Yokogawa Introduces AR-based SensPlus Buddy Communication Support Service

Tokyo, Japan - November 9, 2017

Yokogawa Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6841) announces that it will be rolling out the SensPlus™ Buddy communication support service on November 10. With this solution, personnel in the field will enjoy access to support information from their mobile devices.

SensPlus Buddy can be accessed using a standard web browser on any general-purpose mobile device or personal computer, and does not require the installation of software. With this web-based service, users can easily make video calls and make use of augmented reality (AR) technology to transmit easy-to-visualize image and text data. SensPlus Buddy will improve maintenance efficiency and the quality of field work.

SensPlus Buddy Communication Support Service
SensPlus Buddy Communication Support Service

Development Background

As plants come to rely on ever more sophisticated and complex systems that increasingly enable the integrated management of multiple production facilities, production efficiency is improving. At the same time, it is becoming more difficult to identify the causes of failures and malfunctions in plant facilities, making maintenance a complex task. Furthermore, as an increasing number of skilled engineers reach mandatory retirement age, there is an urgent need to hire and train maintenance staff and managers.

Industrial IoT (IIoT) is seen as one means for making up for shortages of plant maintenance staff and assisting with the training of personnel. With IIoT, a system can be built that enables relatively inexperienced engineers to perform maintenance with the same efficiency and quality as more knowledgeable and experienced engineers. However, many manufacturers have hesitated to introduce such systems because of concerns about network security and the difficulty and cost of adding new infrastructure. To address this issue, Yokogawa has developed the SensPlus Buddy communication support service. With this service, users can visually transmit maintenance information to personnel in the field.

Product Features

The SensPlus Buddy communication support service can be accessed wherever it is possible to use an Internet-connected mobile device. Its features are as follows:

Caption: Photo with handwritten instruction
Caption: Photo with handwritten instruction

  1. Easy to introduce/easy to use
    SensPlus Buddy is a cloud-based service. As such, it does not require the installation of special hardware or software, and only a standard Internet connection is needed. It can run on any general-purpose mobile device or personal computer that has a web browser installed. For maximum security, access is strictly controlled by a user authentication system, and communication is only allowed between users in specified groups.

    SensPlus Buddy supports video calls, the sharing of image files such as a screenshot taken during a video call or when viewing a manual, and the overlay of instructions on images, and these functions can be easily accessed and used on any kind of mobile device.
  2. Real-time sharing of data
    Engineering experts and other support staff can make video calls to share images and other data in real time with workers in the field. Thanks to the service's support of AR technology, support staff can write easy-to-understand instructions on photos that have been taken on site and send them back to workers in the field.
  3. Obtaining information required in the field
    When a maintenance worker in the field needs to see information about a control system or information from a document such as an operation manual, support staff in the central control room can send images of subjects such as a control system console screen or photos of specific pages in a document. Both sender and receiver can inscribe messages on the images.

Caption: Handwritten instruction on a document screenshot
Caption: Handwritten instruction on a document screenshot

Places and use cases
Places and use cases

Major Target Markets

Manufacturing industries


Communication between central control room and plant personnel, or between personnel at different plants
Communication between field personnel and third parties such as help desks of plant equipment manufacturers

Yokogawa's Use of AR Technology

Yokogawa believes that AR technology can help solve the problem of human error. By combining this technology with mobile technology, which has been rapidly advancing in recent years, and by using this in manufacturing plants, Yokogawa aims to reduce human error and improve the safety and efficiency of field work. This company labels this approach Industrial AR, and is working with its customers to develop and refine this technology. The SensPlus Buddy communication support service is Yokogawa's first use of the AR technology. With the aim of introducing advanced solutions to the manufacturing sector, Yokogawa will continue its efforts to develop AR technology.


About Yokogawa

Yokogawa's global network of 113 companies spans 60 countries. Founded in 1915, the US$3.5 billion company engages in cutting-edge research and innovation. Yokogawa is active in the industrial automation and control (IA), test and measurement, and aviation and other businesses segments. The IA segment plays a vital role in a wide range of industries including oil, chemicals, natural gas, power, iron and steel, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, and food. Targeting this segment, Yokogawa helps companies maximize their profits by offering a wide range of highly reliable products and working with the subsidiary KBC Advanced Technologies to provide premium solutions and services. For more information about Yokogawa, please visit www.yokogawa.com.

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