Embrace The Augmented Reality Supply Chain

Although it might sound like something out of science fiction, the augmented reality supply chain is real, and it’s not something to be taken lightly.

Augmented reality is the layering of computerized simulation models on the current surroundings’ physical layout, which is something many people are familiar with now thanks to the Pokemon Go craze. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality entails using the information available to boost the efficiency of supply chain processes.

A type of visual display or glass is typically worn by the user in augmented reality. One example of this can be seen in the use of smart glasses in warehouses. Those donning the glasses can overlay images created by computers onto the physical space. This can also be likened to the yellow scrimmage line used during TV football broadcasts—the line is not actually there, but it’s used to enhance the viewing experience.

Tremendous Growth

This trend is growing at an incredibly rapid pace of 100 percent annually. Estimates place the value of augmented reality at more than $6 billion by next year. The industrial sector looks particularly poised for growth.

Right now, augmented reality (AR) is being used by some companies to help their picking processes. For example, scene recognition can be used to let the camera-operated system find the product, determine if it’s correct, and figure out how to move the next one faster. This information is all displayed by the AR device to the user.

Another application can be seen in transportation optimization. Truck drivers spend as much as 60 percent of their time outside of facilities finding the right order on the truck instead of driving. Augmented reality can help drivers quickly find the shipment’s precise location within the truck, freeing themselves up to spend more time driving and improving overall productivity.

AR looks set to transform a number of processes in the supply chain, from reverse logistics to item repair to picking.

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