Meet Masters of Pie, a software scale-up bringing people and their data together, no matter where they are or the device they want to use
Karl Maddix, chief executive officer of Masters of Pie, reveals why the combination of real-time collaboration and spatial computing with the right contextual data is the key factor that will change the way we work
VRWT: Tell us about Masters of Pie—how did the company come about?
Karl Maddix: The founders met over 10 years ago while working on an early digital twin project. The project was groundbreaking and validated a lot of the key features of a digital twin workflow, such as an accurate (laser scanned in those days) version of the real-world site down to millimetre details, and bi-directional plumbing between the site and the real-time environment.
More importantly, it validated that our backgrounds in real-time technologies had a lot to offer the enterprise world at a time when those technologies were largely still seen as ‘gaming’ tools and were repeatedly overlooked by the industry as valuable means to solve emerging problems such as real-time collaboration, visualisation and the creation of more intuitive interfaces leveraging industry data. This was the realisation that spawned Matt Ratcliffe and I to begin the Masters of Pie journey.
VRWT: Is enterprise software within engineering and manufacturing lacking native support for real-time synchronisation, collaboration and immersive experiences?
Karl Maddix: Manufacturing and engineering software solutions are very robust and used in mission-critical workflows, giving priority to a specific application feature over broad innovation. This means the software provider is very focused and does not have a lot of room to innovate a particular process. In addition, many of the applications used in manufacturing and engineering have evolved over a long period of time, layering feature upon feature and making the introduction of innovative ways of working difficult and complex.
Historically, such software applications never required or prioritised real-time immersive collaboration functionalities because there was only a limited need. With the evolution of the new post-pandemic way of working—with global and geographically dispersed teams becoming the norm—it is crucial to create applications and tools that enable native collaboration to bring people and data together and increase utility and productivity.
So rather than saying enterprise applications are lacking native support, I would prefer to view the introduction of real-time collaboration as a natural evolution that is now a business imperative. All businesses need context to make better and faster decisions—and spatial computing brings a more natural approach to interacting and manipulating complex 2D and 3D data. The combination of real-time collaboration and spatial computing with the right contextual data is the key factor that will change the way we work.
VRWT: How does the Radical software development platform serve this evolution? And what benefits does it bring to virtual reality in particular?
Karl Maddix: The fundamental premise of the Radical software framework is to bring people and their data together, no matter where they are or the device they want to use. Radical is a software development platform that integrates directly into these mission-critical enterprise applications, extending their functionality by adding native support for real-time collaboration and immersive capabilities. The Radical approach of integrating into the application enables one single source of data truth to be worked upon by everyone, avoiding the need to export and import data into standalone applications.
Looking at virtual reality in particular, Radical facilitates the greater adoption of virtual reality use cases by adding seamless virtual reality support to the existing enterprise application to deliver a more intuitive way of interacting with 2D and 3D data by leveraging the incumbent software application.
VRWT: Tell us about the Hyperbat implementation—how important is the ability to work on the factory floor, with a 1:1 scale model?
Karl Maddix: The rollout and adoption of enabling technologies such as Wi-fi 6, 5G, edge computing and server-side rendering will materially lower the cost of adoption for immersive solutions while significantly increasing the addressable market. The delivery of bigger pipes and lower latency with greater computing capability at the edge of the network will allow immersive technologies to extend into factory-wide applications—completely changing how workers interact with their environment in the future.
The Hyperbat project showcases a world-first untethered 5G native virtual reality experience that will allow design and engineering teams to walk around and interact with a 3D life-size model in real time through a single self-contained device, and without the constraints of a physical connection. The solution allows the design and manufacturing teams in different geographical locations to interact with a 1:1 scale hologram of the model in-situ to better identify requirements and potential issues with the design before commencing the manufacturing process.
The manufacturing sector estimates that 70% of product costs are derived from decisions made during the design process, so reducing the number of iterations during this stage of evolution will deliver significant time and money savings downstream.
The virtual reality design review use case is just the first step in unlocking a wide array of innovative use cases combining immersive technologies (AR, VR, XR) with contextual data such as CAD, PLM, BIM, ERP, etc, to deliver the next tranche of disruptive solutions for the factory floor.
VRWT: What’s coming next for Masters of Pie?
Karl Maddix: The Masters of Pie solution is a data-agnostic framework and may be applied to any 2D and 3D data source. This flexibility is highlighted by our recent success in working with the British Army to deliver a real-time collaboration solution leveraging GIS and 2D data consumed via the HoloLens headset. The focus for the future is to take our years of learnings from the CAD and PLM sector and apply the Radical software framework functionality to similar challenges in the defence, healthcare and energy sectors.
VRWT: What predictions do you have for immersive technology in 2022?
Karl Maddix: What excites me about working in the XR technology market sector today is the fact that the industry is evolving from prototyping the art of the possible to scaling out robust production solutions. In addition, some of the largest technology companies on the planet are investing material amounts of money in this market and that investment is driving innovation at an incredible speed. The adoption of enabling technologies such as 5G, Wi-Fi 6, edge computing and server-side rendering will drive new use cases and significantly lower the cost and barriers to adoption.
There currently exists a spirit of exploration between technology innovators and large enterprises that are looking at this technology as the next paradigm shift in how we work. The next three to five years will be the age of spatial computing and I feel Masters of Pie is ideally positioned to exploit the explosive growth of this market sector.
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Images: Masters of Pie