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Blog Industry Solutions News

omniQ Launches SeeCube™; Safe City/ Safe District Vehicle Make and Color Recognition Solution Utilizing AI and Advanced Image Processing Algorithm

  • Cloud-Based and Patented SeeCube™ Solution Utilizes Machine Learning to Improve Security Capabilities;
  • Aids Law Enforcement in the Prevention of Crimes and Capture of Criminals Attempting Escape By Altering or Removing the License Plate

Salt Lake City, UT, August 23, 2019 — omniQ, Inc., via its omniQ division, has begun deploying its Artificial Intelligence (“AI”)-based, patented SeeCube203.972.9200203.972.9200solution utilizing its Visual Cortex algorithm, a revolutionary vehicle recognition system that combines vehicle make and color recognition capabilities with license plate number recognition technology.

SeeCube is a ground breaking cloud/on premise based security solution for Safe City and Safe Campus/School applications, using unique AI-based computer vision technology and software to gather real-time vehicle make and model data to supplement license plate identification capabilities to prevent crimes and terrorists from escaping by changing or removing the license plate.

Shai Lustgarten, CEO of omniQ stated, “SeeCuberepresents game changing technology for the security industry, particularly applicable to the Safe City and Safe Campus/School initiatives that are being rolled out in communities worldwide.  There is a dire need to supplement and expand upon the ability to gather and process license plate numbers, as license plates can easily be altered or removed from vehicles altogether.  Furthermore, bystanders who witness a crime are seldom able to fully recall a vehicle’s license plate number, but can often accurately report make and model details.  SeeCubecaptures and records all of the vehicle characteristics, including the make, model year and color, in addition to the license plate information, to enable law enforcement and homeland security to more quickly and accurately identify and track a vehicle, even if the license plate has been altered or removed.”

The SeeCubefeature was recently successfully tested by Homeland Security in a high-risk area outside of the United States, where it allowed law enforcement agencies to successfully search for and create BOLO alerts for suspect vehicles based on knowledge of make and/or color only.

Mr. Lustgarten continued, “Our safety systems are operational in some of the most sensitive regions of the world and have proven to be an essential tool in crime prevention and in getting criminals behind bars more rapidly.  We provide essential intelligence to law enforcement and homeland security organizations based on the most sophisticated AI and machine learning technology, and believe that SeeCube will be a vital tool for the growing Safe City and Safe School movement.  We’re excited about the opportunities we’re seeing to bring our solution to a wide range of customers, improving safety for students as well as the public at large.”

About omniQ

omniQ’s Image Processing subsidiary is a leading provider of computer vision image processing-based solutions using patented and proprietary AI technology to provide real-time surveillance and monitoring for homeland security, traffic & parking management, law enforcement and access control applications as well as supply chain management.

Rated in the Top 1% of global solution providers, omniQ specializes in the design, deployment and management of enterprise mobility solutions including Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC), Mobile Cloud Analytics, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and proprietary Mobility software. Our mobility products and services offering is designed to identify, track, trace, share and connect data to enterprise systems such as CRM or ERP solutions. Our customers are leading Fortune 500 companies from several sectors including manufacturing, retail, distribution, food / beverage, transportation and logistics, health care and chemicals/gas/ oil.

Information about Forward-Looking Statements

“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements in this press release relating to plans, strategies, economic performance and trends, projections of results of specific activities or investments, and other statements that are not descriptions of historical facts may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. This release contains “forward-looking statements” that include information relating to future events and future financial and operating performance. The words “may,” “would,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “can,” “believe,” “potential” and similar expressions and variations thereof are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of fu203.972.9200ture performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which that performance or those results will be achieved. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time they are made and/or management’s good faith belief as of that time with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in demand for omniQ, Inc.’s products, the introduction of new products, the Company’s ability to maintain customer and strategic business relationships, the impact of competitive products and pricing, growth in targeted marke203.972.9200ts, the adequacy of the Company’s liquidity and financial strength to support its growth, the Company’s ability to manage credit and debt structures from vendors, debt holders and secured lenders, the Company’s ability to successfully integrate its acquisitions, risks related to the sale of omniQ Canada Inc. to Viascan Group Inc. and other information that may be detailed from time-to-time in omniQ Inc.’s filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Examples of such forward looking statements in this release include, among others, statements regarding revenue growth, driving sales, operational and financial initiatives, cost reduction and profitability, and simplification of operations. For a more detailed description of the risk factors and uncertainties affecting omniQ, Inc. please refer to the Company’s recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings, which are available at http://www.sec.gov. omniQ, Inc. undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless otherwise required by law.

