10 March 2022 – Foresight Group, a listed private equity and infrastructure investment manager, is pleased to announce a £2.5m (€2.97 million) growth capital investment into Kognitiv Spark (“KS”) which is commercialising software that provides 3D data to support field service workers in remote locations. The investment is funded by the Foresight Williams Technology Fund, a joint venture between Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering (“WAE”).
The company’s product offers three significant advantages over the competition: it is the only commercially available solution that allows the real-time sharing of 3D data sets, it is able to maintain a stable video connection even in low bandwidth environments; and it offers defence-grade security.
Currently, installing or maintaining assets in the field requires expert teams to travel, sometimes thousands of miles, all of which increases time, cost and greenhouse gas emissions. Existing remote assistance software does not have the robustness or functionality required to empower local workers to carry out complex tasks.
KS’s product, RemoteSpark, is an augmented reality (“AR”) software package, which enables the sharing of complex and critical data between a desk-based expert and a field-based worker. RemoteSpark consists of a desktop application and an application that runs on an AR device. When a call is made between the two devices, it provides the desk-based expert with a live stream of the workers’ point of view. The expert can then share PDF documents, 3D images and animations in real-time. Both the worker and expert can annotate images during the call and the platform enables hands-free, voice-controlled operation making it easier for the worker to complete tasks.
The growth capital will enable the company to expand into new industries and geographies via new sales and marketing teams in the US and UK and support the ongoing development of further products. The company hopes to work with the WAE team to tap into their network of automotive, aerospace, industrial and manufacturing customers within the UK and EU markets.
The global mixed reality market was estimated to be worth $17bn (€15.48 billion)) per annum in 2020 and is forecast to grow to $85bn (€77.38 billion)) p.a. in 2025 (38% CAGR). Within that market, mixed reality software is expected to reach annual revenues of $32bn (€29.13 billion)) by 2026. Market drivers include the growing digitisation of industrial data and support requirements for an increasingly remote workforce. Remote worker support is a major application for AR technology. A recent PwC report identified 1.6m jobs worldwide that could be enhanced using AR/virtual reality solutions, a number that is expected to grow to 7.6m by 2025.
Commenting on the investment, Bill Yost, investment manager at Foresight says, “We are excited to support Kognitiv Spark as they establish operations in the UK and their products begin to gain recognition across Europe. The company’s technology is ground-breaking and should improve field support in a broad range of industries. This funding should provide the fuel for significant growth.”
Yan Simard, CEO at Kognitiv Spark, adds, “We are incredibly pleased to be partnering with Foresight as Kognitiv Spark continues to expand strategically on a global scale. The investment level by Foresight signifies not only to us, but the mixed reality sector as a whole, that the time is now to focus on growth and solidifying our place in the market.”
Matthew Burke, head of technology ventures WAE, adds, “We are delighted to support Yan and the wider team at Kognitiv Spark with this investment. As well as introducing the company to our partners and customers, many of which have engineering, manufacturing and maintenance operations spread across the globe, we continue to explore applications of KS’s remote support technology within WAE’s operations”.
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