Originally Posted at VMblog.com
AI Brings Contactless, Bi-Directional Chain-Of-Custody
By Ned Hill, Position Imaging
As we put 2020 in our rearview mirror and welcome 2021, we also welcome new technology advances that are arriving to help us manage the changing needs of the world around us. Artificial intelligence will continue to evolve, playing a more prominent role in logistics and last-mile delivery to manage and streamline the huge volume of online purchases made every day. Artificial intelligence and computer vision will bring a higher level of visibility for packages in transit and confirmation of arrival at their final destination, improving both efficiency and security. Some of the key use cases for these new smart technologies will be to improve the operation of package and product holding areas such as package rooms in residential facilities and inventory shelving areas in retail and commercial enterprises.
Part of these evolving “smart technologies” will be a new breed of intelligent user interfaces that will virtually eliminate the need for any human interactions while retrieving packages or dropping off items for returns. Computer vision, through innovations from companies like Position Imaging, has advanced to the extent that delivery solutions can now offer self-service and true contactless package retrieval at apartment complexes and work environments as well as Buy Online Pick up In Store (BOPIS) items and drop-offs for purchase returns at store locations.
Traditionally, organizations have concentrated on improving standard supply chain logistics, but the pandemic of 2020 has forced companies to also think about the reverse logistics chain as well e.g. diminishing the hassle of returning items. With the use of artificial intelligence and computer vision, an end-to-end chain-of-custody can be established that includes returns where the person returning an item has confirmation of the drop-off and also will receive full visibility into who, when, and where the carrier engaged. This new functionality drastically changes the reverse logistics process and gives the person proof of a return with a digital breadcrumb trail of the object in the chain-of-custody. This new tech-enabled solution increases the speed of the return process, provides emotional satisfaction that the returned item is being monitored until the final destination, and the relief that it has all been accomplished without unnecessary human contact.
2020 emphasized the need for efficient and contactless pickups and returns and 2021 will continue this transformation in the logistics process. Bringing all of this to life is a new breed of artificial intelligence and computer vision that will remove the majority of touchpoints and interactions throughout the last mile delivery chain. These technologies will provide additional process and package management visibility, improving delivery chain-of-custody, improving security, efficiency, and safety.
About the Author
Ned Hill is the founder and CEO of Position Imaging (PI), a pioneer in the field of advanced tracking technologies. Under Ned’s strategic vision and guidance, PI has developed an industry leading tracking solution, utilized computer vision and laser guidance to simplify item delivery, and created unique AI-based technologies. These combine to improve logistics efficiency and continuous visibility to items at any stage in the process. Ned has raised close to 20 million
in funding, driven product development, and created a partner ecosystem of industry leaders in hardware (Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Intel), software (Microsoft, Salesforce), solutions (Zebra, Lozier), and service (Bell and Howell). Ned is the inventor or co-inventor of over 50 patents/patent applications and a speaker at industry conferences including CES, Live Free and Start, and at MIT.