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Global Logistics Focus Sept.19, 2016

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2016 GLOBAL LOGISTICS FOCUS SPECIAL REPORT THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 13A York-based company. In the warehouse envi- ronment, it says, Vuzix Smart Glasses improve the process of manual order picking, manag- ing fl ows of incoming and outgoing goods, sorting and packing goods, and keeping track of inventory. According to Vuzix forecasts, the number of American workers using its enterprise-focused devices will outpace par- allel growth in consumer sector wearables. The total number of Vuzix users will expand more than 30-fold from 400,000 workers in 2017 to 14.4 million in 2025. Among wearables, a less mature but equally promising segment are wearable, mechatronic ergonomic devices, such as the Chairless Chair made by Switzerland- based Noonee. When fixed to a worker's haunches, it allows the worker to put his or her weight on the exo-skeleton, as if sitting on a chair, thus lessening the stress and strain of workers who stand for long periods in manu- facturing plants and distribution centers. Another way to view new devices is to consider their role within the burgeoning Internet of Things, the highly touted net- work of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items that will be embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connections that enable all of these objects to collect and exchange data. Third-party logistics providers are play- ing a key role in making wearable devices into components of the IoT, according to Gonzalez. In a key move toward that goal, some 3PLs, such as Chattanooga, Tennes- see-based Kenco, are using the Microsoft HoloLens as the fi rst fully self-contained device to interact with high-defi nition holo- grams in their working environments. "I am seeing 3PLs taking the lead role, maybe because their customers are pushing them to take a big role in investigating these technologies," Gonzalez said. "While a lot of manufacturers and retailers may not have the budget, the resources, and opportunity to test out (new wearable technologies by them- selves), they may work with 3PLs to look into the use of a technology to see if there are any win-win benefi ts" it can provide. Those kinds of productivity improve- ments for the 3PL also wind up lowering costs for 3PLs' customers, the manufactur- ers and retailers. DHL has been particularly aggressive in leveraging these kinds of technologies, whether Vuzix glasses or the robots, Gon- zalez added. Although DHL has made its pilot tests public, some 3PLs don't want to talk about their programs because they may view them as cracking the code on some of these new technologies, thus losing some of their potential competitive advantage. DHL, for example, announced in 2015 that it had carried out a pilot project test- ing smart glasses and augmented reality in a warehouse in the Netherlands. In that project, Ricoh, the Japanese imaging and

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