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Squint, a technology platform that uses augmented reality (AR) to optimize factory procedures, today announced the completion of a combined seed and pre-seed funding round, raising $6 million.
Squint’s AR platform provides factory operators with an intuitive mobile experience, offering dynamic and contextual assistance that aligns with their immediate surroundings.
By bringing traditional shop floor instructions to life, Squint delivers an engaging and effective interactive experience that accelerates learning speed and enhances knowledge retention.
“What drew us to Squint was the combination of an outlier founder in [CEO] Devin [Bushant], whose background makes him a leading expert in enterprise AR, and a compelling value proposition that is resonating with large enterprise customers like Siemens, Volvo, and more,” Jess Lee, partner at Sequoia, said in a written statement. “Squint uses mobile AR, computer vision, and machine learning to replace paper binders, sticky notes, and human trainings. The way it optimizes factory procedures is incredibly powerful and can potentially increase factory operations, transforming the way workers interact with machines and applications beyond the factory floor.”
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According to the company, its next-gen technology enables organizations to seamlessly digitize standard operating procedures, eliminating the need for an IT team and relying solely on a mobile phone. Consequently, routine tasks such as training, operation and maintenance can be completed more efficiently and with improved safety.
“Our solution is currently being used by companies across the manufacturing and energy sectors to help them optimize and scale individualized learning. For example, we are transforming a factory’s standard operating procedures (SOP) with AR,” Squint’s CEO Devin Bhushan told VentureBeat. “Now, instead of relying on paper-based instructions and hours of human training, Squint offers an intuitive, engaging, contextual way for operators to learn how to use the machines safely, effectively and much more quickly.”
Bhushan said that Squint’s unparalleled flexibility is one of its distinguishing features. He claims the platform is the only AR solution in the market that embraces an “open world” approach. Unlike other solutions, Squint enables content creation on the spot without needing a QR code or a 3D model to detect objects and align itself.
“Our implementation process is straightforward and self-serve, offering the manufacturing technology sector the fastest time-to-value,” he said. “The results have been fantastic, as our early customers reported that by using Squint, operator training time is reduced by 86%. What used to take weeks and months can now be done in as little as a day.”
Using the power of AR to optimize factory procedures
According to Bhushan, Squint’s self-guided teaching format empowers operators by allowing them to pause at each step of the procedure and absorb the content through their preferred media, such as reference photos, tutorial videos or written instructions.
In traditional training scenarios, operators might feel embarrassed or hesitant to interrupt a trainer and ask for help or for a demonstration to be repeated.
With Squint, the instructions are always readily available to the operator, minimizing costly errors and enhancing productivity.
Operators can also use the Squint app to create instant digital “sticky notes” that capture equipment-specific knowledge. They can then “pin” these notes in AR for their co-workers to access later.
“It takes just 45 seconds to map a new area into Squint, and it is the only product in the world that can identify a space or an object without a QR code or 3D model,” explained Bushan. “The benefit to an open world environment without QR codes or 3D models is that we’ve removed all barriers for a new technology solution to be successful and be immediately useful for operators. There are no other solutions or platforms capable of this degree of autonomous knowledge capture and flexibility, which ultimately empowers operators with the information they need to be safe and successful.”
The company’s impressive roster of clientele includes industry giants Siemens and The Volvo Group, which have utilized Squint’s AR technology to optimize their factory operations and training.
“Once you see how AR can supplement and transform written SOPs with visual and contextual orientations and demonstrations, you really can’t go back. Squint improves learning speed by giving each operator clear, step-by-step training instructions off their phone or tablet,” said Bhushan. “Squint is always available with an operator, eliminating knowledge or memory gaps, proceeding contextually at the same pace as the operator, and capturing site-specific knowledge that enables an operator to troubleshoot local machine performance.”
What’s next for Squint?
With the new funding, the company aims to introduce new verticals in its computer vision, AR and AI projects.
Bhushan said operators have consistently provided positive feedback on Squint’s ease of understanding and effectiveness. The platform equips them with the necessary skills and instills confidence to work independently and safely.
“We are particularly excited about new technology we are developing at the intersection of AR and AI that will make it even easier for customers to roll out Squint across the enterprise. It’s in the final stages of development, but we hope to reveal more soon,” he said. “In the next few years, we expect AR to become ubiquitous in the workplace. Just as we’ve seen with the breakthrough of AI applications, AR will break out from gaming and gimmicks. Squint is already helping to drive this change.”
Squint’s funding round was led by Arc, the pre-seed and seed-stage catalyst of Sequoia Capital, and Menlo Ventures’ venture studio, Menlo Labs, with participation from several other angel investors.
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