Could smart glasses be the wearable of future warehouse production?

Many companies have invested and many companies still invest in pick to voice. I have always been a little ambivalent to pick to voice. The technology has not become a total success. It’s still an expensive investment with some limitations. We humans can not get information quickly enough by listening compared to if we use our eyes. I talked to a logistic developer in a 3PL company recently who work a lot with e-commerce, they don’t use pick to voice because it is to slow. You can’t speed up the voice enough. Another reason is that the technology is not flexible enough. It is many tasks in warehouse that often is to complex, for example goods receiving. You still need additional computers to do some of the more advanced stuff in WMS like editing data or supplement existing data. If you use staff that can do all tasks in the warehouse and you move resources in a regular basis for optimization and avoiding sub-optimization they need both pick to voice gear and maybe a handheld computer, and now it begins to be really expensive.

I believe that in a near future pick to voice will not be as attractive as today. Instead I believe smart glasses will be the wearable of future warehouse production. There is endless possibilities with smart glasses, you can have all the information you want on the screen, together with wrist or finger joysticks you can move cursors and execute commands. You can use Bluetooth keyboards to edit data for example in goods receiving.

Imagine the possibilities with augmented reality! You can see additional information in the glasses when you turn your head in one direction. You can even have a “pick to light” feature in the glasses! You can also do all the tasks you can do in a computer. And another positive aspect, the employee is still a human being that is able to communicate to colleagues and managers without “pausing” the ongoing activity.

Google have made a relaunch of an updated Google Glass for use in business. Boeing, General Electric and Volkswagen is part of the project.  DHL has come really long with “vision picking”. One conclusion of the DHL project is increased employee satisfaction, one of the most important factors for good efficiency and quality. I recommend you to read more at:

https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/Google-Glass-Alphabet-corporate-warehouse-logistics/447487/

Together with artificial intelligence I believe smart glasses will be the next big thing for WMS development. The technology is not mature yet for production but I think we will see the technology in the future.

Roberth Karlsson

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2 Thoughts

  1. I am a firm believer of smart glasses, but I think a more in-depth POC needs to be conducted before we glorify this as the solution to replace Voice to pick.

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