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Help Lightning was formed in 2009 as VIPAAR by Dr. Bart Guthrie, a neurosurgeon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. With experience in visualization technologies and noticing the critical need for rapid access to expertise, Dr. Guthrie developed the ideas that were formalized and patented over years at UAB.

“The initial team had expertise in software and technology development which combined with more than 20 years’ of Dr. Guthrie’s clinical experience in the field of surgery and medicine to address the need for clinical expertise and training in location not currently served by experts.”

VIPAAR stood for Virtual Interactive Presence And Augmented Reality. “Virtual Interactive Presence” (VIP) digitally integrates local and remote participants into a common field, allowing for real-time virtual interaction. The remote viewer sees the local field and local participant, while the local viewer experiences the motions of the remote participant. A VIP system consists of at least two participants viewing a common field. Early target markets were medical and surgical use cases where remote expertise could improve patient care potentially saving lives for critical care situations

Early products were aimed at the surgical assistance and surgical training market. The early system’s capacity to integrate remote assistance into endoscopic or microscopic surgical systems seemed valuable. The value proposition for various groups were compelling at the time: The patient benefits from a level of expertise not immediately or locally available. The local surgeon benefits by acquiring expertise. The surgical enterprise benefits by offering better care while its members acquire expertise. The expert benefits by having his/her expertise exported to sites geographically remote or physically constrained.

Today, Help Lightning is a market leader providing remote visual assistance software to hundreds of companies, across a variety of industries, with more than 60,000 users in over 90 countries. Large enterprise companies such as Becton Dickinson, Siemens Healthineers, Ricoh, Boston Scientific, DirecTV and Cox Communications depend on Help Lightning to improve their field service organization and call center first-time fix rates, extend their workforce capacity and improve customer satisfaction. With the recent acquisition of Fieldbit, Help Lightning customers will benefit from access to additional capabilities to enable real-time, expert-led problem solving while also supporting a variety of self-help scenarios.

View the timeline below to learn more.



Founding project at UAB Hospital

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Initial launch as Vipaar, Inc.

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Launch of Help Lightning, Arrival of Gary York, CEO

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Patents Granted for Merged Reality

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August 2020

Investment from Resolve Growth Partners

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March 2021

Integration with Genesys

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May 2021

Awarded Two Gold Stevie Awards

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June 2021

Investment from Larsen & Toubro and Engage

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June 2021

Remote Tech Breakthrough Award

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August 2021

Ricoh Announces Global Expansion

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September 2021

Integration with ServiceNow

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November 2021

Acquisition of Fieldbit

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fieldbit acquisition

November 2021

Fast Company “Next Big Things In Tech” Award

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December 2021

Marc Guthrie Announced as CEO

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Marc Guthrie