Editor’s Note: Today’s article is from Mary Byrd who speaks to the ways companies can use augmented reality in logistics.
The measure of success of every logistics business is its ability to provide timely and proper delivery services that can translate into a positive customer experience. Therefore to attain success, logistics market players need to have a reliable digital infrastructure such as augmented reality. The augmented reality (AR) technology is an expansion of an environment or object by enriching it with additional and valuable computer-generated information. Information can take any form of content, including images, text, video, etc.
AR can be seamlessly integrated into the existing work circle of your logistics company. By this integration, parcel handling will be improved and likewise increase in load optimization.
In this article, we’ll look at how AR works, what augmented reality is used for, and how both logistics companies and the logistic information warehouse (LIW) take advantage of AR.
How Technology in Logistics will Shape Shipping
Information Layering in AR
Beyond showing just additional details, AR provides a unique user interface that enhances how people interact with their environment. An augmented reality, which is also referred to as altered reality, comprises of four basic processes that build additional information layers to an object. The processes are:
- Scene capture: this first process captures a part of the environment via an in-built camera of a mobile device or head-mounted display (HMD).
- Scene identification: in the next process, an AR system scans the captured environment to determine if there is s need to include predefined content. The process is identified either by visual markers or tracking tools such as GPS, laser, sensors, infrared, etc.
- Scene processing: the third process is where the AR systems requests content contention addition from a connected database.
- Scene visualization: the process is where an AR system generates an image that combines a captured object or environment and virtually added information.
What Is Augmented Reality in Logistics Used For?
Let’s now dive into how transportation businesses and the logistic information warehouse can use altered reality to take maximum advantage of its capabilities.
Augmented reality is used to ensure efficient pickups. A device with AR capabilities can quickly check the load if it’s complete by scanning cargo barcodes. However, this checking process requires manual barcode scanning for the less advanced AR devices. Alternatively, wearable AR devices enable you to determine the volume of freight items using special scanners and sensors. AR systems are also used to detect damages by scanning the cargo and prevent errors.
AR is used to streamline the process of truck loading. This can be achieved by effectively replacing the printed cargo lists and load instruction. For example, it can indicate a loader the pallet can take next, where the pallet can be found, and where it should be placed in the loading truck or container.
Think of it as a space calculator that can augment the subjective human estimation. Furthermore, AR systems can quickly point you to the exact location of a specific item in the truck.
With the exponential increase in international trade, altered reality technology is a must-have for global shipping and logistics. Given the broad market, international operation complexities are high. Likewise, the various international trade regulations and requirements of AR are being utilized by several logistics companies.
For instance, before shipping, the AR system is used to ensure that the shipment complies with the relevant international import and export regulations. Also, AR devices help verify trade documentation by scanning the trade documents or cargo for critical words and suggesting changes or corrections for commodity code classification. Furthermore, after a shipment, the system can go further to reduce port and storage delays by translating the scanned documents in real-time.
Easing of Traffic Jam
Traffic jams are a nightmare for most logistics companies. It often affects the smooth running of several economic processes that depend primarily on the quick flow of goods. An estimate of 1% of Europe’s yearly gross domestic product loss is caused by problematic traffic. Thus there is a need to improve punctuality. Companies can use AR driver assistance applications to present information to the cargo driver in real-time.
Assembly and Repair
Besides transportation, some logistics companies provide additional services like assembly and repair of parts. Such skill requires in-depth staff training. And the slightest error during assembling such components can be costly.
AR devices are used to ensure that logistics providers match-high assembly standards by monitoring the assembly process using advanced image recognition capabilities. Additionally, AR technology can help technical specialists detect damages and errors using image recognition tools. It can also provide them with detailed instructions on how to diagnose and resolve these errors using AR smart glasses. This will reduce the time spent repairing and bring the error rates to a minimum.
Customer satisfaction translates into more business. AR is also used to improve the level of customer services in the logistics industry. When transport companies can optimize the packing and loading of freight, it will offer lower service prices to customers. Therefore, thanks to AR devices, logistics companies can give their customers better control over the price systems and, as a result, customer trust and loyalty grow.
For most transportation businesses, the last mile delivery is considered an expensive and inefficient step in logistics. The core process requires individualized strategies to work on the most energy-consuming environment, the urban space. This space comprises mostly of the e-commerce market where there is a constant need for fast and free delivery. Even top companies such as UPS, Amazon Alibaba, etc. need to reinvent ways to hide the delivery cost. An example is Amazon’s new creation, Amazon Prime.
The role of AR in the last mile delivery process has provoked futuristic ideas like drones delivery, self-driving cars, and even flying warehouses.
Augmented reality in logistics comes with several key capabilities that can significantly improve the productivity, cost-effectiveness, and overall optimization of your business.
Using AR devices, optimizing warehouse operations like freight picking, packing, and loading becomes easier. Also, improving employee training to provide other services can reduce expenses and increase income for your logistics business. We are not in doubt that altered can revolutionize how supply chains are processed in different logistics companies by improving their effectiveness rather than transforming their structure.