Seth Patin, chief executive officer and founder of LogistiVIEW, describes the current state and future of vision picking technology in warehouses.
Vision picking technology, as it’s being deployed today in distribution operations, involves the use of “smart” glasses and augmented reality. The worker wears a headset that incorporates a visual display right in front of the eye, as well as providing voice instruction and visual guidance similar to that of a radio-frequency handheld device. “It’s simultaneously vision- and voice-enabled,” says Patin.
The concept has been around at least since 2013, when Google Glass debuted. That product didn’t take off as expected, but both the hardware and software of vision picking have advanced significantly since then, making the technology more popular and adaptable to modern-day warehouses.
The device is most valuable in operations with high-volume and high-value products, Patin says. Vision picking is especially useful in e-commerce operations, where there’s a wide variety of items being handled, and both speed and accuracy are essential. “It’s not just all pallets and cases anymore,” he says. “That has made the complexity of the information that the picker has to process that much higher.”
Training employees on the technology is relatively easy. Once a worker becomes comfortable with wearing the headset, it might take 15 minutes to become acclimated to the device and to navigate its menus. “Usually, you’re up and running on a job within half an hour to an hour later,” Patin says.
Vision picking devices integrate smoothly with other systems in the warehouse, ensuring that data and instructions flow throughout the operation without delays. “Smart glasses are nothing more than another mobile device,” Patin says. “The fact that it’s powerful, and software is written for it, is what gives it the ability to integrate with anything else.”
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.