Press release

Warehousing Pressures Driving Substantial Investment in Augmented Reality, Voice Solutions, and People Tracking

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Demand for warehousing facilities has been steadily increasing thanks to
the strength of international trade and the continual growth of
e-commerce. With customer expectations for rapid delivery rising,
warehouses are struggling to process the increased volumes of goods
passing through facilities in time. The problem is compounded by labor
shortages and staffing challenges. The need to adopt technology to
alleviate these issues is driving significant investment in Augmented
Reality (AR), voice-directed solutions, and Real-Time Location Systems
(RTLS) for workforce analytics. By 2025, global spending on AR in
warehousing will reach over US$23 billion, US$3.3 billion will be spent
on voice solutions, and RTLS will grow to 500,000 implementations for
people tracking across all verticals, according to ABI Research, a
market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most
compelling transformative technologies.

“Fulfilling higher order volumes is difficult when warehouses are
struggling to hire and maintain staff, and automation is
cost-prohibitive for many distributors,” said Nick Finill, Senior
Analyst at ABI Research. “Warehouses are therefore increasingly using
digital tools that can empower the human worker, deliver efficiency
gains, and also reduce the time it takes to onboard new or temporary
staff.”

Augmented Reality is finally starting to gain mass appeal in industrial
sectors, thanks to maturing technologies and demonstrable ROI from early
adopters. Voice-directed solutions represent a considerably older
technology but are also undergoing a technological revolution thanks to
deep learning-based voice recognition that vastly improves ease-of-use
and reliability. These solutions are both being leveraged to assist the
warehouse workforce by providing operational instructions in a clear and
hands-free way.

The drive for digitally-enabled workforce productivity in the warehouse
is incorporating the human worker into the Internet of Things at a rapid
pace. The increased use of RTLS technologies, such as Bluetooth Low
Energy, Wi-Fi tracking, and RFID, are allowing warehouse operators to
analyze productivity of the workforce, as well as the movement of
physical assets. Workers can be monitored in a way that respects privacy
while generating valuable operational data that can drive workforce
efficiency over time.

Companies such as RealWare, Kontakt.io, Panasonic, Lucas Systems, and
TopSystem are providing warehouses with a wide range of technology
solutions that can provide incremental advantages. Driving productivity
in this way can be an attractive alternative to more expensive
automation projects, which is a concurrent trend in warehousing with the
potential to transform operations in the longer term.

“The combination of multiple devices and technology solutions can have a
positive compound effect on workforce productivity,” concluded Finill.
“However, companies must be smart about how they integrate multiple
technical solutions within the same stack to ensure they remain
complementary and ROI is maximized.”

These findings are from ABI Research’s ‘Devices and Solutions for
Workforce Productivity in Warehouse Logistics’ technology analysis
report. This report is part of the company’s Intelligent
Supply Chain service
, which includes research, data, and analyst
insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Technology
Analysis
reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and
factors for a specific technology.

About ABI Research

ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market
foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which
reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business
models and drive new revenue streams. ABI’s own research visionaries
take stances early on those technologies, publishing groundbreaking
studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms. ABI
analysts deliver their conclusions and recommendations in easily and
quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper context. Our analysts
strategically guide visionaries to take action now and inspire their
business to realize a bigger picture. For more information about
subscribing to ABI’s Research Services as well as Industrial and Custom
Solutions, visionaries can contact us at +1.516.624.2500 in the
Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe, +65.6592.0290 in Asia-Pacific or
visit www.abiresearch.com.