After nearly five years of pilot testing, DHL Supply Chain said it is expanding the deployment of its “smart glasses” vision picking tool across a wider range of warehouses operated by Deutsche Post DHL Group, including the hubs that serve DHL Express.
With its head-up display of digital packaging information that can be seen instantly by warehouse workers, the second generation of Smart Glasses, called the Glass Enterprise Edition, have a longer battery life, a processor that is twice as fast as the original version and shorter charging times.
Introduced as a pilot project in 2015, the digital glasses have become standard in today’s warehouse operations with DHL, the German company said. Using augmented-reality technology to give workers greater hands-free abilities to create a more accurate and efficient picking process. After their successful deployment in DHL Supply Chain facilities, smart glasses will soon be used in DHL Express hubs and several other DHL departments, according to the company.
“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,” said Markus Voss, COO and CIO of DHL Supply Chain.
Following test runs in the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom, the wearables will now be rolled out for use in international express delivery at DHL’s freight hubs in Brussels and at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Further deployments are being planned as well at New York’s JFK International, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD).
The smart glasses and other wearables, such as ring scanners and smartwatches, are already being used commercially in many of DHL’s warehouses, Voss said. “The possibility of object recognition is also particularly promising for us in industrial applications,” he added. “With the corresponding software, it is no longer just possible to read out barcodes, locate products and display the corresponding storage compartment. We expect this to lead to further productivity increases.”