Arnav Anand spent years figuring out how to fix broken machines.
Now he is applying that knowledge to Resolution Tube, which today announced $1.5 million in seed funding.
Resolution Tube is a mobile app that uses augmented reality to help field technicians do their jobs. Specifically, it helps them fix broken machines, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The company also has a prototype Google Glass app.
Anand previously worked as a manufacturing engineer at Boston Scientific where one of his responsibilities was to fix machines.
“I would go down to the manufacturing floor along with a technician to fix the machine,” he told VentureBeat. “If we couldn’t fix it, I would have to wait for a tech from the machine vendor to come from a different location. At the same time, I watched a video about telemedicine and saw a strong analogy between telemedicine and my problem of fixing machines. In this case, instead of sick patients I had broken machines and instead of the distantly located doctors, we had technicians.”
From Resolution Tube’s app, workers can access relevant files and information about the products and machines they are working on. If they have questions, technicians can snap photos and get advice from colleagues, or be connected to experts via video.
All the video chats, conversations, and other data are logged in Resolution Tube, creating a crowdsourced store of information.
“With a shift in the focus of our education system to academic over trade professions, there are fewer and fewer technicians entering the job market every year,” Anand said. “As a result, a big percentage of current technicians in the Baby Boomer generation are now retiring, and companies need a way to empower their technicians to do more and service machines faster, as well as capture all of the knowledge from the retiring workforce.”
Anand said the vision is to make field service a more efficient industry using mobile technology. The ubiquity of smartphones (and their capabilities) present an opportunity to change how field service is done. He claims Resolution Tube saves technicians at least an hour a day and prevents return trips — all improving customer service.
The startup is starting with HVAC providers, but ultimately has a much bigger vision.
“We envision that instead of that 1-800 number, you could just take a picture of the broken product with your smartphone/smart glasses or search what company you want to contact through ResolutionTube and be immediately connected with a smart troubleshooting ninja,” Anand said. “If the ninja cannot fix it, then the platform then connects with a relevant customer service agent who can clearly see the problem through video chat and can intuitively explain the solution remotely through augmented reality.”
Anand is a fellow and entrepreneur-in-residence at UC Berkeley. He spent a decade in manufacturing, working on cars, mining equipment, and medical devices, with recent experience at Boston Scientific and Guidant. He met cofounder Spencer Poff at Berkeley and the two founded Resolution Tube. The company went through TechStars Seattle.
Madrona Venture Group led this round of funding with participation from Accelprise Ventures, David Cohen, Rudy Gadre, Own Van Natta, Vijay Vashee and other.