Voice-Based Warehousing Solutions Continue to Evolve to Better Serve a Changing Workforce
By: SupplyChainBrain April 21, 2014
Voice-based warehouse solutions continue to gain converts and to evolve, with the latest iterations bringing in smart phones, tablets and sensors. Jennifer Lachenman, vice president of product strategy at Lucas Systems, says these adaptations better serve a changing workforce.
Warehouse applications that combine voice with other modes such as scanning and display screens have become a requirement in today’s market, says Lachenman. Trending now are multi-sensory solutions that incorporate smart phones and wearables like smart watches to communicate voice and visual images.
“This space is headed toward equipping mobile workers with new technologies that are more friendly and intuitive and that will allow them to be more efficient,” says Lachenman. “It is all about making it easier for mobile workers to do their jobs, making real-time information more accessible and enabling workers to communicate real-time information back to the system.”
These advances are being driven, at least in part, by changing workforce demographics, she says. “With the millennial generation coming in, the mobile workforce is changing,” says Lachenman. “That generation has a very different relationship to technology and their expectations regarding technology are much higher. They are very used to interacting with devices like smart phones and other wearables and they use technology and voice in their everyday lives. That will certainly drive new approaches.”
At the recent MODEX trade show in Atlanta, Lucas Systems introduced a smart phone platform for its voice-based warehouse solutions known as Jennifer. “We will introduce Jennifer on the Samsung Galaxy S4 the first half of this year, beginning with Jennifer Voice,” says Lachenman. She notes that Lucas Systems already has customers that have introduced tablets and smart phones into the warehouse and are using them to view dashboards, create reports and access management software. “What we are doing now is simply extending the power of industrial grade voice applications out to mobile workers on smartphone platforms.” She says.
Lachenman notes that the clarity of voice applications continues to improve. “We use a natural human voice for speech output, which is more intelligible at higher speeds and reduces the cognitive load on mobile workers who might handle thousands of transactions over 8 to 10 hour shifts,” she says.