Supply Chain News

How Augmented Reality and Apple Will Transform Retail & Logistics Supply Chains

From B2C to B2B, augmented reality has the potential to change the world in many ways, in this article we describe the top five ways this new revolutionary technology could potentially change retail, logistics, and the supply chain.

Earlier this month, Apple announced its arrival to the augmented reality (AR) party with the release of Apple ARKit, a new framework for building AR experiences on iOS devices (iPhone and iPad).

AR and its sister technology, virtual reality (VR), have been on the horizon for years, but in AR’s inaugural uses, it’s either fallen flat (Google Glass) or it’s been elementary (Pokémon Go).

We have yet to see an implementation that has the potential for mass adoption… until now. Apple’s participation somehow makes augmented reality feel more like, well, a reality.

What’s the difference between AR and VR?

  • Virtual reality: Artificial, computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment. It requires stand-alone technologies such as headsets and controllers to immerse users and make them feel like they’re experiencing that reality first-hand - including visuals and audio.
  • Augmented reality: Layers virtual elements onto the real world. It blends digital components and the real-world imagery and can be experienced through smartphone and tablet devices.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering

“With iOS 11, we’re delivering the biggest AR platform in the world”Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering

Of the two, many have predicted that AR would be first to reach mass adoption. Apple’s announcement furthers that claim, as ARKit will be inherently available through iOS 11 upgrades - creating “hundreds of millions” of iOS devices that are ARKit-enabled almost instantly.

According to Apple’s Newsroom and Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering:

“With iOS 11, we’re delivering the biggest AR platform in the world, and it’s available today for developers to begin building AR experiences using ARKit for hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users.”

It goes on to say:

“Apple is introducing a new platform for developers to help them bring high-quality AR experiences to iPhone and iPad using the built-in camera, powerful processors and motion sensors in iOS devices. ARKit allows developers to tap into the latest computer vision technologies to build detailed and compelling virtual content on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design, and more.”

We all remember the phenomenon of Pokémon Go, which had 28.5 million daily users at its peak. Though rudimentary, it gave the masses their first glimpse into a future with AR. iOS 11 will be available in the fall and will immediately put AR-enabled devices in the hands of millions of consumers. So, besides gaming, what will businesses do with it?

From B2C to B2B, AR has the potential to change the world in many ways, here are the top five ways AR will change retail and the supply chain:

ONE. Closing the Gap on Indecision
One of the more obvious use cases for AR is how it will improve eCommerce shopping experiences by creating a new kind of “showrooming.” From virtual fitting rooms to spatial projection, AR applications will increase conversion rates by eliminating uncertainties that, until now, have been inherent in online shopping.

For apparel, virtual fitting rooms will make it easier for customers to “try on” clothes from home. With an estimated 30% of online apparel sales returned, being able to “see” how something will fit before buying it will reduce the number of returns and, theoretically, convert more sales while boosting customer satisfaction.

For items like homegoods, some companies are using AR for spatial projection. IKEA, one of the few that are spearheading this effort, is working with Apple ARKit to create an app that overlays IKEA products onto whatever image is in a user’s camera frame (ie. living room). Customers can use AR technology to better envision how products will fit in a given environment - both dimensionally and aesthetically.

TWO. Let’s Get Personal
One of the biggest trends in eCommerce is personalization - of which there are many different forms: navigational, predictive recommendations, personalized content, dynamic remarketing, and more.

What started as adding “Frequently Bought With” and “You Might Also Like” promotions on product pages that leveraged large sets of generic buying behavior has evolved into recommendations based on individual customer data.

But, up until now a lot of personalization efforts have only relied on behavioral data. With AR, retailers can take personalization a step further by using technology to further immerse customers in the buying experience. Customers can come closer to interacting with products; they become almost tangible.

From an interactive perspective, retailers can help buyers be more confident about their online purchases.

“This couch will fit perfectly here.”

“This grouping of picture frames will fit on my wall.”

“These sunglasses are the perfect shape for my face.”

The list goes on.

THREE. It’s Here, It’s There, It’s Everywhere
Apple ARKit will make AR-enabled devices ubiquitous. Additional devices and controllers aren’t required like they are for VR, and it will be available within months.

Currently the number of active Apple users is more than 1 billion, with more than 800 million iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) in active use around the world. As more and more of these users update to iOS 11, it’s easy to predict that there will be hundreds of millions of ARKit-enabled devices in use with AR-capable apps downloaded.

