It’s hard to pin down Cape Henry Associates’ chief revenue officer, Chuck Wythe, but when you do, you’re always guaranteed a good chat. Recently, we had the privilege of spending some time with Chuck and catching up on where he sees CHA now and in the future.
CHA: Thanks for taking some time to chat with us today, Chuck. We just have a few questions. To start, what are some current CHA projects you’d like to ensure we talk about?
CW: Well, I think I can boil it down to my top three. First, C-ARTS, obviously. I know it’s a project that was big for us last year, but now it’s been tested and is in Fleet and has had some high-level visitors. It’s been a great product that we’re continuing to refine even as we’re taking orders for more. That program allowed us to make additional investment in our Lighthouse technology and add more features to the stack. It’s been well received; we are seeing the demand and we think it will be a large growth segment of our business going forward.
Second, I am excited about the recent developments in the AR/MR world, or what my daughter still calls the “magic glasses.” Microsoft has just come out with a new version of the HoloLens right as the Army signed a half-billion-dollar contract with them to provide hardware. The developments in this technology are just scary, powerful, amazing stuff right now and we’re pushing to tie in the obvious next step, which is AI use with the new hardware. So our already successful Lighthouse technology is going “next gen,” for lack of a better word. Development is moving faster than we expected and I’m excited about the opportunities to be in front of AI and AR collaboration.
Last, I think our development as a company makes my top three. We’ve had some recent contract wins that will leverage our Lighthouse tech but deliver containerized, deployable solutions for machine learning and AI. Three years ago, we would not have been discussing some of the most exciting technologies on the planet here at CHA. We are doing that today, though, and that’s a testament to CHA’s agility. It puts a smile on your face.
CHA: Speaking of AI and the AR/MR world, what’s CHA’s vision for the future of MR? Where does CHA envision taking the technology?
CW: I think, for CHA, we’re looking at the “low hanging fruit” for AR, the stuff that is an obvious application for us. For us, that means tools at the point of work. Envision a virtual helper, guide, or safety watch, if you will, for those who work in maintenance, safety, and related fields. That’s short-term, because the ROI is obvious. For the long term, we’re looking at the confluence of AR technology and machine learning and AI. The predictive analytics market is hot and it’s hard to imagine a better game-changing combination of technologies than the AR wearables with all the sensors and AI. It’s mind boggling, really. and not theoretical. The tech is here, and capable.
CHA: What are you most proud of right now?
CW: That’s a two-fold answer. On a corporate level, I’m so impressed by how CHA has transformed over the last couple of years. True, it’s been on a plan, but we’ve gone from a 100% services company to one that is split 50-50 between services and products. This has been incredibly challenging for our leadership team, but they’ve risen to that challenge and grown professionally. Then I’d say that I’m proud of how we’ve expanded our customer base. We’re not just a Navy company anymore, but have expanded to include more Navy program offices, as well as the Army and Defense Intelligence Agency. It’s just a fun time to be in tech and training again. After a 10-year lull, people are engaged and not so risk-averse. They want to see where tech can go and what they can do with it.
CHA: What are some of the upcoming events CHA will attend?
CW: We just got back from the Technical Exchange on Augmented Reality in Maintenance and Material Management (3M) conference in San Diego. That was just a great time. It was interesting and great to be there where they were showcasing new tech and to see what agencies are doing with it. We’ll be attending I/ITSEC again this year. I’ve been asked to serve on the Training subcommittee, which will review all the papers ahead of the conference. And we’ll be at the SBIR/STTR conference in Massachusetts in April. That’s what I know off the top of my head.
CHA: Thanks for taking time to sit down with us. It sounds like CHA has a lot of exciting things happening in 2019. Any final words?
CW: Just that I’m looking forward to the growth I expect for CHA this year. It’s an exciting time to be doing what we do.