now.
Jereme Pitts: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I think it aligns well with other industries, you know, oil and gas, general aviation, the outside of events and such.
John Cogliandro: We all have the same issue.
Jereme Pitts: That makes a lot of sense. I’ll say, again, this is only a 15-minute rapid-fire, I think it’s a really interesting way to get a taste for all the things that are happening. But certainly, there’s some technology you can use to reach out to John, to reach out to your other colleagues on here or myself. If you have some questions, we’ll do our best to answer those.
Hey, John, so is there any advice that you would say I’m kind of looking at the time want to make sure we stay on time? You know, across industries, a lot of the people that are there listening or will be listening on demand, probably have an interest. They’re touching or they’re doing or they’re active in this environment, whether they’re on the vendor side or the actual customer side, you have any advice or things that you should consider? You know, you mentioned partnership and all that, like, anything that sticks out in your mind?
John Cogliandro: Yeah, I definitely have advice to anybody and it’s across industries. I would advise three. One is, don’t hesitate. Jump in. There are many, many use cases that this technology applies to. So don’t hesitate, just try your use case. Someone out there has probably already done it. You can get some notes on it, all you’re going to break is electrons, right? So definitely don’t hesitate to jump in. Another one I would suggest is a phased approach, baby steps at first. Get used to it, try one of the simpler use cases and then expand. And then the third thing I would recommend is to capture metrics along the way. When you’re up and running and using it, try to take some notes, how much time did you save? How many times was it used per week or per month, because inevitably a year is going to go by, and you’re going to want to look back and say, oh, here’s the amount of goodness we had here is the amount of investment, maybe I could invest more and get more goodness. But you need the metrics. So, if you can capture them from the beginning, you’ll be happier.
Jereme Pitts: I think that’s a really good point and sometimes gets lost, especially if it’s in like a technology phase and thought of as a new technology. Was there a point where you really felt like, I’ve got to brief senior management, I’ve got to bring them in, or I’ve got to get their support. Because often, it becomes a skunkworks project, let’s say but how does it go to the level, you know, that you’ve gotten this to?
John Cogliandro: Yeah, that’s a great question. We did start out as, as an R&D project. It was actually a single person’s idea. And then he got a partner and they got some funding, and it grew and grew and grew. And we went through several different technologies and testing them. It did get to a point where we had to brief senior management a few years ago, and they immediately got the picture and understood the value and invested. And then it grew from there. But it did start small and now it’s actually quite large across the enterprise.
Jereme Pitts: Were they able to provide some cover for you, as you were kind of investigating, like you said, figuring out these use cases?
John Cogliandro: Yeah, we call them sponsors. I think some other industries do, too. But yeah, I would always recommend having a sponsor, or two or three, actually. And if you can think about some of the use cases I just mentioned, we had a sponsor, from our sustainment organization where we’re helping our customers. We had a sponsor, from our supply chain to work with those suppliers. And we had a sponsor from our IT organization and our Vice President of Engineering. So, we had some horsepower behind this because they all had caught the vision.
Jereme Pitts: Yeah, I think you bring up some really good points and critical points as you want to grow this. So, I think those are well received. I’m seeing some of the comments, people are saying the same things. So John, kind of the last thing for the group. Is there anything fun or out there that you see on the horizon that we could give a little taste to the audience today?
John Cogliandro: Yeah, I guess if I had to really go out there, many years ago, we used to talk about something called open innovation, where you would go across industries, you know, the automotive industry might have something that the medical industry needed or vice versa, or aerospace might have something that the commercial industry needed. And that’s not such a popular term anymore. But the idea that possibly a platform for open innovation, and the platform that actually not only lets people from across industries participate, but it automatically captures some of those notes and even gets into intellectual property sharing and all sorts of things. Because I think we can all learn from each other. We can all share technologies. And so, I think AR collaboration is definitely going in that direction.
Jereme Pitts: I know, you’ve been a big advocate of that and I agree with you. I see some questions coming in. I know we’re at time. But there was a question about what headsets does Raytheon deploy and how are they managed. I don’t know that we have time for a long answer. Is there anything you’d comment on that?
John Cogliandro: What I’d say is, we use several, they have to be, of course, approved on our networks and things. We go through a lengthy approval process, but we have different ones depending on whether they need to be ruggedized or if they can be commercial.
Jereme Pitts: Yeah, makes a lot of sense. Hey, John, I can’t thank you enough. I can tell you from my perspective, very informative. I hope the audience felt the same way. Thank you. Have a great day.
John Cogliandro: Thank you all. Okay. Take care.