How RealWear’s Navigator Z1 Optimises Frontline Operations

The upcoming headset joins RealWear's esteemed immersive product portfolio; also introducing AI to the firm's offering

How RealWear's Navigator Z1 Optimises Frontline Operations
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Published: September 7, 2023


Rory Greener

Assisted reality solutions are finding a keen home across frontline workers. A company helping lead the frontline AR revolution is RealWear. The firm promotes an extensive product portfolio of headsets which allow workers to leverage immersive visualizations hands-free while they work.  

RealWear recently released the Navigator Z1, a hand-free headset for frontline workers, a new product which optimizes the firm’s lineup of widely adopted XR tools. 

RealWear built its latest Intrinsically Safe (IS) headset to improve productivity and safety outcomes. The new product achieves this by freeing a worker’s hands, making procedures like repair and maintenance more efficient, safer, and smarter with immersive guidance features. 

According to the firm, its new Navigator Z1 product applies to use cases in industries such as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and mining. 

Dr Chris Parkinson, the Co-Founder and CEO of RealWear, noted: 

With the launch of RealWear Navigator Z1, we’re offering the smartest and lightest IS wearable with integrated battery available to frontline workers who work in some of the most challenging sites on earth. 

Moreover, Parkinson explained how, at the moment, frontline workers are often still using “outfitted, frankly, with ineffective or old equipment.” 

The release of the Navigator Z1 continues to showcase RealWear’s interest in widening AR hardware adoption across enterprise clients and promising to improve business operations with new immersive methods of communication and collaboration.  

Parkinson also added: 

In addition to the extensive range of upgrades of our latest headset, we’re especially keen to introduce AI Core and 5G IS connectivity to create a new frontier of smart, connected wearable solutions for frontline workers. 

The firm notes that the new device can help reduce downtime and, therefore, financial impacts – stemming from worker challenges such as extended work hours, high stress, adverse weather, and communication issues. 

RealWear is making the Navigator Z1 available for pre-order via official resellers before its general market debut. Moreover, RealWear gave its developer community access to the device early to encourage application development and, therefore, the adoption of the Navigator Z1 device.

Navigator Z1: What’s New? 

RealWear designed its new product with a lineup of innovative features which propel the firm’s XR offerings to the next level. Moreover, Navigator Z1 runs on the enterprise-secure Android 12 OS, which allows the device to run many integrated workplace applications. 

RealWear’s new device also runs on the Qualcomm 6490 chipset to empower new features such as AI integration. Moreover, the powerful devices allow workers to get seamless access to immersive collaboration applications that react flawlessly to an operator’s current workflow with peer-provided remote expert guidance and training.

Jeff Henckels, director of XR Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, added:

We’re thrilled that RealWear is utilising the Qualcomm 6490 platform in RealWear Navigator Z1 that will help frontline workers in extremely hazardous zones where rugged equipment and safety is essential. The Qualcomm 6490 is a perfect fit for RealWear’s next generation headsets as it enables powerful connections and reduced latency, an advanced ISP and advanced Edge-AI computing to deliver astonishing performance at lower power.

The RealWear Navigator Z1device provides its brand of immersive remote expert guidance and virtual training tools via innovative new design features, including:  

  • AI Core is a system allowing for new ways of interacting and navigating RealWear XR environments. The AI features enable workers to leverage newly-optimized Field Services Management (FSM) enterprise systems to help workers order new equipment safely and quickly to complete maintenance procedures. 
  • Lightweight and improved form factor. 
  • Heightened screen visibility with a 720p display for AR visuals.  
  • A high-resolution front-facing camera (48 MP),
  • The Navigator Z1 also includes a broader temperature range, which improves the device’s visibility and ruggedness – ready for more industrial environments.
  • Enhanced noise cancellation that improves the efficiency of voice-activated inputs.
  • Wi-Fi 6 and an optional 5G IS connectivity option. Moreover, RealWear’s optimized connectivity options are secure for private and enterprise usage.
  • The modular device also comes with a thermal camera that operators can attach to the Navigator Z1 headset, allowing them to spot invisible issues on equipment before they become critical.
  • The Navigator Z1’s modular design also supports a removable “snag-free” battery case that enhances safety for extended use – says RealWear.
  • ATEX Zone 1, CSA C1/D1, and IECEx certifications ensure the Navigator Z1 device is safe and usable in industrial environments such as oil and gas, mining, pharmaceuticals, flour mills, and textile mills.

Additionally, RealWear’s Navigator Z1 comes with the firm’s first-party cloud web portal, which provides device administrators with a digital hub for approving applications for a headset, adjusting a variety of device system settings, and remotely connecting to a Navigator Z1 headset for remote device troubleshooting procedures.

More on RealWear

RealWear believes in its products. RealWear’s faith was showcased by the firm introducing Navigator 520 AR headsets to improve its global supply chain procedures.

RealWear is leveraging its Navigator device for workers on its production lines, resulting in operational efficiencies, cost savings, and a measurable reduction in CO2 emissions when creating its products.

The supply chain enhancements also allow RealWear to spearhead sustainability goals while scaling the distribution of its leading assisted reality wearable solution.

RealWear is leveraging its own headset solution to prove the abilities of the Navigator 520 hardware as it attempts to drive adoption rates – seemingly leading by example.

Moreover, integrated Navigator 520 devices for manufacturing processes allow frontline workers to access information and remote expertise – hands-free – while keeping their view unobscured. The device ensures this by presenting vital information on a micro-display during workplace procedures.

RealWear first introduced the Navigator 520 at CES 2023, which secured industrial end-users with an HD display and module features.

While RealWear is incredibly active in designing and distributing XR industrial hardware, the firm is also moving towards software services to support its product portfolio. The firm first marked its refocus when debuting Cloud and Assitance, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for managing fleets of the firm’s headsets,

This year, the firm dropped RealWear Connect, App Marketplace, and Developer Toolkit – three software solutions to help scale XR in the workplace.

Marketplace is a digital storefront where RealWear headset users can manage and access first and immersive third-party services, allowing frontline workers to install applications directly onto RealWear devices to boost frontline productivity and safety.

RealWear also introduced Connect to assist frontline collaboration across central operations teams, such as dealing with support requests. Devices such as the RealWear Navigator 520 or HMT-1Z1 allow an off-site operator to share their point of view via Connect, including AR visualizations. Moreover, Connect supports Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

RealWear also introduced a developer toolkit for Cloud to support its new application portfolio, allowing the developer community to design new work opportunities, allowing developers to enrich the RealWear application ecosystem of immersive services with options such as early-access firmware, uploaded applications, community boards, training materials, and code snippets.

Immersive CollaborationMixed Reality HeadsetsWearables

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