Belgium’s major telecommunication corporation, Proximus, has harnessed the power of 5G technology, as well as artificially intelligent (AI) machine vision to create a solution for an age-old warehouse problem – real-time inventory tracking. By utilizing 5G-connected drone technology, warehouse managers can continuously monitor and manage stock levels.

Joining forces with Phoenix, an India-based tech group which provided the drone, and Deltrian International, an air filter manufacturer, Proximus introduced its unique approach. A drone equipped with AI-based technology scans products in a warehouse, relaying this information to management in real-time through 5G connectivity. With this information, warehouse managers can gain more precise understandings of stock levels.

A natural comparison for this technology is traditional inventory tracking such as RFID tags or barcodes. Yet, the limitations of these systems quickly become apparent. According to Proximus, “It is very difficult to monitor stock levels in real time and optimize locations.”

The issues with traditional inventory systems are manifold. In large warehouses, such as those operated by Deltrian, countless products are stored on differently sized pallets, housed in variously shaped boxes, and stored across multiple positions. Barcode identification becomes problematic, as these aren’t always visible or easily scanned due to issues such as orientation or damage. This leads to additional time and labor costs as employees must locate and retrieve products and then confirm their details.

By transitioning these complex tasks to autonomous drones, businesses can see considerable reductions in not just time but also operational costs. Proximus avers, “The benefits of this solution are numerous.” Among these benefits, one can count enhanced productivity from comprehensive stock knowledge, expanded storage space from better optimization, lower financial losses from dormant stocks, and less congestion in aisles.

Future plans involve applying this solution in Deltrian’s warehouses in Fleurus, with a combined capacity of 15,000 square meters. Proximus further intends to extend this drone-based tech to companies throughout Belgium, potentially transforming the traditional warehouse management landscape.