Augmented reality is likely most well-known in video games, but it has uses in many other areas. One you might not have considered is warehouse operations.
The Cary-based startup LogistiVIEW brings AR and AI to this needed area. LogistiVIEW’s CEO and Founder Seth Patin acquired quite a background and journey in software engineering and technology with time at RedPrairie, Jack of All Games, and Open Sky Group before founding Accelogix in 2012. Cary-based Accelogix is a consulting firm that designs and implements technology solutions for supply chain digitalization.
The specific idea for LogistiVIEW had been in Patin’s mind since 2006, but for many years, he didn’t find it to be technologically possible. By October 2014, after Google Glass smart glasses had been released, Patin thought the time had come to start working on LogistiVIEW in earnest alongside Accelogix, where he is still the CEO.
Patin knew that training warehouse workers is costly and witnessed many companies struggle with this process, something LogistiVIEW can help alleviate. The startup began with smart glasses with augmented reality and has evolved into a flexible SaaS platform allowing businesses to build and deploy workflows optimized for human behavior.
LogistiVIEW’s easy-to-use AI helps workers answer three simple questions, Patin said: Am I in the right place? Do I have the right stuff? And what do I do next? Once they make the answers to these questions easier, Patin said workers become more efficient and accurate while improving their job satisfaction.
“What I like about LogistiVIEW is that by combining simple implementation with really good human-centric instruction and a degree of artificial intelligence to help guide the worker, the frontline worker, on making the decisions that are necessary for them to do the tasks that they’re required to do, by simplifying the work, it actually helps to make the job easier,” Patin said. “The feedback we get from frontline workers who try LogistiVIEW is ‘Wow, this is this is really simple.’”
After years developing its solutions, LogistiViEW fully entered the market in 2018. Throughout 2019, Patin said, the startup increased its revenue and deployed device count by 20x. It also made Scot Wingo’s 2020 Tweener list.
Five companies in production have LogistiVIEW in daily use while 25 customers are in what Patin calls the pilot innovation stage—in all sorts of industries from food and beverage, to automotive, to oil and gas—at a starting point of $2,500 per year per device.
“That’s a difficult hurdle to get people over because to trust this new technology that’s very unique and very new to run your business on a day-to-day basis can definitely be something where you have a degree of convincing that needs to be done,” Patin said. “So we were able to get to that point and find a good starting point.”
While LogistiVIEW is bootstrapped for now, Patin hopes to raise funding soon and see the startup’s growth trend continue while making an impact on frontline labor.
“My hope is that if our tech continues to be deployed, the impact on frontline labor is a reduction in complexity that makes them appreciate their job more and like the work more while simultaneously being a good thing for the employer as well,” Patin said.
Coronavirus Creating Haves and Have-Nots
Naturally, the coronavirus pandemic and its forced closures of non-essential businesses will shape many businesses as they look towards the future. While Patin said many of LogistiVIEW’s clients are food and beverage distributors that have seen unprecedented levels of business, the other end of LogistiVIEW’s customer base in luxury or ‘non-essential’ items and industries may completely change as they work to overcome obstacles created by the virus.
“The end result is going to be pretty devastating for the non-essential companies,” Patin said. “We can only hope and pray that this thing ends soon, but I think realistically, that doesn’t look like the way it’s gonna happen.”
Because grocers often don’t have systems in place to meet the demands of online ordering and curbside pickup, LogistiVIEW released a new product, KurbConnect, on April 9. KurbConnect employs many of the same techniques LogistiVIEW has applied in warehouses but brings them to grocery store workers’ phones to increase their online order fulfillment capacity, ultimately making grocery stores safer and more efficient.
As someone on the development board for Duke Children’s Hospital, Patin also said LogistiVIEW workflow technology can help medical workers keep track of symptoms or patient volume, and the startup is looking at different avenues to help other industries.
“Our next horizon is probably in the short term going to be determining how we can reduce our costs dramatically to service industries right now that are getting pounded by the coronavirus epidemic,” Patin said.