Investor Contact:
John Nesbett/Jen Belodeau
IMS Investor Relations
203.972.9200
jnesbett@institutionalm203.972.9200s.com

Categories
Blog Industry Solutions Mobility

Android for Enterprise? Zebra’s Mobility DNA Has Created the Future.

With Microsoft ending support for Windows Embedded and the enterprise mobility industry switching to Android in droves, many companies are developing their strategy for migrating to Android and upgrading their mobile devices.

Now that Android smartphones and tablets have so many useful capabilities and such an intuitive interface, a common temptation is to abandon enterprise-grade mobile computers in favor of these cheaper, consumer-grade devices.

But the drawbacks to consumer-grade devices are numerous.  Compared to enterprise-grade devices, they lack durability and carry a higher total cost of ownership, and they also lack the security, battery life, scanning capabilities, and other tools to meet enterprise demands.

This is why so many companies are choosing Zebra Android enterprise mobile computers engineered with Zebra’s Mobility DNA.

Reasons Why Companies Are Adopting Zebra Android Devices

Zebra has developed the ideal solution for Android enterprise computing with Mobility DNA. It’s a complete software ecosystem that converts Android into a powerfully secure and enterprise-ready platform with enormous advantages over consumer devices.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest reasons why companies are adopting Zebra Android devices:

  1. Powerful Security: Zebra’s Mobility Extensions (Mx) and mobile device management give companies complete control over each Android device, its network connections, and the applications authorized to run on it. Android also enables over-the-air updates, so OS updates and security patches can be applied faster and more easily.With these tools, Android becomes an enterprise-grade OS with security on par with anything ever achieved by Windows.
  1. Faster and Better Workforce Communication: Zebra’s Workforce Connect application improves and unifies communications across devices, so you can use your Android device as a single solution for voice, push-to-talk, text, and video.There are a variety of voice-enablement tools that help warehouses achieve enormous improvements in productivity with multi-modal speech-directed applications that guide workers to the next task and location, and verify correct scans and process flows.Additionally, Zebra’s SmartDEX delivers cable-free, fast, and easy DEX connectivity for direct store delivery applications.
  1. Advanced Scanning and Document Capture: Zebra’s enterprise-grade devices and Mobility DNA applications also convert Android devices into scanning and data capture workhorses on par with dedicated and advanced bar code scanners. The devices capture 1D and 2D bar codes as well as part marks and documents seamlessly and reliably. Their advanced scanning capabilities are far beyond the functionality of consumer devices. Any process that requires lots of scanning would soon find that consumer-grade camera scans will slow down the efficiency and productivity of your operations.In addition, Zebra’s SimulScan automates document capture in a single step while its DataWedge application sends scanned data to any running app.  You can even decode multiple bar codes at the same time filling in an entire form with a single scan.  You can even create a virtual data capture button on your mobile device screens with SwipeAssist.
  1. Longer Battery Life: Unlike consumer devices, which are often plagued by battery issues and recharging requirements, Zebra’s Android devices are engineered with PowerPrecision+ battery technology for best-in-class power and manageability.Each battery delivers up to 14 hours of power.  Further, Zebra’s batteries are hot-swappable so you can ensure continuous power for a 24 by 7 round-the-clock operation. Software tools also provide metrics and battery health indicators so you can maximize battery life and long-term performance.
  1. Seamless Integration and Development: Zebra’s Mobility DNA also includes many tools to make life easier for IT staff and app developers, including its Android and Xamarin EMDKs which provide APIs, sample code, and tools to create enterprise apps without consumer OS constraints. These and other development tools make it much faster and easier to migrate to Android than to redevelop your apps for the latest versions of Windows.

Rugged computers withstand the tough physical environment needed in industrial applications, beyond consumer-grade devices.

Zebra’s Mobility DNA provides the industrial needs for security, communication, data capture, battery life and integration needed for business applications, in a way that far surpasses traditional consumer-based off-the-shelf devices.  It takes the utility, familiarity and ease of use of Android to the next level for required productivity and data protection.

Are You Planning a Switch to Android or a Device Upgrade in the Near Future?

omniQ has the technical expertise, professional services, management services and even software development group to enable migration to Android or optimize your existing Android systems.  Contact omniQ now to learn more about Zebra Android devices with Mobility DNA. Call 1-800-242-7272 or email us now.

