Lori-Lee Emshey is the founder and CEO of FutureSight AR, an augmented reality product for engineering, procurement, and construction companies. FutureSight AR launched in 2017 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas. Learn more about Lori-Lee and her company by reading our interview below.
Tell us a little about FutureSight AR? What inspired you to start the company?
Future Sight AR uses augmented reality to bring industrial construction workers the technical information they their jobs easier.
I started Future Sight AR initially, as a selfish response to a problem I had at work. I started my career as a commissioning engineer testing and starting-up industrial facilities, like gas plants, during construction. The projects had cutting-edge design, but we did all of our work with pen, paper and Excel (maybe Access if you were fancy). There was a lot of information on what to do, but not a lot on how to do it.
For example, we had hundreds of pages of standards, design specifications and procedures for an air vessel, but nothing that shows you how clean it needs to be inside before you can fill it up, or what a good final closure looks like. I learned pretty quickly that much of that is left up to experience – you had to go ask someone. This would be all well and good, except that our experienced workforce comprises mostly baby boomers who are about to retire.
So selfishly, I started this company because I wanted a way to capture and transfer all of this knowledge so we can keep building these projects without starting from zero each time and make my job better. I got inspired to take this further when I realized that with augmented reality we could easily replicate and scale this solution across projects in a highly visual way – it doesn’t really matter if your air vessel is on a site in, Texas or Qatar, the steps are the same. What really transformed this into a business was the above compounded with a recent industry need to improve productivity.
While I could go back to my desk and keep working the way it’s always been done, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass by, so I started Future Sight AR.
How is FutureSight AR help changing the world?
Future Sight AR gives industrial construction workers the information they need to get their work done. We are effectively turning a low-tech, inefficient job, into a high-tech super-efficient one. By equipping people with the necessary information and technology, they have more control over the quality of their work and in the long term allow us to build a bigger and better world.
What are some challenges you’ve faced?
Explaining how industrial construction works (or doesn’t work) is challenging. When people see me, they generally aren’t expecting me to talk of construction and engineering. People don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how the things we take for granted every day are possible – we all turn on lights, turn up the heat, fill up our cars and buy that cute dress on sale, but no one really thinks about how the power plants, gas plants, refineries and chemical plants got there. It’s all pretty far behind the scenes and about as un-sexy as it gets.
What’s been your biggest win so far?
We pitched at SXSW this year, that was a big moment for us. When we first saw an early version of the app actually working on a construction site that was pretty big too.
How do you define success?
For us, I think success is defined by impact. If we can improve the way the we build large scale projects in a way that will continue on beyond Future Sight AR, then we’ve succeeded