A promised 15% improvement in warehouse worker productivity has led DHL Supply Chain to roll out the use of “smart glasses” across its network.

It began testing the technology in 2015, and the experience has convinced sister-company DHL Express to deploy it at its freight hubs in Brussels and Los Angeles, with further deployments planned at New York, Cincinnati and Chicago.

Meanwhile, US-based Neovia Logistics has placed an order for 85 smart glass units from Picavi, one of the 16 tech firms supporting Googles’s Glass project.

The upsurge in smart glasses interest comes following the development of the Glass Enterprise Edition 2 from Google, “which offers longer battery life, a processor that is twice as fast, and shorter charging times. According to the manufacturer, the devices are also much more robust.”

“With the second generation of Glass Enterprise Edition, we can now provide our customers and employees with even more powerful, technically optimised smart glasses.

“The possibility of object recognition is also particularly promising for us in industrial applications. With the corresponding software, it is no longer just possible to read out barcodes, locate products and display the corresponding storage compartment; in future, also complex objects can be identified with the smart glasses,” explained Markus Voss, chief operating and information officer of DHL Supply Chain.

Neovia began testing 10 units in 2018 and found training and ramp-up time for new employees cut by up to 60% and picking efficiency rise 8-10%.

Larry Olson, Neovia Logistics director of global business technology solutions, said: “Innovation is key to Neovia continuing to be a leader within the 3PL space and assisted reality has been on our radar for some time. We had been searching for an AR leader in the industry, and after evaluating multiple concepts and suppliers, we selected Picavi as a partner for a pilot project near Indianapolis at one of our larger customer sites.”

Glass project lead Jay Kothari said: “The Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is a state-of-the-art product designed for the needs of logistics. The smart glasses enable fast, flexible and ergonomic order picking processes, while ensuring maximum transparency and keeping error rates to a minimum. They also help us support our partners like Picavi, who contributed their wide-ranging expertise in intralogistics and wearables.”

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