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QuestionThe summer of 2016 saw the craze of augmented reality gaming app ‘Pokémon Go’ sweep the world. Explain why augmented reality may be the future of supply chains.
AnswerThe Pokémon Go gaming app swept the world in the summer of 2016, due to the ability of the app to overlay “a virtual world of fictional creatures onto maps and images of the real world using mobile phones and digital cameras” (Cassidy, 2016). This function of the application displays the essence of augmented reality, and some analysists indicate that the ability of augmented reality technology to add to reality may be the future for supply chains (Verdouw et al., 2013). Although a fresh concept, with little research done on the phenomena, logistics provider DHL are already exploring the use of augmented reality technology in their supply chains, and indicate a number of ways that it may be useful (Robinson, 2016). For picking and freight/container loading, augmented reality can optimise the process, by providing a digital list, as well as routes to get to the item in the quickest way, through headwear technology (such as Google Glasses) (Robinson, 2016). When planning facilities, augmented reality technology will facilitate workflow modelling, field test rearrangements and test measurements, before construction has even begun, whilst the technology may also form a natural successor for GPS systems in transportation (Robinson, 2016). Although clearly augmented reality technology has the potential to advance supply chains greatly, there may be some setbacks to firms willing to invest. Whereas in the long-term the use of such technologies will give great cost and time reductions to those employing them, particularly in the logistics industry where timing is key, in the short-term the conversion to this technology may accrue high costs. Furthermore, it is important that the supply chain actors are aware of the protocols for using augmented reality technologies and for completing actions without the use of such, so that risk is mitigated should the technology ever lapse or fail (Christopher, 2011).
ReferencesCassidy, W.B. (2016) ‘How technology like Pokémon Go could capture supply chains.’ JOC. [Online] 16th September [Accessed on 9 October 2016] http://www.joc.com/international-logistics/logistics-technology/how-technology-pokemon-go-could-capture-supply-chains_20160916.html Christopher, M. (2011) Logistics and Supply Chain Management. 4th eds. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education. Robinson, A. (2016) ‘2016 Supply Chain Trends: 7 of 12 Trends that Will Drive Supply Chain Management in 2016.’ Cerasis. [Online] [Accessed on 9 October 2016] http://cerasis.com/2016/01/04/2016-supply-chain-trends/ Verdouw, C.N., Beulens, A.J.M. and Van Der Vorst, J.G.A.J. (2013) ‘Virtualisation of floricultural supply chains: A review from an Internet of Things perspective.’ Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 99, pp. 160-175.
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