Categories
Industry Solutions

The 3G Phase-Out Has Begun: What Your Businesses Should Do

As new technology rolls out, some older technology can be left behind, potentially leaving businesses unsupported or even disconnected with equipment they have used and even taken for granted for years.

It seems hard to believe, but 4G mobile networks have now been around for nearly a decade. However, many businesses are still relying on 3G networks for voice and data communications on their enterprise mobile devices.

This is certainly understandable given the investment they’ve made in those devices and the fact that their hardware wasn’t manufactured to support 4G or 4G LTE networks.

However, all of this will soon change because major network service providers are beginning to shut down their support for 3G networks and devices.

  • Verizon has already announced that it will end support for 3G devices on its network on Dec 31, 2019.
  • AT&T stopped permitting new 3G devices from entering its certification lab in June of 2019. This means device manufacturers can no longer develop new devices with 3G AT&T network support. Industry analysts expect that AT&T will soon follow this up with an official announcement that it will shut down its 3G network support.
  • T-Mobile CTO Nerville Ray told the Mobile World Congress in early 2017 that the company wants to end 3G support in 2019.

As these developments make clear, the entire wireless industry is expected to abandon 3G in the near future, leaving 4G and 4G LTE as the only viable options for wireless cellular business communications.

It has begun already.  We have noticed that some of our customers with national deployments have brought to our attention that some of their 3G network devices work fine in some areas, but suddenly stopped working in other areas.

Adding to this phase-out is the looming end of all Microsoft support for its Windows Embedded operating systems. Support for these will end within the next two years, meaning that businesses running older hardware with these legacy operating systems will no longer receive any security patches.

To make sure your business isn’t left behind without crucial networking capabilities and proper OS security, it’s vital to develop a strategy and upgrade your devices within the next year.

Upgrading to 4G LTE with Zebra’s Enterprise Android Devices

At omniQ, we’re recommending that our customers take the opportunity to address both the 3G and Windows mobile phase-outs by upgrading to enterprise 4G LTE Android devices, such as those from Zebra Technologies.

We recommend Zebra’s enterprise Android devices for a number of reasons. These include the transformative benefits of 4G networking, Zebra’s superior device capabilities and performance, and the simplicity of device management and device security.

Benefits of Migrating to 4G LTE

  • Greater network coverage
  • 10x faster data streaming
  • Shorter latency times
  • Simultaneous voice and data
  • Crisper, clearer voice quality on VoLTE
  • Continuation of service via SIM card

Benefits of Migrating to Zebra Android Devices

  • Sleek, rugged devices built for enterprise use
  • The latest productivity-boosting capabilities
  • Modern touch screens with user-friendly interfaces
  • Rapid-fire processors and intelligent scanners
  • Powerful enterprise security with Zebra device management
  • Over-the-air updates and security upgrades
  • Easy app redevelopment and migration from Windows
  • Familiar Android OS with shorter training requirements
  • Choice of touch computers, smartphones, or tablets

The latest Zebra products for LTE support include the TC75x touch computer, TC56 touch computer, TC25 rugged smartphone, and the ET55 enterprise tablet.

Each is designed to combine enterprise computing power and Android ease of use with ultra-fast and reliable 4G LTE networking to deliver voice, data, scanning and application performance, that revolutionizes worker productivity and efficiency.  Consumer grade devices just don’t stand up to the daily work environment nor efficiency of operations required by today’s businesses.

To learn more about these Zebra devices and help you develop the right 3G and OS migration plan for your business, contact our exerts at omniQ Solution. Call us at 1-800-242-7272 or email us now.

Categories
Industry Solutions

omniQ’s IoT Cloud-Based System RTLS For Asset Management of IT Assets

This illustration provides an example of the IoT network architecture implementation of the Real-Time Location System for Asset Management at a customer site.

A unique solution to be offered to our Fortune 500 customers.

EUGENE, OR., May 23, 2018 — omniQ, Inc. (OTCQB: QUES) is pleased to announce it has successfully developed and installed a state-of-the-art Real Time Location System (RTLS) based on a new BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacon solution for Information Technology (IT) assets.

