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The Use of Augmented Reality Technology in the Parcel Industry

By 3rd February 2015

Even if you haven’t heard of augmented reality it’s likely that you’ve heard of Google Glass or even Oculus Rift, which has recently been acquired by Facebook for two billion dollars.

Augmented reality is a relatively new technology that aims to fuse the physical and digital worlds by seamlessly providing virtual content for the objects we see and interact with. For example, using AR technology, you would be able to look at a product in-store and be presented with real-time information such as reviews and ratings.

One industry that can greatly benefit from augmented reality technology is the parcel industry. Here we will explain some of the ways businesses in the parcel industry could use augmented reality technology to improve their processes.

Parcel picking

One of the ways businesses in the parcel industry could use AR is to assist pickers in the warehouse. Today orders are still largely picked using a pick-by-paper system, which is very time consuming and often results in high levels of inaccuracy.

By simply using AR technology, like smart glasses, warehouse pickers would be able to see navigational data informing them which shelf they needed to access and which items they needed to can instantly, reducing the time it takes to pick parcels and achieving higher rates of accuracy.

This would be particularly beneficial over busy periods, such as the run up to Christmas, when companies often hire temporary staff, who may not know their way around the warehouse very well.

Loading parcels into the delivery vans

One day it’s thought that all parcel delivery vans will be equipped with augmented reality screens.

Another area where AR could potentially improve efficiency is loading parcels into delivery vans. Often parcel delivery drivers struggle to find the right parcel in their vans, once they have reached the destination, however by using AR, they would be able to optimally load the parcels in their vans so they knew that the ones at the front were for their first drop-offs and the ones at back were for their final destinations.

Not only that but they would also be able to load their parcels by weight and use AR technology to find out information such as whether or not the contents are fragile, so they would know to pack the heavier parcels on the bottom and the fragile parcels at the top.

Delivering parcels

Another way the parcel industry could use AR is in their delivery vans. In the future we expect to see delivery vehicles equipped with augmented windshields. This would mean that parcel delivery drivers have access to real-time traffic data, as well as other valuable information, such as alerts from customers that they won’t be in to accept their parcel. This would allow parcels to be delivered more efficiently and prevent drivers from wasting time trying to deliver parcels to houses where no one is in.

Packing parcels

Some companies in the parcel industry are already using augmented reality applications to help customers choose the right box sizes for their items. This allows customers to see different box sizes digitally in front of them, so they can make sure their items fit inside.

This can help customers make significant savings on costs, as they won’t end up buying boxes that are too big for their parcels and end up costing them way more to send.

Conclusion

As you can see, parcel companies can benefit in a number of ways by using augmented reality technology to carry out their operations. Along with improving the efficiency of their processes, it can also help them to make significant cost savings. We are looking forward to seeing how this technology develops and whether or not the big players in the parcel industry choose to adopt it.