Logistics is sweet spot for augmented reality

by MM&D Staff

As one of the first markets to adopt and deploy augmented reality, logistics will continue to be a leading vertical for Augmented Reality (AR) glasses shipments and total value chain revenues over the next five years.

According to a recent ABI Research report, “Augmented Reality in Warehousing and Logistics”, logistics will account for 24 percent of global smart glasses shipments in 2017. These shipments are expected to generate revenue of US$52.9 million in 2017, and will grow to US$4.4 billion in 2022.

“AR smart glasses’ pick-by-vision capability frees workers’ hands of traditional paper lists and picking instructions and enables them to work comfortably, safely, and efficiently in warehouses. AR streamlines the work process, and in turn offers compelling ROI to adopters through reduced errors and higher efficiency,” says Marina Lu, senior analyst at ABI Research.

“Another primary enterprise-focused use case for AR, ‘See What I See’ (remote expertise), can drastically reduce travel costs and optimize resources by resolving issues with AR’s real-time remote support that enables communication with remote colleagues, and displays all relevant information like guidelines, and check lists in the field of view.”

After completing smart glasses trials in numerous pilot sites across the US, mainland Europe, the UK, and the Netherlands, DHL Supply Chain decided to expand AR solutions across different industry sectors globally, as average productivity has universally improved by at least 15 percent. DHL has partnered with hardware companies including Vuzix (M100 and M300 Smart Glasses) and Google, along with software provider Ubimax, for their AR logistics solutions.

General Electric has seen significant performance improvement in warehousing and logistics as well, citing a 46 percent performance increase using smart glasses on Upskill’s Skylight platform.

“These early use cases, mainly pick and pack and remote expertise, will always be prevalent, although new use cases will continue to add potential market value. More universal AR use cases, including maintenance and repair, training, and navigation, can be incredibly useful in various parts of the logistics market,” concludes Eric Abbruzzese, principal analyst at ABI.

“While device concerns around comfort, battery, usability, and robustness do persist, advancements in smart glasses, as well as the quickly growing AR-powered mobile device space, promise to lessen these concerns over time.”