Rich Ryan is the CEO and president of Six15 Technologies. He has more than 15 years of hands-on business experience that includes private equity transactions and operations, management consulting, senior operating leadership, and board-level advisory roles. He served seven years in the aviation branch of the United States Army and is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Six15 Technologies is the world leader in wearable optical displays. Their rugged smart glass devices and augmented reality technology are used to power decision making, enhance problem solving and accelerate critical action for experts in operationally intense environments, such as the military, logistics, medical and public safety sectors.
Six15 develops both off-the-shelf and custom wearable technologies for Fortune 500 companies and government and defense agencies.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of the advantages of using wearable optical displays and how can they be used across a variety of industries?
Rich: The biggest advantage to wearable optical displays is the ability to exchange critical information in a seamless, hands-free way. The wearer can use the device to access information in real-time and as a result the cross-industry applications are endless. Police officers and soldiers can navigate dangerous environments with the support of command, doctors can set up triage and provide emergency care by pulling digital health records in real time and warehouse staff can receive visual inventory and merchandising data as it is updated.
BusinessInterviews.com: How can increasing situational awareness help in the areas of efficiency, and above all else, safety?
Rich: In any environment where you don’t have to worry about capturing and conveying the details of your surroundings, and can instead focus on actually reacting to your surroundings, you’re going to see an increase in efficiency and safety. With tactical eyewear law enforcement, as an example, doesn’t have to think about their environment and communicating that information to their superiors or fellow officers via a radio. First responders wearing smart glasses can tap into data and connect with field workers across hospital networks hands-free so they can focus on providing patient care. Even the average consumer using heads up texting displays can send and receive messages without risking their safety on the road.
BusinessInterviews.com: What does your approach to leadership look like?
Rich: My approach to leadership, while refined over the years, is fundamentally the same as it was during my time in the military. I believe you have to set the course for what you want done without explicitly telling your team how to get there – they will amaze you with their creativity in doing so and I have found the same to hold true of technological innovation. Setting an extremely challenging, broad objective for innovation and having a talented cross-functional team attack the problem has produced results far superior to what we collectively envisioned at the outset and in a much more rapid time frame.
BusinessInterviews.com: What methods or strategies do you implement to help your clients get their products to market faster than your competitors?
Rich: Six15 focuses on and specializes in rapid design and prototyping methods that help our customers get their products faster. We can complete concept development, design, 3D modeling and rigorous product testing on anything from low to high complexity designs. Moreover we can customize designs to meet any strict requirements the industry may have. Speed and precision are our forte.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the art of innovation and making sure you’re always ahead of the curve?
Rich: Six15 is one of the original augmented reality and smart glass manufacturers, dating back to 1997; staying innovative is how we’ve endured. A big component of that success has been our talented team – we have the most experienced engineers and executive leaders in the industry that can take on any wearable design challenge for the enterprise. Our unique approach to manufacturing is also what helps us stay ahead – we see our clients’ custom devices through from design and prototyping to production and testing so they can be the first and most innovative in their respective industries too.
BusinessInterviews.com: How do you anticipate that the augmented reality field will evolve in the coming years? What do you think that the mainstream applications will look like?
Rich: When most people today think of augmented reality, they think of consumer applications: video games, apps and the like. In the coming years augmented reality will make its push into the enterprise and provide real value to businesses. The technology is evolving to be sleeker, more responsive and more accurate for everyone from first responders and ecommerce providers, to factory workers and public safety officials.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about your plans to move into the medical and commercial markets and what that will mean for the vision and direction of the company?
Rich: Six15 has already established itself as a leading provider in the defense industry, with more than 150,000 augmented reality displays shipped to date for use in active military combat. Now we’re looking to expand our reach into the medical and commercial industries with new applications for our patented technology – some of which I previewed above. For us this means Six15 has the opportunity to help bring to life emerging concepts like telemedicine and revive struggling industries like manufacturing. We’re excited to see what the future holds and our part in it.
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