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ASTRI, CITIC Telecom CPC expand AI-AR partnership in HK


Entering a new phase of a two-and-a-half-year partnership, CITIC Telecom CPC and the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) are exploring new industry use cases for integrated AI-AR solutions for commercialisation.

“To have sustainable traction in intelligent and innovative technologies development, we need an integrated ecosystem approach and strong partnership with stakeholders in various sectors and industries,” said Denis Yip, CEO of ASTRI. “Our  continuing collaboration with CITIC Telecom CPC will lead to a meaningful exchange of innovative R&D, technologies, knowledge, and insights, which will ultimately increase operational efficiencies of the industries, uplift user experience, and create value to the community.”

“We are enthusiastic about advancing AI-AR technologies with ASTRI and leveraging collaborations and sound technological exchanges to pursue innovative and practical applications,” said Esmond Li, CEO, CITIC Telecom CPC.

The two organisations started their partnership in developing integrated AI and AR (augmented reality) solutions in June 2019, which led to launch of an AR Remote Hand Solution in September the following year.

Boosting field service productivity by up to 50%, the enhanced AR-based vision allowed field engineers to access vital information at data centres and enabled seamless collaboration between frontline and back-end teams to complete maintenance tasks. The solution also demonstrated how companies could facilitate remote work strategies during the pandemic using AR technologies.


Taking AR glasses to new heights

In Phase 2, ASTRI and CITIC Telecom CPC will be working to build innovative new features into the heads-up display of AR glasses.

ASTRI will provide the software platform and customisation, while CITIC Telecom CPC’s team will build an innovative Machine Learning (ML) model in order to integrate virtual, big data, AI, and physical data into the AR device.

The key features include:

• Data Visualisation – Computer vision techniques and machine-learning algorithms enhanced data integration will provide the remote workforce with 2D and 3D diagrams for better data visualisation. Users can use AR glasses to detect, identify, locate, and track objects positioning and project holograms of technical manuals, analytical figures, or even instructions onto the heads-up display to analyse trends or issues for quicker response.

• Cognitive Object Recognition – The AI-AR integrated service will use Cognitive Object Recognition System (CORS), which runs using CITIC Telecom CPC’s algorithm and solution to improve object mapping accuracy. Using AR glasses, users can easily define the correlation between different objects. The AR glasses can further improve workplace safety by projecting the physical (path) and logical relations onto the reality in the form of digital maps, 3D models and virtual information.

• Middleware Enhancement – Both organisations will develop middleware for AR glasses, empowering customers to work with different AR headsets such as HoloLens and Android-based headsets.

The two organisations expect the AR glasses with enhanced AI/AR capabilities will bring more business values in a range of industrial applications, such as:

• AI-AR Remote Hands for Seamless Collaboration From a Distance

• Streamlining maintenance and inspection for Utilities – The AI-AR integrated service will provide field workers with better computer vision capabilities. Field users can access manuals and analysed data or graphs for maintenance using the AR glasses while receiving immediate alerts of any wrong steps. The 5G-enabled cloud connectivity can enable supervisors to guide field users during installation and maintenance verbally. 

• Computer Vision and Cognitive Analytics Solutions for Better Decision Making

• Business Operations planning (e.g., Supply Chain Management) – The integrated service can provide workers with extra information during operations. The frontline staff can use data visualizations and object mapping to identify goods quickly and accurately for loading and unloading.

• Predictive Customer Experience for Maximising Customer Value

• Enhancing customer services experience in all industries – AI and AR allow companies to use predictive and prescriptive data to understand what customers want before they know themselves, delivering exceptional customer experiences.

“We are confident that this collaboration will result in a win-win outcome by creating viable commercial applications that benefit different industries,” said Yip.

Daniel Kwong, CIIO of CITIC Telecom CPC said: “We believe that our strong partnership with ASTRI, together with the development of new technologies, such as AI, AR, blockchain, 5G, IoT and cloud, will ensure that we will continue to find innovative and intelligent ways of helping enterprises to reap the benefits of digital transformation.”

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