What that means for retailers and brands is that development on apps should start immediately. With ARKit, Apple has promised better object scaling and says it uses a fraction of the phone’s CPU - something other AR apps haven’t quite yet accomplished. Better battery life hasn’t historically been Apple’s strong suit, but enabling a technology that’s kinder on the battery than its AR counterparts could be a start.

FOUR. Apple ARKit Will Evolve B2B
AR will change retail and B2C, and the same can be said for B2B.  

B2B eCommerce sales are projected to outpace B2C sales by 2020. Similarly, mobile commerce growth is outpacing desktop eCommerce. In combination, B2B and mobile commerce growth create a perfect storm for AR apps to innovate B2B operations.

Whether it’s for spatial planning for new office spaces and interiors, or creating simulations to train employees, AR’s ability to layer digital components onto reality will remove a lot of today’s manual processes.

A very basic example is the potential to quickly translate other languages with an AR app. Google Translate’s feature, Word Lens, can quickly scan an image that contains text and translate it into more than 30 languages in real-time.

FIVE (SIX) (SEVEN). “See” Supply Chain Operations Differently
Business use cases also extend to how AR will transform logistics. This section has several dimensions:

  • Warehouse planning
  • Pick-and-pack services
  • Last mile of delivery

Warehouse Planning
As warehousing operations transform into more than just storage facilities and distribution locations, layouts will have to change to accommodate varying sections of business; for example, product assembly, labelling, and more. With AR, new arrangements can be planned at full-scale to more accurately test placement and workflow before implementation.

Pick-and-Pack Services
For many warehouses, pick-and-pack services, especially during peak season, are completed by temporary workers. Implementing an AR solution for pick-and-pack activities has shown significant improvements in productivity by shortening the learning curve and providing constant picking validation that updates the WMS in real-time.

Operationally, it can be used to overlay boxes in the warehouse to show contents that need to be picked and reduce the time it takes to manually identify items. Once a package is ready for shipping, AR tools can be used to reveal order ship times and handling instructions for when carriers arrive.

Last Mile Delivery
Last Mile Delivery is the most expensive step for eCommerce retailers. As customer bases grow and are more spread out, getting products shipped to customers cost-effectively has become a priority for many retailers.

According to a DHL Trend Research report, it’s estimated that drivers spend 40-60% of their time locating the correct boxes within their truck for the next delivery. For many, this process relies on their memory of how the truck was loaded. An AR app could be used to streamline the time it takes to identify packages upon delivery and reduce the time it takes now to figure out what package goes where.

Additionally, much of Last Mile Delivery logistics has to do with actual navigation. When a driver is delivering to a location for the first time or has to navigate the interior of a building, AR can be used to overlay the environment and show directions. If there aren’t any directions available, a driver could add markers to update an independent database - essentially crowdsourcing users to build out the database.

CONCLUSION
There’s a lot of market potential for AR and Apple’s involvement makes it feel like it’s actually here. Innovative retailers and businesses will look at AR as an opportunity.

For B2C and B2B sales, it’s a chance to provide customers with more information during the buying journey and instill confidence in the purchases being made. For businesses, AR will help streamline operations, planning initiatives, training, and executing against demand.

But AR is just the first step.

Society will become more comfortable with AR, and as that happens, the opportunity for virtual reality will start to make more sense than Google’s release of Google Glass a few years ago. Apple ARKit reduces the gap between today’s technology and tomorrow’s and creates a stepping stone to VR-enabled devices.

Though AR and VR have been on the horizon for years, Apple ARKit makes the future feel a little closer than it has before.

Source: FLEXE Blog

Related Article: The Emerging “Uberization” of Dynamic On-Demand Warehousing for eCommerce

Augmented Reality in Logistics
Changing the way we see logistics – a DHL Perspective

Download the Paper

The next big wave of change in the logistics industry might just come in the form of Augmented Reality technology. Download Now!

 

Related Dynamic On-Demand Warehousing White Papers

Download the Paper

Dynamic Warehousing Strategies: On-Demand Warehousing For E-Commerce
There is a strong case that not only does dynamic warehousing offer a cost efficient way for small ecommerce retailers to offer high service levels in a flexible fashion, but it is likely to become a standard way of contracting for warehousing. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Chasing Amazon: Building a Dynamic Warehouse Network
Most of Amazon’s competitors are feverishly playing catch-up, and if your company is among them, reassessing your supply chain design, particularly pricing and quick delivery, is a good place to start. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Warehouse Capacity Economics and Trends
This paper explores the data and economics behind warehouse capacity and inventory issues, and illustrates how on-demand warehousing can provide a specific, right-sized option when extra space is needed and how to monetize space when it is unused. Download Now!


