Inside Logistics

DHL sees way to second gen smart glasses

Google Glass making inroads with Enterprise Edition

May 24, 2019

After a successful introduction of the first generation Google Glass, DHL is rolling out the next version across supply chain and logistics operations.

BONN – DHL is one of the inaugural customers for the second-generation of Google Glass Enterprise Edition.

Smart Glasses were successfully piloted at DHL Supply Chain in early 2015 before they were made standard in the company’s warehouse operations. Following test runs in the U.S., Europe and the UK, the contract logistics company has rolled out this technology step by step over the past few years and is now using vision picking, a picking process supported with augmented reality, in most geographical regions.

DHL Express is also using smart glasses at its freight hubs in Brussels, Belgium, and at Los Angeles Airport. Further deployments are planned at New York, Cincinnati and Chicago airports.

“With the second generation of Glass Enterprise Edition, we can now provide our customers and employees with even more powerful, technically optimized smart glasses,” said Markus Voss, COO and CIO of DHL Supply Chain.

“The possibility of object recognition is also particularly promising for us in industrial applications. With the corresponding software, it is no longer just possible to read out barcodes, locate products and display the corresponding storage compartment; in future, also complex objects can be identified with the smart glasses. We expect this to lead to further productivity increases from which our employees and our customers will benefit equally.”

The latest generation of smart glasses have longer battery life, a processor that is twice as fast, and shorter charging times. According to the manufacturer, the devices are also much more robust.

“These glasses and other wearables such as ring scanners and smart watches are already being used commercially in many of our warehouses. While these applications are only one part of a company-wide digitization strategy at DHL Supply Chain, that includes the use of robots, drones, autonomous vehicles and many other technologies, I am particularly pleased with the positive feedback from the colleagues who work with these wearables on a daily basis,” Voss said.

“The operation is so intuitive, their hands are free to “pick” and the visual support helps to locate the products really fast and sort them into the intended trolley boxes. Our colleagues are perfectly equipped to carry out picking quickly.”