CBT CEO Kelly Ireland: XR ‘Absolutely’ A Channel Opportunity

Extended reality – a catch-all term including virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality and the metaverse – is “absolutely” an opportunity for channel partners to add revenue and better service customers as long as they invest in hiring the right people and understanding this emerging technology.

That’s according to Kelly Ireland – founder, CEO and chief technology officer of Orange, Calif.-based CBT – a member of CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500. In an interview with CRN, Ireland talked about the ways her company has invested in extended reality and introduced products to help customers from a variety of industries.

“Is there an opportunity in the channel? Absolutely,” Ireland told CRN in a recent interview. “I’ve been espousing this for two years, if not longer.”


She continued: “The ‘but’ is, you have to invest. Because if you don’t understand it, it’s not like IT. You don’t take hardware and software and put it together. Everybody is approaching it that way and it doesn’t work because there are way too many other factors included. So you have to do your homework. You have to invest. You have to get the right people.”

For CBT, the right people means bringing in employees with experience in industrial operational technology (OT), including control system engineers and mechanical engineers.

Through its extended reality practice – and offerings from partners including RealWear and Guardhat – CBT has added services that save customers money from having to fly out engineering specialists to fix machines or trainers to educate workers. She’s improved worker safety with wearable devices equipped with radiation detection.

In one construction company’s case, she delivered an augmented reality (AR) product that feeds information into a tablet computer so that construction workers don’t dig and accidentally hit underground pipelines, a common error that can cost millions of dollars.

“You’re saving millions (of dollars) right there because you’re not going to have the accidents of pulling up electrical, water, gas pipes,” she said. “It’s worker safety as well as not incurring costs that you shouldn’t incur.”

Here’s what else Ireland had to say about her company’s investment in extended reality.


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 Learn About Wade Tyler Millward


Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at [email protected].


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