RealWear has today announced the launch of its next generation Intrinsically Safe (IS) headset, RealWear Navigator® Z1. Built for productivity and safety in industries such as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and mining, the hands-free IS wearable solution frees a worker’s hands to make operations smarter, safer, and more efficient.

Whether conducting an inspection round on a rig at sea or repairing mission-critical production equipment, RealWear Navigator Z1 is certified for use in areas where nearly all electronics are strictly prohibited due to the potential risk of explosion or combustion. The industrial wearable solution can be used on sites including oil and gas production areas, processing mills, chemical facilities, and mines.

“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,” said Dr. Chris Parkinson, co-founder and CEO of RealWear.  “These workers are often still outfitted, frankly, with ineffective or old equipment. 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.”

Purpose Built to Reduce Downtime 

According to a research study by Kimberlite, as noted in a GE perspective paper titled, “The Impact of Digital on Unplanned Downtime, “Just 3.65 downtime days per year can cost organisations $5.037 million each year.  Averaging just over 27 days of downtime each year, offshore oil and gas organisations experience $38 million in financial impacts from unplanned downtime.”

Workers racing to get equipment back online face an array of challenges, including extended work hours, high stress, adverse weather, and communication issues. RealWear Navigator Z1 is specially designed for use cases that include equipment troubleshooting via remote expert guidance, virtual training, as well as for workers using field services management (FSM) or streamlined inspection data management systems (IDMS).

The new capabilities of RealWear Navigator Z1, when used with purpose-built software, enable optimised hands-free solutions for:

  • Remote expert guidance and training. Remote experts can conduct in-the-moment maintenance and repair, potentially reducing costly travel and downtime using popular apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom;
  • Field Services Management (FSM). Using just simple voice commands, workers can connect to FSM enterprise AI systems such as hands-free solutions from RealWear and OverITto handle work orders safely and quickly, and conduct asset maintenance at reduced operational costs; and,
  • Equipment and Site Inspection Rounds.  Inspectors can traverse safely around a job site, take high quality photos and dictate notes using the field data collection component of an Inspection Data Management System (IDMS) such as hands-free solutions from RealWear and HUVR. From there, the captured data is instantly uploaded and geocoded for integrity verification, auditing and compliance purposes.  The solution saves time and money, while enhancing safety and enabling further automation,3D digital twins and AI.

The RealWear Navigator Z1 has more than 20 major technical improvements (see product data sheet) over prior devices including:

  • The introduction of RealWear’s new AI Core, the most powerful processor ever in a RealWear device, especially designed for on-device enhanced AI experiences;
  • Significantly lighter for added comfort, while maintaining its ruggedness and durability;
  • Improved screen visibility with HD 720p display;
  • High resolution front-facing camera (48 MP) for better remote collaboration and low-light image capture for inspections and auditing;
  • Wider temperature range for use in more climates and environments;
  • Enhanced noise cancellation for improved voice-responsiveness and accuracy;
  • Improved connectivity with faster Wi-Fi 6 and an optional 5G IS solution for private and secure enterprise connectivity;
  • A thermal camera module to spot invisible issues before they become critical;
  • A removable integrated snag-free battery for enhanced safety and for extended use; and,
  • Enterprise Secure Android 12.

As part of the solution, with RealWear’s enterprise-grade RealWear Cloud web portal, device administrators can add approved apps to the headset, adjust a variety of settings, and even remotely connect to the headset to offer remote device troubleshooting.

RealWear Navigator Z1, available for pre-orders through authorized resellers.  RealWear has made more than 20 design improvements to enhance the user experience for these target industries and use cases.

Intrinsically Smart. Enabling AI for Frontline Workers 

To take full advantage of the powerful Qualcomm 6490 chipset, RealWear has begun to offer early access of the new headset to its global developer community.  RealWear customers can expect both entirely new hands-free solutions as well as significant enhancements to existing solutions.

“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,” said Jeff Henckels, director of XR Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “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 headset will launch with certifications for ATEX Zone 1, CSA C1/D1 and IECEx, making it suitable for a variety of markets including oil and gas, mining, pharmaceuticals, and flour and textile mills.