“We are proud to add this revolutionary system to our portfolio of solutions offerings.  Our initial customer, like other large corporations, has many locations with a fluid office environment for monitors, laptops and other valuable IT assets,” states Greg Canda, Director of Partner Solutions for omniQ.  “Their challenge is ensuring that all of their equipment is where it should be at all times.  They requested a working Proof of Concept, where their goal was to receive quick reporting of any change in IT asset location without the typical resource-intensive frequent cycle counts or a check-in/check-out scanning system.”

omniQ considered several architectures and technologies and undertook a detailed benefit analysis comparing various IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), RFID and BLE beacon alternatives.   The proposed solution included a dynamic, extensible and secure mesh network infrastructure from Wirepas, winner of the 2017 European Internet of Things Award by Frost and Sullivan, with battery-operated BLE tags.  This mesh network proved to be superior, related both to its relatively easy installment and lower infrastructure cost compared to other RFID and BLE hierarchical approaches.

omniQ demonstrated that this Wirepas mesh infrastructure could be quickly installed and provide cloud-based tracking of the location and movement of the assets.  omniQ not only installed the asset tags and location beacon tags, but constructed the interface gateways for the cloud access (completely separate from the customers’ own network for security reasons).  Additionally, omniQ provided training with the asset management cloud software and assisted with API integration plans for their internal analytics systems.

The Proof of Concept was a success.  The implementation was carefully planned and the execution was quickly accomplished, with little operational distraction for the customer.  A late request was made to include a stock room, which was immediately implemented and verified, all on the last morning of the test, showing when equipment entered and exited the storage area.

Shai Lustgarten, President and CEO of omniQ, said “This breakthrough system developed by omniQ is in line with our strategic decision to position our Company as a high tech leader and epitomizes what makes omniQ different and successful in the multi billion supply chain and logistic markets. Working with the IT departments of some of the most prestigious corporations in the U.S. exposes us to opportunities related to their current and future needs, enabling us to initiate and implement innovative solutions for ever growing needs associated with supply chain and logistics management.   We have again proven our ability to take leading edge technologies and integrate them with software, services and operational consulting for real-life business solutions, with careful attention to customer goals.”

A diagram of the architecture accompanies this release.  For further information on omniQ or other Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions, please contact: Greg Canda, Director, Partner Solutions, at gcanda@omniq.com or (330) 603-2591.

About omniQ

omniQ is a Specialty Systems Integrator focused on Field and Supply Chain Mobility. We are also a distributor of consumables (labels, tags, and ribbons), RFID solutions, and bar coding printers. Founded in 1994, omniQ is headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, with offices in the United States.

Rated in the Top 1% of global solution providers, omniQ specializes in the design, deployment and management of enterprise mobility solutions including Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC), Mobile Cloud Analytics, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), Mobility software and an array of professional services. Our mobility products and services offering is designed to identify, track, trace, share and connect data to enterprise systems such as CRM or ERP solutions. Our customers are leading Fortune 500 companies from several sectors including manufacturing, retail, distribution, food / beverage, transportation and logistics, health care and chemicals / gas / oil.

Information about Forward-Looking Statements

“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements in this press release relating to plans, strategies, economic performance and trends, projections of results of specific activities or investments, and other statements that are not descriptions of historical facts may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. This release contains “forward-looking statements” that include information relating to future events and future financial and operating performance. The words “may,” “would,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “can,” “believe,” “potential” and similar expressions and variations thereof are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which that performance or those results will be achieved. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time they are made and/or management’s good faith belief as of that time with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in demand for omniQ, Inc.’s products, the introduction of new products, the Company’s ability to maintain customer and strategic business relationships, the impact of competitive products and pricing, growth in targeted markets, the adequacy of the Company’s liquidity and financial strength to support its growth, the Company’s ability to manage credit and debt structures from vendors, debt holders and secured lenders, the Company’s ability to successfully integrate its acquisitions, risks related to the sale of omniQ Inc. to Viascan Group Inc. and other information that may be detailed from time-to-time in omniQ Inc.’s filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Examples of such forward looking statements in this release include, among others, statements regarding revenue growth, driving sales, operational and financial initiatives, cost reduction and profitability, and simplification of operations. For a more detailed description of the risk factors and uncertainties affecting omniQ, Inc. please refer to the Company’s recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings, which are available at http://www.sec.gov. omniQ, Inc. undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless otherwise required by law.

