How Google GLASS could revolutionise distribution centres

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The introduction of consumer technology into supply chain procedures is not something new. Digital imaging, for example, is currently being used for multiple purposes, including proof of delivery, capturing shelf displays and even recording damage for warranty claims.

Other common examples include Real Time Location Systems, used to track goods, and 2D bar codes for shelf location labelling. Google GLASS has the potential to combine all of the above and more.

Optimising GLASS for Warehouses

GLASS is an augmented reality head-mounted display, which provides information to its user. The device is powered by Google’s Android Operating System and can access the internet in order to respond to specific voice commands. The user is also able to share photos and videos, as well as obtain directions and other information relevant to the present environment.

Whilst this technology is still in fairly early stages of development, it is not farfetched to imagine that in the near future a more advanced product will enable a step change in warehouse optimisation. In terms of increasing speed, for example, voice commands would significantly reduce the time warehouse workers need to spend in front of a computer.

Specialised applications could also enable staff to calculate stock levels at a glance, whilst photo sharing would allow workers to report picking points via hand gestures. Although any device would need to be tailored to a warehouse environment, the potential benefits are huge.

A Window of Opportunity

GLASS is still in testing and far from the finished article. However, with many distribution centres currently making significant losses, similar technology has the potential to greatly improve business margins. Supply chain professionals would do well to monitor developments in this space.

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