DHL launches next wave of ‘vision picking’ AR program

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Logistics provider DHL Supply Chain has launched the next stage of its ‘vision picking’ augmented reality (AR) program following a successful trial, the company has announced.

The company’s program focuses on greater efficiency in warehouse operations, enabling operators to speed up the picking process and reduce errors through displays on smart glasses. When DHL announced the successful test phase of its AR applications in January last year, the company noted a 25% efficiency increase in its operations.

After the latest trial, in the Netherlands, DHL Supply Chain is looking to expand the program across different industry sectors “on a global scale”, in the words of the press material. The company said it was putting an initiative in place at a retail warehouse in Columbus – the first of its kind in the US – with other pilot programs across mainland Europe and the UK.

“We are excited to further test and develop vision picking as a solution that can be readily available to our customers,” said John Gilbert, CEO of Supply Chain. “More importantly, this technology is not just one step towards digitalising manual processes on the shop floor, it also takes us one step closer towards Industry 4.0.

“Testing technologies like augmented reality, robotics, and Internet of Things will continue to be a big part of our DNA,” he added.

Speaking to this reporter earlier in the year, Manoella Wilbaut, head of global commercial developments and sustainability at DHL, described the potential the IoT has with regard to logistics, including warehousing operations with freight transport and last mile delivery – the final delivery point in the chain.

“IoT in freight transportation will move beyond track and trace,” said Wilbaut. “Warehouses are a source of competitive advantage for logistics providers who can deliver fast, cost efficient and increasingly flexible solutions. DHL leverages IoT by integrating smart inventory management, damage detection, real time visibility and accurate inventory control into its warehouses.”

According to Digi-Capital’s latest research, AR, virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) were described as the ‘fourth wave’ of computing, after the PC, the Internet, and mobile. AR is expected to garner three quarters of overall revenue when combined with VR.

 

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