The idea of wearables that can help guide logistics workers throughout their workdays is not new, but these devices are now coming into much wider use across the industry. Small devices that display pertinent information about a task can go a long way toward boosting individual worker productivity and supply chain efficiency, which is why so many companies are now taking the step toward adopting this kind of hardware to use in conjunction with their warehouse or inventory management software.
One type of augmented reality technology that may soon find a strong foothold in the logistics industry may be familiar to some workers already, if only by reputation, according to Wired. Google Glass was acknowledged as being a bit of a flop when it was first introduced for consumers a few years ago, but the second iteration – known as Glass Enterprise Edition – is designed to help companies boost efficiency and has already been the subject of significant field testing.
How it works
Much like any other AR software, Google Glass simply displays relevant work information in conjunction with other devices enabled for the internet of things, so that workers know exactly what to do at any given point of the day, the report said. A number of major companies have already tested Glass EE, including General Electric, Boeing, Volkswagen and more. All have reported greater productivity and higher-quality work as employees are never unsure of what they should be doing.
GE has also tried to implement use of other AR programs in its warehouses, with similarly strong levels of success, according to the Internet of Business. A company this big will end up costing itself millions of dollars annually because of simple mistakes made in the supply chain or manufacturing process, but AR helps to mitigate those risks considerably.
"We believe that Skylight with Glass has the potential to be a real game changer in terms of its ability to minimize errors, improve product quality, and increase mechanic efficiency," said Ted Robertson, manager of GE Aviation, told the site.
A growing trend
Given the level of success some of the biggest companies in the world are now having with AR technology, it should come as no surprise that smaller ones are likewise interested in what these devices can do for them. To that end, the market for investment in wearable sensors of all types is expected to reach about $4 billion annually by 2025, according to new data from Crystal Market Research. The growing usefulness and availability of AR and other wearables brings logistics companies significant benefits in short order, and more companies are now recognizing the potential applications.
As with any type of major technology investment, however, it's wise for businesses to make sure they are fully ready to implement widespread use, including by rigorous research before the investment and extensive training after it to make sure every participant knows exactly how the systems should work.