The future of the digital global supply chain looks, well, weird. With small, almost imperceptible actions, assembly line operators move their arms and hands to control computer screens from across the room. Technicians examine and rotate virtual 3D objects by simply tilting their hands. Maintenance engineers flick their hands through the air as if directing an invisible orchestra seated in front of them.
No, this isn’t the latest sequel of Minority Report. It’s the latest advance in wearable technology–powered by German-based high-tech startup Kinemic GmbH. And it promises to transform the digital supply chain at every data entry point.
Deus ex machina
In a traditional factory environment, operators move back and forth between equipment and computer terminals to document work steps. This not only costs valuable time but also risks injury. Kinemic changes all of that. By empowering operators to run supply chain software at a distance, Kinemic helps them perform complex tasks with simple gestures–without disrupting workflows.
As businesses look for intelligent ways to digitize and strengthen their supply chains, Kinemic’s technologies provide an innovative set of options. The company’s hardware and software lets operators and technicians perform complex data entry tasks without ever touching a computer mouse, keyboard, or screen. With simple hand and arm gestures, for example, workers can order supplies, edit checklists, navigate work instructions, and more. It’s a powerful platform for boosting productivity, efficiency, and safety.
Sleight of hand
Kinemic is already busily transforming the supply chains of major companies. At Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railway, maintenance technicians use Kinemic wristbands with smart glasses to digitally document their work steps. This new way of working allows employees to perform complex railroad operations, maintain equipment, and reorder replacement parts on site and on demand–with little more than simple up-and-down arm movements.
Go with the data flow
The deep integration between Kinemic and corporate data has the potential to unleash the power of gesture control across an entire digital supply chain. Operators, for example, can directly check real-time information in software systems. They can then quickly react to errors, damage, or machine failure before they bring down the entire supply chain.
“If you’ve ever waved at someone, you already know what it’s like to use Kinemic,” says Kinemic founder and CEO Christoph Amma. “We’re making computers understand this type of human communication. It makes interacting with them much easier and reduces effort.”
Operators can track potential glitches in 3-D as they happen. They can then quickly respond by inspecting parts, building materials, or entire systems–even if they’re 15 meters out of reach. It’s a whole new superpower for the supply chain.
Touching the future
Kinemic believes that the factory environment of the future should be happier, not just more efficient. After all, operators and maintenance technicians do what they do because they like their jobs. And that’s a bright prospect, indeed. Because with wearables and gesture control, workers everywhere will be free to do what they do best–while digital processes run in the background.
Kinemic is part of the SAP Startup Accelerator for Digital Supply Chain.