Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have over the past few years been swiftly redefining sectors and industries across the world. From education and health to manufacturing and technology, every sector is leveraging the benefits of AI and ML, though the same does not stand true for the logistics industry, especially the movers and packers segment. However, just like the recent evolution of aggregators in movers and packers segment, a head start has already been made when it comes to the adoption of AI in making shifting easy for every person who needs to relocate.
AI and house shifting
A thorough survey and subsequent listing of items are a prerequisite of hassle-free shifting. This means every item that needs to be transported is listed as per its type, fragility or volume occupied. AI has a major role to play in this regard, especially owing to the new normal, as it makes virtual survey a reality. It entails that there would be automatic item identification and listing in the form of both pictures and videos.
For instance, picture-based virtual surveys have become a reality with the help of AI. As per our experience, the scope of error was minimised and the level of accuracy is impeccable, too. After a few-last minute bug testing, people would soon be able to do it even more easily by using AI-enabled apps. All they need to do is take a panoramic view picture of the room or area, following which the app itself would do all the listing. Suppose there’s a cupboard. Depending on its size and specifications, the items stored within it would be calculated automatically by the app. This is done through object recognition technology, which has already proven its mettle.
The picture-based survey is also a great enabler of automatic pricing systems. Since the listings were automated, a simultaneous automated bidding was initiated among shifting partners to obtain the best possible price for end consumers. While it saves plenty of time, it benefits the moving and packing team with a swift process and the customers are comfortable with the incurred expense. It is important to mention here that augmented reality is also being explored to further enhance the process.
The way forward
The next course of action for integration of AI is focused on the packing of items. A few bugs remain to be tackled for packing listings through AI to actually become a reality. Once this is sorted, every packaging carton would carry a virtual bar coding, thereby eradicating the possibility of items getting missed or damaged. To maintain standardisation and compliance, the onus is on the aggregator to provide uniform packing material, conducive to different requirements such as carrying heavy or fragile items.
While we can continue to talk about the advancements, we cannot ignore the bottlenecks that jeopardise the prospects of widespread AI integration in space. One of the firsts is lesser informed customers. Once they are adequately informed about the pros, the scope of error would be minimised. It needs to be communicated effectively that the pricing would be dynamic with integration of AI, and customers can in fact bank on expected price down suggested to them. Also, the customers are to gain the most with an ongoing bidding process at the backend, quite similar to a stock market experience.
The writer is co-founder & MD, Shift Freight.