Contact Information:
Greg Canda
Director, Partner Solutions
gcanda@omniq.com
(330) 603-2591

Categories
Industry Solutions

Why It May Be Time to Migrate to Android as Your Mobile OS

Now that Microsoft has ended extended support for Windows Embedded CE 6.0 and is phasing out all of its Embedded operating systems, many businesses need to rethink their mobile OS strategy.

Running a non-supported Windows OS is not recommended because Microsoft will no longer issue security updates. This will leave anyone running a legacy Windows OS at serious risk, so migration to a new OS is a necessity.

Microsoft now offers Windows 10 IoT for next-generation devices and enterprise apps, but it poses several challenges and difficulties for businesses looking to migrate.   One is that migrating to Windows 10 IoT requires most developers and device makers to rewrite their apps. This is because Windows 8 and later versions are not compatible with Version 7 and earlier.  Even Windows 10 IoT has an end of life announcement making it not appropriate for investing in new development.

Much of the industrial handheld industry skipped Windows Embedded 7 and 8 in favor of sticking with Windows Embedded CE version 6, which was still powering an estimated 99 percent of devices just two years ago.

Those who chose to migrate to later embedded Windows OS versions often paid a steep price, sometimes totaling millions of dollars and years of development time.   This is because applications needed to be ported with new interfaces rather than just running the existing application on the new OS.  Many businesses are now facing the prospect of high costs and long delays in development to rewrite their apps to stay with a Windows platform that may not be supported for long.

Fortunately, there’s a potentially better alternative that the entire mobile device industry and many top organizations are embracing.  These players, along with all of the industry’s top hardware manufacturers, have made the mobile OS switch to Android for several key reasons.

Why Android Is a Great Choice

  1. Its Development is Faster and Easier. Android has a large base of development resources that makes it much faster and easier to migrate to a more modern OS and rewrite or create new apps. These include a massive global developer community and access to help resources, sample code, and app store apps.
  2. It’s Easier to Use. Since it was designed from the ground up for intuitive simplicity, Android is extremely easy for workers to use. Many of them already use Android on their own smartphones and tablets, so it’s an easy transition to use it in the workplace, and the simple interface makes it easy for them to learn how to use upgraded or new enterprise apps.
  3. It’s Now a Secure Enterprise OS. Thanks to mobile device environment tools developed by Zebra Technologies and available on the latest Zebra handheld computers, Android is a highly secure enterprise OS on par with Windows.   Zebra’s Mobility Extensions (mx) and Mobility DNA bring all the power and capabilities of the device into easy control, with features that were not even available on previous Windows mobile devices.   Combined with mobile device management platforms, you can completely control each device and application, including over-the-air updates to make it easy to apply the latest security patches and keep your devices secure.

Evaluating Android for Your Mobility Needs

To find out if Android is the right fit for your business, contact our mobility experts at omniQ.  We have a software development group that has already migrated many applications from Windows to Android and have worked with leading industry customers in managing Android deployments.  We can help you choose the right OS strategy and recommend the best mobile devices, software and management solutions for your future upgrade.

Call us at 1-800-242-7272 or email us now.

Categories
Industry Solutions Transportation and Logistics

The Value of Space Optimization in the Transportation Industry

Increasing demand for service, customer expectations around rapid delivery, and free shipping provided by online retailers have put pressure on shippers to do more, do it faster — but at the same time, keep shipping fees low. One way businesses are meeting this challenge is with space optimization solutions.

The cost of leasing or buying industrial warehouse space has increased by 25% over the past three years, according to Prologis Research. In addition, fees for shipping have shifted to a system based solely on weight to one based on the higher of two measures, weight or space. As e-commerce grows and the number of cartons shipped increases, carriers are exceeding space constraints before they reach weight constraints. Once dimensional pricing models were introduced, shipping costs rapidly increased — 42% in 2015 alone for ground parcel shipments. Complicating matters is the fact that shippers often provide inaccurate dimensions, which can lead to chargebacks and inefficiencies in shipping.

These rising costs have forced companies across the supply chain to place an increased emphasis on space optimization on the pallet, on the truck, and in the warehouse. When margins are thin and every cubic foot costs you more money, wasted space means lost profits.

Automated Dimensioning is Key

In order to better manage these changes and improve accuracy, companies are turning to automated dimensioning solutions. Manual measurement is inefficient, slow, and often inaccurate. Knowing the dimensions of every product can help optimize workflows like pallet building and picking/putaway.

