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The Effortless Human Interface

How Augmented Reality Will Transform Enterprise Logistics

Task execution computer systems, such as Warehouse Management Systems, can be broken down into several main functions:

  1. Information storage. What are the unique pieces of information maintained by this system and no others? In the case of WMS, examples include the bin-level location of all inventory in the warehouse, and the tracking of which employee moved it along the way.
  2. Integration. The system needs information from external systems to perform its tasks, Notification of task progress and completion must be communicated back out.
  3. Decision making. There are many decisions that the system can make better than any human. Why? The system has instant recall of much more information, and an ability to repeat complex algorithms flawlessly regardless of how much sleep it got the night before. Deciding which bin has the best product to fulfill an order, or which worker is the best to fetch it, is truly best left to the software.
  4. Task execution. Here the system meets the human operators to actually get the job done. Instructions are given to the operators, and completion progress is confirmed back to the system. This is our focus at LogistiVIEW.

In the earliest iterations, the systems issued their task instructions via printed reports. Operators would carry them on clipboards and write down information along the way.  Task completion acknowledgements would later be entered back into the system by that mysterious department called “Data Processing.”

Obviously, the ability to change instructions or react to any problems encountered was severely limited.  As well, manually recording information on a printout is cumbersome and error-prone.

Vehicle mounted and handheld RF devices (equipped with scanners) cut out the DP burden and put system communication into the hands of the operators doing the work.  Real-time instruction changes are now possible and information fidelity is improved by scanning, rather than copying, identifying data.

However, human anatomy has not evolved at the same rate as the systems, and therefore we still only have two hands available for productive work.  When one or both of those hands is manipulating a clipboard or a scanner, productivity is lost.

The LogistiVIEW Solution: Effortless Human Interface

Our goal is to enable all of the benefits of the traditional systems, with no physical burden to the humans doing the actual tasks. We call it: Effortless Human Interface™.

We chose these words intentionally. We stopped using the term “User Interface” because it defines the human first in their relationship to the system (a “user”). It is too easy to shift burden to the “users” when you think of them that way. They are already doing the heavy lifting of the actual task. It is time the system should do the heavy lifting of presenting information and capturing progress, making the human’s interaction with the system truly “effortless!”

The LogistiVIEW solution employs wearable technology in this pursuit. Specifically:

  • A head-worn display, which will put visual information in front of the human’s eye, safely. No more effort in positioning a clipboard or screen in the line of sight.
  • A head-worn imager, which can scan bar codes and printed text (OCR), aligned with the human’s line of sight. Whatever the human is looking at, the imager can capture and decode. No more effort in manipulating a scanner.
  • Voice-activated controls, enhancing the human’s ability to navigate through the visual display while performing their tasks. Progress confirmation, instruction acknowledgement, and other simple responses are all naturals for voiced input.
  • Gesture recognition. When complex input is required (such as selection from a menu), and the gesture does not hamper productivity, we will guardedly use it.
  • Location sensing. If we know where the human is in the facility, we know where the closest available printer, scale, carton supply, etc. is. We will not require human input of information we can already discern.

We will soon highlight hardware partners who share our commitment to replacing legacy UI equipment with an Effortless Human Interface. Contact Us to learn more.

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