Wearables in Logistics: Now or Later?

Written BY

Emily Friedman

October 8, 2015

Written by Special Guest Blogger Gina Chung, Project Manager, DHL Trend Research, Deutsche Post DHL

“Is now the right time?” is a question I often hear when talking with customers about the usage of smart glasses such as Google Glass in logistics. At the DHL Innovation Center in Germany where I’m based, we have a variety of different smart glasses on display for our customers to try on and experience “vision picking” first-hand. Most are usually impressed by what the glasses can already achieve today; but when it comes to going full-on productive with the devices at this point in time, there are concerns that it is too early, that the devices aren’t reliable enough, and that they’re too flimsy to last in a tough logistics environment.

At DHL, we are certain that smart glasses will be adopted in some form or another in the logistics industry. The benefits that you can get from going hands-free are too great to ignore. That is what motivated us to go ahead at this early stage with our first productive pilot together with our customer Ricoh in December 2014. In the spirit of innovation, we openly shared the results with the rest of the industry to demonstrate that smart glasses can be used productively today with real, positive impacts on efficiency.

In this pilot phase, we picked over 20,000 items within three weeks using Google Glass and the Vuzix M100. As a result of digitizing the paper pick list and pick cart, and – of course – going hands-free, we achieved up to a 25% increase in productivity. In addition, we also received positive feedback from our employees who used the smart glasses during the pilot.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement, especially when you consider that Google Glass Explorer was made for the consumer industry, not logistics. But as we can already see in the news, these industrialized devices are on their way, and we can expect the pace of adoption to increase accordingly.

Please Note:

Gina Chung will give a joint presentation – along with Hendrik Witt, CEO, of Ubimax – at upcoming EWTS ’15. Don’t miss “Boosting Performance Using Smart Glasses in Logistics: The DHL & Ubimax Story.”

About the Author:

Gina Chung is Project Manager DHL Trend Research at Deutsche Post DHL. DHL Trend Research is a dedicated unit that focuses on delivering insights and driving innovation projects on social, business and technology trends that will impact the logistics industry.

Currently Gina is leading the augmented reality initiative at DHL Trend Research.

Image source: Air Cargo Week

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