Capturing accurate dimensions for every product on the truck or in the warehouse is a critical part of improving accuracy and reducing costs. Systems are now available that utilize dimensioning scanners and 3D depth-sensing technology to accurately measure objects. For example, the Honeywell AutoCube 8200 system can measure packages of any size, measure multiple items at the same time, and even detect bulges or protrusions. Intelligent dimensioning software can then be used to determine the optimal way to pack items in a carton (even items that are different sizes and shapes), and provide an accurate measurement to help determine and reconcile shipping charges.

Accurate dimensioning data also helps warehouse planners make better use of available space, predict future storage needs, and eliminate dead space in the racks/shelves so that merchandise doesn’t have to clutter up the receiving or shipping area.

In transportation, space optimization technology will help get more products onto a truck by providing an accurate view of dimensional weight when scanner and scale data are combined. It also provides shippers with the ability to give customers actual shipping costs rather than estimates.

Better managing the flow of inventory in and out of the warehouse with space optimization can also lower the cost of holding goods in a warehouse. For companies with limited budgets or that are geographically constrained and unable to expand existing warehouses or build new ones, space optimization also provides a way to do more with existing resources while still expanding warehouse/shipping capacity.

The Solution is More than Technology Alone

Dimensioning alone won’t fully optimize warehouse or truck space, however. The technology should be combined with strategies like smart slotting (storage based on the velocity of specific goods), dedicated pick lanes, full utilization of vertical space, intelligent transportation management software, and other approaches.

Moving forward, space optimization will continue to be a priority as customer demands and the price of warehouse/transportation space increase. For more information on how your business can operate more efficiently and save money with space optimization technology, contact omniQ.

Categories
Industry Solutions Mobility Warehouse and Distribution

Voice in the Warehouse: Tips for Maximizing Performance in Demanding Environments

Warehouse workers use their hands a lot — for picking, putaway, shipping, and other important tasks. While mobile computers have helped increase efficiency in the warehouse, those computers also tie up your employees’ hands. Hands-free, voice-based options can help boost productivity even further by keeping employees’ hands free and their eyes on their work. Using voice in the warehouse can improve inventory throughput, shipping accuracy, and even safety.

The Benefits of Voice Direction

Receiving voice direction from the application and being able to speak location, bin codes, status and activity rather than stopping to scan or key-enter them can increase the speed of each pick and putaway action. Voice software is designed to guard against errors and alert employees when they have entered the wrong code or item.
In a typical scenario, the employee scans a barcoded order number from a picking card or sheet, and then receives audio directions about where to locate the items on the sheet. At each location, they can speak the location and bin numbers to confirm they are in the right place and selecting the right item. The system provides quantity information that is confirmed verbally.

Productivity improves because employees can complete more tasks in less time, while accuracy increases because of the feedback and confirmations the system provides. Workers are safer because they aren’t staring at mobile computer screens to confirm their work. There are ergonomic benefits as well because there is less typing and managing of handheld devices.

Voice + Barcode

Each business has different requirements, of course. There will always be a need for barcode scanning in the warehouse. Other operations may find more benefit in a pick-to-light or other type of system.

Each warehouse will require different levels of technology integration to ensure efficient operation. Voice in the warehouse provides a flexible platform that can be used in conjunction with other technologies (such as barcode scanning). Voice also offers significant speed and accuracy improvements compared to other solutions that can quickly provide a return on investment (ROI), particularly for high-velocity and dynamic warehouse operations.

How to Make Voice Work for Your Warehouse

To be successful, a voice implementation should integrate smoothly with the warehouse management system (WMS) in place and be coupled with process optimization activities that will help eliminate bottlenecks and reduce redundancies. In fact, deploying voice in the warehouse can help uncover some of those inefficient workflows and processes because employees will be more focused on value-added tasks. In order to effectively gauge the potential benefits of voice in the warehouse, companies first must identify the pain points that they want the voice solution to address.

Those problem areas can include:

– Higher demand and inventory volumes
– Picking/shipping errors
– Increased operational costs

Voice technology can often address these pain points by enabling higher accuracy and increasing the velocity of picking/putaway tasks compared to paper-based processed, RF scanning, and pick-to-light solutions.

Implementing voice takes a solid understanding of the processes, the application, and the technology.  Some systems may allow for simply voice-enabling existing applications if the applications and operations are already fairly efficient.  Other operations can be completely restructured to interface into new applications for best performance.  Time and motion studies and an open mind to process flow can provide the optimum new system.

