Virtual Method Proves Advanced Smart Eyewear Increases Productivity, Collaboration & Safety in Agriculture

In a ground-breaking study, commissioned by the Meat & Livestock Association (MLA), farmers and meat processors have validated the use of ‘Assisted Reality’ wearable technology.

Findings are already being commercially-implemented by leading Veterinary Group, APIAM Animal Health.

SYDNEY, Aug. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Virtual Method, Australia’s most experienced developer, content creator and supplier of AR & VR technologies, today announced the publishing and results of their MLA-backed research: ‘Trial of HMT-1 industrial wearable computer in processing environments’.

A RealWear HMT-1 assists this sheep farmer to collaborate with vets and other experts over vast distances, hands-free.
A RealWear HMT-1 assists this sheep farmer to collaborate with vets and other experts over vast distances, hands-free.

Since Virtual Method originally introduced RealWear HMT-1 Technology to Australia and New Zealand in 2017, the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 has caused a boom in the deployment and usage of this voice-operated, ruggedized wearable technology across manufacturing, mining, utilities, defence and field service industries. The shutdown of international, inter-state and inter-regional travel has also heavily affected the agriculture sector, already suffering due to skills shortages, fire and drought.

Combined with advanced collaboration and forms digitization software (Librestream Onsight), the MLA report has proven that that ag-sector workplaces which intrinsically require the use of both hands, PPE and situational awareness for safety, are ideal for the effective deployment of this advanced and mature technology. In addition, it allows workers to be trained remotely, sharing their point-of-view on-the-job with an expert anywhere in the world, and even with extremely poor connectivity, overcoming Australia’s inherent tyranny of distance.

Even before the study’s completion, APIAM Animal Health Group (ASX: AHX) identified the commercial opportunity in the sector, to use the RealWear HMT-1 and Librestream software for the management of feedlot animal health, and have deployed the same devices and software to great benefit, across regional Australia.

APIAM Business Manager of Feedlots, Tony Batterham, said:

"At APIAM Animal Health, our organisation saw the impressive potential of the HMT-1 wearable technology for our animal health consulting after hearing about the MLA study and viewing the device and software operating in other industries such as human health, mining, telecommunications etc. 

At first we saw application in ensuring best possible practice in animal treatment and antimicrobial stewardship, however David Francis and the team at Virtual Method enlightened us to many extra possibilities, particularly remote expert connection and extending our knowledge resources sometimes limited by geography. We can now practically and safely (especially around live, kicking animals) make our expertise accessible during voice-operated, digitised workflows for animal welfare assessments, disease diagnosis and many more. 

Working with Virtual Method, we couldn’t be happier with the extension of our consulting services this wearable, connected-worker technology delivers right now and we’re excited about the future potential for ourselves, our clients and the entire agricultural sector."

According to the Future of Field Service, Gartner predicts that over 50% of field service management deployments will include mobile augmented reality collaboration and knowledge sharing tools by 2025—up from less than 10% in 2019.

Responding to the MLA report being published, David Francis, CEO & Co-Founder of Virtual Method, said:

"We are extremely proud of the work we have done with the MLA, and with innovators like APIAM who identified the first-mover opportunity early. Australia faces many challenges right now, and so many of our knowledge-keepers are locked-away in their homes, less available than they have ever been. Our ageing population’s special knowledge has barely been captured at all, to pass to the next generation, so doing things remotely (and better) is our best chance.

We are grateful to the MLA for partnering with us to validate this advanced technology for red meat and the whole ag-sector, to give innovators-on-the-land the confidence they need to get the tech into the field and solving problems straightaway."

MLA Operations Manager, Michelle Ford, said:

"MLA is always looking to bring cutting edge technology, validated in other industries, into agriculture. Through accelerated innovation and adoption of new technologies, the red meat industry can access greater expertise and maintain our global competitiveness.

Due to the universality of the findings and the off-the-shelf availability of the solutions, MLA will host a webinar for the industry and the wider Research Development Corporations (RDC) to communicate and demonstrate the benefits."

About Virtual Method

Having pioneered Augmented Reality in Australia since 2010, in 2016 David Francis founded Virtual Method and was joined by Carli Johnston as Co-Founder shortly after. Working across the Industrial   and Creative content-sectors, and assisting companies to form future-proof strategies for the next major computing platform, Virtual Method applies special knowledge and leading AR & VR expertise across the enterprise, from Marketing to Sales, Training and edge-operations. Virtual Method is an official HPE OEM, a preferred ISV of the Oculus for Business program, a Reseller and Systems Integrator for RealWear and the APAC regional Creative Hub for Zappar AR technologies.

Virtual Method’s customers include: Rio Tinto, Komatsu, Konica Minolta, Lendlease, CBRE and Schenck Process and many more across a diverse range of verticals.  


APIAM Animal Health is a listed company comprised of Australia’s leading Production Animal and Mixed Animal veterinary practices.

APIAM Animal Health incorporates over 150 highly experienced, industry leading veterinarians with expertise across the pig, dairy, feedlot, sheep, poultry, equine, and companion animal sectors, supported by an experienced administration, nursing, technical services and ancillary team. Apiam Animal Health is fully vertically integrated, including having veterinary wholesale, diagnostics laboratories, custom vaccines, logistics, and other ancillary services.

About Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)

Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd (MLA) strives to be the recognised leader in delivering world-class research, development and marketing outcomes that benefit Australian cattle, sheep and goat producers. Working in collaboration with the Australian Government and wider red meat industry, MLA’s mission is to deliver value to levy payers by investing in initiatives that contribute to producer profitability, sustainability and global competitiveness.

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Vince is a tech geek, has a passion for sharing knowledge and loves to tinker with different gadgets. Whenever he gets a new gadget he just open the box and figure out how the gadget works without reading the manual.

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