Changing the Face of the Logistics Industry With Augmented Reality

An article by Naveen Joshi on BBN Times discusses how the implementation of augmented reality (AR) in logistics can help people working in the logistics industry to be more productive, complementing the increasing performance of the machines involved.

Joshi writes: “The logistics industry can be considered as the lifeline of global business activities, as it is responsible for the smooth and efficient flow of goods down the supply chain, from the primary producer to the ultimate consumer.

Innovations in engineering are improving the mechanical aspects of the industry by making logistical operations faster, smarter, and more efficient. To complement this progress, the use of AR in logistics will improve the human aspect of the business to further improve the operational performance and meet the ever-evolving customer expectations.

Two sections are discussed and AR’s application and role in both: Transportation and Storage.

AR in Logistics: Transportation

The primary challenge for logistics companies, regardless of size and segment, is concerning transportation efficiency. Developments in the automobile industry are resulting in the emergence of vehicles that provide better performance and improved on-board diagnostics. Making the most of these machines can only be possible by enabling their operators, i.e., the drivers to function more efficiently.

The most obvious application in this area is the use of heads-up displays for vehicle operators, to make navigation and performance data visible on the go. By using AR-powered displays on windshields or equipping drivers with smart glasses, drivers can navigate better and monitor vehicle performance to make timely maintenance decisions.

Furthermore, AR can also help drivers to deal with unexpected breakdowns by providing virtual assistance through a smartphone camera. A recent example of such an application is the “Vehicle Lens” app by Mercedes that enables heavy vehicle owners to get an AR view of the performance and maintenance information by positioning their smartphone cameras in different angles.

AR in Logistics: Storage

The storage and sorting facilities are as important for logistics organizations as the vehicles. Warehouses give logistics providers a place to pack, sort, and temporarily store goods while waiting for transit. Warehouse employees traditionally have had to use printed or written labels, and recently RFID readers to identify and sort packages.

This process can be replaced with the use of smart glasses, which can be used to visually identify packages in a hands-free, convenient, and efficient manner. According to a recent report, projected logistics to globally account for 24% of smart glass shipments in 2017.

Global logistics leader DHL is among the first companies to test and standardize the use of smart glasses in the industry. The use of these glasses has been reported to make the process of manual sorting much easier and quicker, contributing to an increase in overall productivity.

It is evident that augmented reality will have a role to play in the future of logistics. The aforementioned applications are just a few of the numerous applications AR can have in the logistics sector.

In addition to adopting AR, logistics companies should also incorporate other technologies within it. For instance, the impact of IoT on VR can be immense and can make the processes smarter and more profitable.

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