Using voice in the warehouse can provide a strategic platform that helps companies expand their business while controlling operating costs and improving customer service. The hands-free, eyes-free approach of voice will provide the most natural and effective method for your warehouse workers to complete their jobs.

Categories
Data Interchange Energy Field Sales and Delivery Industry Solutions Mobility Route Accounting Transportation and Logistics

3 Ways Technology Optimizes Productivity for Your Field Employees

Field employees — whether they are technicians, delivery drivers, route sales reps, or some combination of those jobs — are an extremely valuable and expensive part of your operation. If you don’t properly optimize their schedules or daily workloads, you can wind up with idle employees and equipment or find yourself over-hiring and investing in more routes or vehicles than you actually need.

Technology and planning can help you improve the efficiency of your field employees. That’s good for the company (you can log more jobs or sales without hiring additional employees) and also good for your field staff since they can spend more time earning money and less time driving from job to job.

Here are three examples of how technology can benefit your field operation:

Route Optimization: No matter how skilled your schedulers and dispatchers are, if they are still managing routes manually then your field employees are probably not working to their full potential. Manual routing is prone to human error.

By using an intelligent, automated routing and scheduling tool you can ensure that all routes are optimized based on your own efficiency/productivity goals. Route optimization tools can ensure that stops are organized to minimize time and distance, but within key customer time constraints and expectations.  Route optimization can also ensure that employees take the fastest route between stops, intelligently schedule pick-up/drop-off stops for delivery applications, and even schedule service technicians based on both location and skill set.

Modern route optimization solutions with real-time capabilities can even reroute employees based on traffic, weather, and road construction information. If a job is taking too long, the next stop can be automatically rerouted to another employee.

These features can keep the schedule on track, improve customer service, save fuel, and boost productivity — and routes can be optimized and communicated even before the shift begins.

Anticipate Customer Needs: Inventory management tools can help your delivery or route sales drivers arrive at each customer stop with the right merchandise and equipment on hand. New predictive analytics and forecasting tools can help sales operations forecast what their customers need before an order is placed or the driver arrives, which can help improve the efficiency of each stop.

In field service applications, sensors, automation, machine-to-machine interfaces, and cloud computing resources can help companies remotely diagnose (and in some cases repair) assets and equipment. By knowing what is wrong with a machine before they arrive to fix it, technicians can be sure to have the right tools and parts, which will improve both the first-time fix rate and overall productivity.

Leverage Technology on the Truck and in the Field: With mobile computers, GPS technology, and/or telematics solutions in your company vehicles you can further boost employee productivity.

By deploying automated delivery, inventory, or work order management solutions on mobile companies or tablets in the field, employees can quickly provide status updates, document their work, obtain customer signatures/payments, and close out work orders without time-consuming paperwork.

Combined with real-time wireless communications, these systems can also automatically update ERP, CRM, and route optimization solutions in real time. Managers and dispatchers can see the status of each job/stop and use that information to adjust the schedule if necessary.

GPS-based fleet tracking units on the truck can also update the location of each employee, time-stamp arrivals and departures to improve documentation/billing, and help automatically populate driver logs, hours of service documentation, or fuel tax forms, saving even more time for field employees.

The technology can also provide solutions for electronic logging devices (ELDs), hours of service (HOS) management, driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIR), and other compliance and operations requirements.

With the right technology solutions in place to optimizing your routing and scheduling, anticipate the needs of each work order/customer, and track the progress and location of your staff and vehicles, you can greatly enhance both the efficiency and productivity of your field employees.

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Industry Solutions Mobility RFID Hardware RFID Software Warehouse and Distribution

4 Ways Mobility and the Internet of Things Benefit Warehouses

The growing Internet of Things (IoT) is on its way to connecting billions of pieces of equipment, consumer products, smart home systems, electronics, and other items. That represents a revolutionary way to collect data from far-flung assets, improving predictive maintenance, providing remote troubleshooting and control capabilities, and creating new ways to leverage large amounts of data that was never before available.

Mobility plays a similar role. Every partner, employee, and customer is potentially available anywhere and anytime, as long as they have their smartphone, tablet, or handheld computer. In combination, mobility and Internet of Things will extend the reach of the enterprise to virtually anywhere.

