09 Jul Augmented Reality – Ready for Primetime
Voxware introduced its augmented reality (AR) solution in 2017, combining voice and scanning together with vision and image/video capture. As a leader in innovating the supply chain, and the first provider to offer a cloud-based voice solution, Voxware has remained committed to helping its customers become more productive and efficient.
In Voxware’s AR environment workers safely and easily carry out their tasks using real-time inputs and outputs that ‘’overlay” or augment their usual working experience – making tasks simpler and faster to do.
Each worker sees an unobtrusive screen overlaying their field of vision. Rather than typing out commands, the AR user may simply speak them. And instead of operating a handheld device, the worker may scan a barcode or capture a photo with a simple voice command.
ABI Research conducted an analysis of the key advantages of using AR in supply chain management and developed this list of the top-five benefits:
- AR increases efficiency: Smart glasses allow workers to take a heads-up approach to their tasks. The information they need to do their jobs — such as what items to pick next, how many items to pick, where to pack them, how to navigate a facility and how to repair or install equipment — is right in their fields of vision. This means they don’t have to keep looking down at information sheets or flipping through instruction manuals while they are trying to work. Plus, because some smart glasses can be controlled through head movements or voice commands, workers’ hands are free to constantly be working, rather than fumbling with other papers or devices.
- AR reduces costs: AR devices enable remote users to see what the wearer is seeing. This allows original equipment manufacturers, consultants, repair experts, offsite managers and others to offer remote assistance to a worker. This can cut down on unnecessary travel costs as well as expenses related to downtime while a worker waits for an expert to arrive onsite.
- AR improves safety: Smart glasses can display safety warnings right in the wearer’s field of vision. In addition, because AR devices enable users to work with their heads up, they are less likely to be distracted or injured.
- AR minimizes errors: AR devices overlay virtual models and instructions on the user’s field of vision. This makes it possible to directly apply instructions to the task at hand and receive specific, visual feedback about how to complete the work. Because of the clarity these instructions can provide, workers are less likely to make mistakes.
- AR delivers a fast return on investment: AR devices have been proven to quickly train new employees — or even seasoned employees — learning a new task. This means employees are productive sooner. Smart glasses also help workers find needed items more quickly and accurately through dynamic inspection functions with internet-of-things and machine-vision synergies. In addition, if a problem is encountered while completing a task, information can be immediately pulled up on the smart glasses in order to find a solution, rather than having to leave the work area to find a helpful guideline, checklist or diagram.
As advancements in the technology continue to evolve, Voxware has introduced new capabilities and functionality.
For one of its retail customers, Voxware deployed an AR application for packing orders. With more than 200 unique packing instructions, Voxware’s customer wanted to automate the process for its workers. Another challenge they wanted to overcome was assistance in employee retention and training. On average, it can take this customer 12 weeks or more to train new workers. By automating this workflow, they are reducing training time to a single week.
The companies worked together to digitize all the packing instructions for each end-customer served (store fulfillment/direct to consumer). The worker scans the order at the pack station. From there, the specific packing instructions appear on a screen at the station matching the order with the customer packing instructions. The worker remains hands-free and confirms the actions of each step of the instructions by voice, so the order is packed accurately.
Augmented reality is enabling workers to be more efficient and improve their accuracy in a variety of job functions within the DC. Contact us today to learn more about how AR can improve your distribution operations.