New sound-accessories built for mechanics

New sound-accessories built for mechanics

If people use voice-assistive devices like Alexa to turn off lights and turn on music, why can’t mechanics use them to fix cars?

That’s the goal of Rain Technology’s new Ortho, billed as the first purpose-built voice assistant for the vehicle-service industry.

“Some people may be skeptical about a voice-assistant in this environment,” Kim Conti, Ortho’s vice president-products, tells Wards. But early efforts, “has been widely adopted among a wide variety of technicians, from the entry level to the experienced.”

Conti (picture below, right) Says it “brings technology to technicians.”

kim conti.pngBy saying “Hey Ortho” and asking a question, users get both verbal and visual answers related to vehicle repair and maintenance work.

The tablet device contains information on 30 pre-1990 vehicle manufacturers and models. More can be added.

Magnets on the rear of the device are attached to metal parts of serviced vehicles. This prevents mechanics from holding a tablet in one hand and a device in the other.

The company’s sales pitch for service departments is that Ortho saves technicians time: 10 minutes as much as one job, the equivalent of a week’s hours

Nitya Thadani, CEO of parent company Rain, says, “We built Ortho with laser focus to save meaningful time in the shop, harnessing the inherent benefits of voice technology – speed of input, hands-free use and a distraction-free interface. did.”

Conti tells some technicians to turn to Google and YouTube in search of repair information. “It’s better and faster,” she says of Ortho.

She says it can take time to retrieve information from traditional repair databases. This may require setting up equipment, cleaning hands, walking across the store to the computer terminal, entering search queries and scanning result pages.

“It’s a pain point for many stores,” Conti says.

In contrast, technicians using Ortho stay at their bay, going from question to answer in seconds.

In addition, “the visual and voice components are important,” Conti says. Answers are displayed on the screen and read aloud via text-to-speech.

Can clarify product requests. For example, if a mechanic asks about brake pads, Ortho will say, “Did you mean front or rear?”

Rain Developers spent 18 months on the project, seeking input from various technicians and service managers.

The company operates Ortho in about a dozen service facilities in the US and Canada. But it is eyeing further points and plans to approach auto dealerships soon.

“We believe it will store electricity around the world,” Conti says.

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