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Logistics firms pioneer AR technology to boost productivity, profits and worker safety

Logistics firms pioneer AR technology to boost productivity, profits and worker safety

Logistics firms have run pilot tests across operations to assess the viability of augmented reality tools. The evident return of investment has propelled heavyweights like General Electric and DHL to roll out AR smart glasses to industry sectors globally.

Logistics players spent $52.9 million or INR 3.4 billion on smart glasses in 2017. This number is expected to grow by nearly eighty-five times to $4.4 billion or INR 285 billion by 2022. Smart glasses offer a pick-by-vision option that frees workers hands from handling paper trails and other documentation. The option facilitates safer, more comfortable and efficient work.

Smart glasses also perform a portion of administrative work for employees by organising and storing relevant information in a manner similar to a computer or tablet. Further, they can be used to communicate with colleagues remotely with a greater degree of precision and comfort. This drastically reduces travel costs and margins of error.

General Electric recorded that the use of augmented reality smart glasses had improved employee performance by up to 46%. DHL reported similar improvements of 15%.

DHL has partnered with hardware firms like Vuzix and Google alongside software providers like Ubimax to render tailored augmented reality logistics solutions.

These early use cases test simple features like advanced remote communication and hands-free visualisations. As smart glasses develop further, their applications in the fields of navigation, training, maintenance and repair will make them increasingly viable to a broader audience. The rapidly growing AR-powered mobile device space is another coveted tech-frontier that will transform more complex supply chain activities such as inventory and transportation management.

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