Article Topics
Videos   Trends   Supply Chain   Supply Chain Optimization   Apple   Augmented Reality   All topics


Comments
Be the first to post a comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Login.

 
Latest Supply Chain News
ONE Blockchain Platform to Provide Enhanced Transparency and Security for Supply Chains
One Network Enterprises new blockchain platform solution mitigates threats in pharmaceutical authentication & serialization, food safety, and recall management.

One Network Earns Top Billing in Nucleus Research’s Annual Control Tower Value Matrix
Complimentary report from Nucleus Research recognizes One Network's real-time value network for control tower capabilities and for helping companies gain end-to-end visibility.

Amazon’s Ever-Increasing Ecommerce Shipping Costs
Amazon is growing fast, and so are the costs of getting people the products they order from the online ecommerce retailer, and as time goes by, Amazon has to spend a higher percentage of its net sales…

Navigating Ecommerce with Your Existing Supply Chain Relationships & Capabilities
The rules for success in e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment are still being written, however, you can minimize the risks and costs of scaling your operations, and get to market faster, by leveraging…


 

24|7 Pro Team

The 24|7 Team is your direct pipeline to solutions for your business challenges. It's your opportunity to have supply chain and logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information.

The 24|7 Team will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

1
  Choose a topic for your RFP

Transportation RFP/RFI

The Transportation RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your transportation challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific transportation challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect software or system can be an indomitable challenge. Using this transportation/TMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

Warehouse/DC Management RFP/RFI

The Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your WMS challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific WMS challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect WMS solution can be an indomitable challenge. Using this WMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your WMS Request for Proposal list.

Supply Chain RFP/RFI

The Supply Chain RFP is your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and receive free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information. It simplifies finding a pool of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list. The companies in the Logistics Planner have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up, and your request is totally confidential.

Software/Technology RFP/RFI

The Software/Technology is your direct pipeline to solutions for your logistics information technology challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific technology challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request. Whether it's WMS, TMS, Mobile or Cloud, our pros can help.

The companies listed below have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up. Your request is totally confidential.

Executive Education RFI

The Logistics and Supply Chain Education RFI can help you identify the schools, coursework, continuing education, distance learning and certification opportunities available from leading logistics educational institutions.

Upgrade and improve your logistics and supply chain skillsets. Whatever route you choose—advanced degree, executive education, certification or distance learning—the time and money you invest in your education today can pay off in continued career success tomorrow. Contact leading universities and professional institutions for the information you need to prepare for the future.

Third Party Logistics RFP/RFI

This 3PL Request for Proposal (RFP)/Request for Information (RFI) can help you find the 3PL and 4PL providers that can meet your specific 3PL service challenges and needs. The 3PL companies below will provide free, no-obligation third-party logistics advice, solutions, and information.

Ask your 3PL questions, you'll get answers. Simply complete the information, and detail your 3PL challenges. Then, check off the third-party logistics companies that you want to review your request.

1. Choose an RFI topic.
2. Enter your contact information and challenge.
3. Select companies and optional categories.
4. Submit.


2

Your Information



Your Challenge, Problem or Request *

3

Select Transportation Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • One Network
  • Pitt Ohio
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SEKO Logistics
  • SMC3


Select Relevent Categories

  • Air Freight
  • Intermodal
  • Motor Freight
  • Ocean Freight
  • Rail Freight
  • TMS

Select Warehouse/DC Management Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Swisslog
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Auto ID & Data Capture
  • Automation
  • Conveyors & Sortation
  • Lift Trucks
  • Packaging & Labeling
  • Pallets & Containers
  • Shelving & Racking
  • WMS

Select Supply Chain Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • 3PL Central
  • Amber Road
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • APICS
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Global Trade
  • Inventory Management
  • Risk Management
  • Sustainability

Select Software/Technology Companies

  • Select All

  • 3GTMS
  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • BluJay Solutions
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Swisslog Logistics
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • ERP
  • Sales & Operations
  • Sourcing/Procurement
  • Optimization
  • Transportation Mgmt
  • Warehouse Mgmt

Select Executive Education Choices

  • Select All

  • Graduate Courses
  • Online/Distance
  • Executive Education
  • Certifications
  • Undergraduate
  • Seminars
  • Associations
  • Conferences
  • Tradeshows


Select Third Party Logistics Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Purolator
  • SEKO Logistics
  • Westfalia Technologies


4
 

24|7 Company Profiles