How CIOs Can Learn From and Apply Changi Airport’s Innovative Use of Augmented Reality

Changi airport recently introduced Augmented Reality (AR) technology for its ground crew. Targeted to bring down the flight waiting time for passengers, the technology comes in the form of smart glasses providing instructions to the staff and is being used in cargo loading.


Currently around 600 of the ramp handling staff at the airport has been equipped with these AR glasses with plans for a full roll out by mid-2018.


According to a report in Mashable, this is how it works: a ground handler loading cargo onto the plane can now see and scan a virtual QR code displayed on cargo or baggage containers instead of having to look things up with paper manuals or search for labels. The glasses display the information pertaining to weight, loading sequence and allocated position within the aircraft.


It is expected to cut down the loading time from 60 minutes to 45 minutes, bringing down the overall waiting time for passengers.


However, this business use case of AR at Changi Airport need not be restricted to the airport sector alone. It can be applied to a shop floor or even a warehouse scenario where the process of handling materials and consignments can be similarly optimized.


In fact, two years back DHL carried out a pilot project testing smart glasses and augmented reality in a warehouse in the Netherlands. It was used to implement ‘vision picking’ in warehousing operations. The staff was guided through the warehouse by graphics displayed on the smart glass to speed up the picking process and reduce errors. The displays showed the respective task information during the picking process, including aisle, product location and quantity. There was a 25% improvement in efficiency during the picking process.


Processes like unloading of consignment, putting it in the correct place and locating it, which can easily take up a few hours can be brought down drastically through the use of AR. The technology can become relevant for even more supply chain areas.


It will be worthwhile for CIOs with significant supply chain and logistics processes to consider AR as a viable option to optimize operations.

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