Smartphone Cameras: Let Your ‘Digital Eyes’ Capture Real-Time Data
We’re at the point where the majority of consumers have a smartphone with them at all times, meaning they also carry a camera wherever they go.
Whenever something noteworthy happens in the world, there's almost always a picture or video available immediately. And with each year that passes, camera technology continues to improve while the costs go down. We’re so used to having these high-resolution “digital eyes” available that sometimes we forget how useful they really are.
Normal smartphone users may just focus on taking casual pictures and videos to share with their friends and family. However, those digital eyes can also serve as valuable sources of real-time information in the retail supply chain, especially when you apply optical intelligence to the data they capture.
For example, retail employees can use smartphone cameras to scan items for inventory management. So if workers are trying to find a specific item out of a number of different boxes, they can just point their camera at the boxes, read all the barcodes and see which one is correct. Delivery drivers can use mobile cameras to document proof of delivery, whether an item has any damage, and attach a GPS location to the snapshot.
On the consumer side, customers can scan items to get product information and check out without having to get in line. However, the value smartphone cameras provide consumers goes even further. For a truly immersive shopping experience, augmented reality technology can enable consumers to digitally try on clothes or see what a piece of furniture looks like in a house, utilizing the smartphone camera.
In addition to all of the other benefits that come from using smartphones in the supply chain — e.g., increased speed, reduced total cost of ownership, improved ergonomics — retailers can’t forget about the importance of the intelligence that can be gathered from mobile cameras with the right software.
Instead of continuing to rely on costly dedicated hardware scanning devices with basic capabilities, let your employees capture real-time data with their digital eyes — i.e., their smartphone cameras. Also make sure that you’re thinking creatively about what you can do to deliver value through the smartphone cameras your customers already bring to their shopping experiences.
Samuel Mueller is the CEO and co-founder of Scandit, a mobile barcode scanning solutions provider.