The massive popularity of augmented reality game Pokémon Go provides a hint of what augmented reality technology may do for other industries. The technology does not replace the outside world, but it blends digital capabilities within a real-world experience. In the transportation industry, augmented reality is poised to change the way companies think about supply-chain management.
The Rise of Augmented Technology Solutions
Google tried its hand at augmented reality with the launch of the first generation of Google Glass in 2013. Unfortunately, uses for the device were limited, and the augmented reality glasses did not catch on the way the tech giant expected. Today, every smartphone has the potential to serve its user with augmented technology solutions. Microsoft’s HoloLens goggles are just now entering the marketplace, but early reviews suggest the product offers more than Google’s dainty glasses.
Industries are already finding uses for augmented solutions. The Daqri Smart Helmet is on the market today, and businesses currently use the device to look into potentially faulty pipes and bring working directions into the actual job site. The ability to overlay digital information onto the real world has the potential to change every industry – from education to manufacturing.
Augmented Reality in Transportation
In the field of trucking and transportation, augmented reality may revolutionize the way truck drivers interact with motor-carrier routing messages, the way distribution centers log and mange freight, and the way service personnel address maintenance issues and repairs. Business outcomes associated with the technology may include faster delivery times, better freight arrangements, and less down time.
DHL Supply Chain recently partnered with Google, Ubimax, and Vuzix to create an augmented reality program focused on improving warehouse picking activities. The program allows warehouse workers to use a glasses-based interface to scan a trolley, locate and pick the appropriate order items, and place the order in the appropriate trolley boxes. The solution improves the accuracy and efficiency of the picking process.
While few companies use augmented reality solutions today, the shift toward augmented reality shipping is beginning to take place. From managing supply chain assets to identifying and addressing problems, augmented reality puts usable data in the hands of everyday workers.
Challenges of Augmented Reality Solutions Today
Augmented reality solutions hold a great deal of promise in the transportation industry, but widespread use is still years down the road. Battery life, cost of implementation, and usability serve as three barriers to adoption. Companies currently must work hard to develop customized solutions alongside augmented-reality hardware providers. Few out-of-the-box options exist, and few companies have the resources needed to invest in a custom-built solution.
While augmented reality hardware seems expensive, these efficiency-boosting outcomes may make the investment worthwhile for many organizations. Companies that are uninterested in augmented-reality goggles, glasses, or helmets, may start to consider using existing smart devices as insight-driven augmented reality solutions.
As the augmented reality industry ramps up, transportation companies must consider their current shipping challenges and the costs/benefits of investing in augmented reality. Current market predictions indicate the augmented and virtual reality market will reach a valuation of $162 billion over the next few years. With such a rapid growth projection, today may be a good time to think about augmented reality solutions in your own organization.