Introducing Director Michael Kaldenbach
With any successful product it is not only the amazing product itself, the technology behind it but also the team that drives it forward. In this series we introduce and highlight key personnel of XR Tech so that you can get to know our background and establish trust in our vision and path forward.
Hello and welcome readers! My name is Michael Kaldenbach and I am one of the Directors of XR Tech. I am focused on the Asia-pacific region and based out of Singapore. My expertise and passion lies in Industrial eXtended Realities (XR) use-cases and within XR Tech I am mostly occupied with business development and innovation management. I am immensely excited and proud to share with you our vision and journey of XR Tech and the XR Sense platform that we have built.
I truly believe that what we have accomplished with XR Sense is a fundamental gamechanger in the adoption and usage of XR in operational environments.
Aside from a natural bias – I do have significant credibility within the XR industry. For the last 4 to 5 years I have been the global head of eXtended Realities within Royal Dutch Shell (At the time that I am writing this they still have a claim to the Royal Dutch status) and in total – close to a decade of experience within the Oil & Gas industry, although they prefer to be called Energy industry. As the global head of XR I have been responsible for establishing a team of experts around the world that has helped us incubate and deploy hundreds of XR devices with thousands of users.
When I started the XR technology theme within Shell in 2017, there was already experimentation happening within the so-called Mobility Centre of Excellence. Their focus was mainly geared towards the then available hardware and understanding the implications to Shell. The change I brought with me was a fundamentally different approach; I focussed on the platforms with a strong believe that the market would provide the necessary hardware in the near future to support what I was cooking up. In the following years we adopted the traditional Innovation Funnel methodology which meant that we pursued proof concepts and filtered them based on adoption and success. This approach paid off and growth of the team was inevitable as users started using the technology and reaping the benefit from Virtual Reality Training, Collaboration and Design to supporting front-line employees and subject matter experts with Augmented Reality platforms.
When the global pandemic hit the Earth in 2019 and escalating in 2020, we saw spike in adoption and general awareness of Augmented/Assisted Reality. By then we had already deployed hundreds of devices in operational locations across the globe with extremely successful capabilities like Remote Assist (Video support) and Work assist (Step by step guidance) but a fundamental gap was persistent. The devices deployed were used only “when required” and most often used as “shift/team owned devices”. This meant that gaining familiarity with the device was a challenge, increasing adoption beyond the initial userbase was slow and in general the return on investment was stellar but only a fraction of the potential.
This was the start of the conversation with my fellow director Gurps Nijjar. How can we move from a point-solution approach to an “Any time, Any place, Anywhere” capability. That sparked the conception of the XR sense platform – through series of brilliant, exhausting but ultimately highly effective follow up sessions, an initial proof of concept was quickly developed and field tested. The core platform emerged as a culmination of spatial and situational awareness (Geographic information systems), Machine Vision (Driving safety and automation) and business intelligence (business logic engine and intelligent reporting).
The results were amazing and proved without a doubt the validity of the XR Sense platform. When in 2021, a number of personal circumstances changed I started looking for opportunities outside of Shell. The aforementioned brilliant sessions with Gurps lead to a clasping of hands and an offer to join XR Tech allowing me to focus my energy on this paradigm shift in the XR industry.
My hope is that I have been able to convey some of the energy and passion I have – not just for our company and the platform but XR as an industry. I am looking forward to working with you all and making a serious impact on remote operations, the environmental impact of industries and increasing the safety of our frontline workers. Because that is what XR Sense will accomplish!