Nokia introduces drone-based warehouse management technology

Having grown up during the heyday of the Nokia 1100 and 1110 – two of the best-selling cellular phones of all time with a combined 500million sales between them; and having gotten ourselves addicted to the Lumia 1520 when it came out – we have to say we still find it hard to associate the name Nokia with anything else other than mobile phones.

But the company is trying hard to rebrand itself as a modern technology company of relevance – and today it announced the launch of Autonomous Inventory Monitoring Service (AIMS), a system that will use Nokia’s drone technology platform to monitor inventory in warehouses.

The AIMS system has been launched in collaboration with Graybar, a Fortune 500 company in the USA, which is one of the largest distributors of electrical, communications and data networking products in North America.

“Nokia AIMS improves the accuracy and efficiency of cycle counting for warehouse operators by using autonomous drones,” said the company in a statement.

“The drones safely navigate through a warehouse, scanning inventory on shelves, then share up-to-date results and analytics with warehouse managers. This technology is the result of years of Nokia Bell Labs research, and the fusion of AI-enabled drone-based hardware, camera-based indoor localisation, data analytics and computer vision.

“Nokia AIMS can be used to improve service levels for warehouse operators, distributors, third-party logistics, OEMs, retailers, and grocers.”

After signing a deal with Nokia, Graybar will be using the AIMS technology to enhance its existing inventory management capabilities.

The company figures that using the drone-based systems will increase the accuracy and efficiency of its inventory management program, and in the process, improve productivity and customer satisfaction.

“We are excited to launch Nokia AIMS with Graybar, a leading innovator in the distribution industry,” said Paul Heitlinger, General Manager, Nokia AIMS.

“Traditional warehouse inventory counting is manual, inefficient, and prone to human error. Nokia AIMS helps customers such as Graybar improve overall efficiency with an expected 30-40 percent ROI.”

Graybar has also purchased Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) to help improve the connectivity in its warehouses. The first Nokia DAC installation will be at Graybar’s St. Louis Service Center, with possible expansion to additional warehouses in the future.

“At Graybar, supply chain innovation is vital to our long-term success,” said Mark Hirst, VP Technology at Graybar.

“We believe Nokia AIMS will help us increase the accuracy and efficiency of our inventory monitoring, which will enhance the customer experience and improve our operational performance.

“Very few technologies can simultaneously boost performance while reducing costs, but we believe AIMS can deliver both.”


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