Google Glasses are making a comeback as an enterprise-focused device aimed at industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and energy.
Wearable computers like Google Glass never took off with consumers but the Internet-connected eyewear is finding their niche in the logistics industry. The device is aimed exclusively at business customers who gain immediate value from having a head-mounted display, and bypass many of the issues experienced by consumer users, particularly the privacy concerns sparked by wearing a head-mounted camera in public places.
Exel, from DHL Group’s supply-chain management business, is preparing to test “vision picking”— replacing handheld scanners and paper job orders with wearable “smart-glass” devices outfitted with warehouse management software—in two U.S. warehouses later this year.
The devices can tell workers the fastest route to find products and can read bar codes, this reduced the time needed to pick an item and pack it for shipping by 25% in tests at a Dutch warehouse earlier this year, Exel says. The technology has the most application in e-commerce warehouses, where workers might need to find a handful of items out of more than a million individual products, the company said.
“A lot of the large operations need help supporting e-fulfilment, especially with lots of products that might only be available online. It really drives up warehouse complexity,” said Adrian Kumar, vice president for solutions design with Exel.
Mr. Kumar said technology like Google Glass could prove especially useful during peak periods when Exel hires thousands of temporary workers.