Augmented Reality is undoubtedly one of the most promising fields in technology right now. Augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality are usually connected to the gaming, retail, and entertainment sector. But it has also found important applications in various fields including the Healthcare Industry. However, Ramya Gujjula and Priyanka Gujjula have taken it a step further with their technology firm, NexRea. The doctor-architect sister duo from Hyderabad is changing the way medical equipment companies market and sell their products.
Ramya Gujjula initially completed her formal education to be an oral surgeon. She then went on to do a postgraduate management course with a specialization in healthcare management from the Indian School of Business.
Ramya first saw the usage of AR to see insides of the human body in 3-D while working with Indegene in 2014. Soon, it began to dawn on her that these new technologies had a great potential to improve global healthcare.
Coincidentally, her sister Priyanka Gujjula who is an architect by profession also worked on some AR and VR based pet projects in 2015 and 2016. After gaining wider exposure to these technologies, Priyanka realized that the industry was somewhat lagging behind in its implementation of AR beyond gaming and entertainment spheres.
In the summer of 2017, Priyanka also returned from San Fransisco to closely work on their business plan. Priyanka and Ramya founded NexRea with an objective to use AR and similar technologies to transform healthcare industries in June 2017. NexRea brought the idea of virtually showcasing medical equipment to reduce shipping costs, improve accessibility, customer acquisition, and satisfaction for these companies.
Owing to her own experience in healthcare management, Ramya knew that logistics associated with new capital equipment are a significant cost for firms manufacturing medical equipment. The idea was to provide cost-effective ways of marketing and sale of medical equipment. The company developed an AR-based app to showcase equipment and its features without it actually being present at the location.
But, it didn’ stop there. They planned to further build upon the idea to reduce both servicing costs and the response time. In case of future damage, customers expect quick response and even faster resolve for their issues. Technical team members from the manufacturers have to travel long distances in such cases even for minor repairs. The NexRea app enables a company’s technical team to quickly offer more efficient support to a wider customer base from its current location.
The mobile application includes stepwise instructions for installing, maintaining, repairing and supporting a range of medical equipment. Notably, it also enables easier collaboration between remote company experts and technicians available to the customer in real-time. It not only reduces servicing costs but also offers faster services to the customers.
Additionally, NexRea offers innovative solutions for training programmes as well. Hospitals definitely love training sessions for their staff when they purchase some new equipment. But, it can be difficult for manufacturing companies to organize training at different locations across the country. Moreover, multiple trainers spread across locations can further add to the complexity of the issue which can lead to inconsistent learning.
With NexRea app manufacturers can simulate difficult-to-replicate scenarios for the training purpose. It allows users to explore the device without any worries from their respective geographical locations. It also saves the traveling costs for both parties and prevents the risk of damage in the process. Such a learning experience can further encourage customer engagement and increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.
NexRea has no doubt come a long way ever since its inception but it was no easy journey for the two sisters. Despite their respective experience in healthcare management and next-gen technologies, initially, they could not convince companies to use their service.
Moreover, as they also faced gender biases they realized the importance of engaging women members in their client companies. They began to explain the value in their services to selected women from these companies in the hope that these women may push the company internally to avail their services.
They were finally successful in convincing GE Healthcare to avail its services by the end of 2017. Soon after other companies including Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, and Horiba Medical also followed. They were soon able to build sufficient credibility and there has been no looking back for NexRea ever since.