What does this mean for the warehouse? While mobility and the Internet of Things present plenty of opportunities outside the four walls, they will also have positive effects within the distribution center. The IoT will allow supply chains to create hyper-efficient warehouses that generate fewer shipping errors and hold less inventory.

There are four primary ways that mobility and the IoT will benefit the warehouse:

1. Better inventory management. Shelves full of connected products and smart shipping containers will make it easier to locate and manage inventory in the warehouse. These systems can automatically generate alerts if stock is running low or if temperatures or other conditions may jeopardize the quality of goods. Shelving and racking can become part of the Internet of Things, using real-time connectivity to help guide picking and putaway. The IoT could also make it easier to manage returns, since the returned item itself can communicate important information about its status, location, and ultimate point of disposition.

2. Improved efficiency and less labor.With better information about where goods are located, employees can do their work much faster. Armed with mobile computers, staff can do their work anywhere in the warehouse. The IoT can also be used to enable more warehouse automation, generating real-time demand signals that can guide robotic picking and putaway systems. Data from connected inventory and infrastructure can also help warehouse operators identify bottlenecks and monitor unsafe working conditions. Using that data, the warehouse can be reconfigured to be safer and to provide the most efficient picking paths and inventory configurations.

3. Better customer engagement.With the type of granular visibility into inventory and warehouse operations the Internet of Things and mobility provides, you can keep your customers better informed about the status of their inventory or orders. Data from connected products in the field can also be leveraged to generate more accurate demand signals and order/production forecasts.

In addition, the warehouse can provide new types of value-added services to customers using IoT and mobility technology. With better information about inventory and future demand, warehouses could offer more capacity to their customers, providing a sort of “burst capacity” for short-term increases capacity. Having better inventory information sooner means warehouses can more successfully offer cross-docking, just-in-time, and other types of services in a more cost-effective way.

4. Reduced risk.The IoT can help warehouses better detect risk and avoid mistakes/accidents that can create losses in the supply chain. Sensors in the warehouse can monitor temperature, moisture, and other conditions. Data coming from shipping conveyances, vehicles, and the products themselves can be combined to reduce theft, counterfeiting, diversion, and spoilage.

The Internet of Things and mobile technology can make the supply chain more flexible, reliable, predictable, and transparent. The warehouse can benefit from the IoT both internally, in terms of productivity and efficiency, and externally, through improved customer service. With this technology, your entire operation could see gains in efficiency, productivity, and accuracy, which can help your business grow.

 

 

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Industry Solutions RFID Hardware RFID Software Transportation and Logistics

How Technology is Changing the Transportation and Logistics Industry

The transportation and logistics industry has traditionally been defined by trucks and infrastructure, but over the past several years technology has begun to change that. The use of mobile computers, GPS solutions, electronic tolling, and electronic vehicle logs have revolutionized logistics. Other new technologies are poised to have just as big an impact, and the future of logistics will be marked by new advancements. It’s important for transportation companies to stay up-to-speed with these developments, even those that may be a few years away from widespread adoption.

While there are a number of new technologies that will affect the transportation and logistics industry, here are some critical ones to keep on your radar:

Telematics and Fleet Management

Logistics companies have been using GPS systems to track the location of their trucks for years. What has changed is the number of new features and functions that GPS-based fleet management systems now offer. In addition to seeing truck locations, managers can now set up geofences to enable alerts when a truck is nearing its destination (or has veered far out of its service area), optimize routes using real-time traffic data, improve vehicle utilization, and automatically track driver hours and fuel tax reporting information.

The telematics functions of these system also make it possible to track vehicle maintenance needs (scheduling serviced based on miles driven), and generate alerts if the engine generates a trouble code. This can help avoid breakdowns and extend the life of the vehicle. Finally, companies can track speeding, harsh braking/acceleration, excessive idling and other conditions that will reduce fuel consumption, save costs, and improve safety. In addition, some insurance companies now offer discounts for fleet operators that use these solutions.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT involves using sensors and network communications to connect machines to the Internet. This makes it possible to monitor equipment, remotely control devices (like printers or home security systems), and receive alerts when machines need repaired or serviced. IoT is an extension of the types of telematics information that has already been provided.  This can start further up-stream in the ordering, manufacturing and warehousing chain. Smart machines will broadcast their needs for new parts or consumables before running out. With clearer demand signals, the supply chain will have to be more responsive.

During transport, trucks could monitor temperature, vibration and other elements that affect the condition of the load. Not only will information about the truck and environment be captured, but IoT monitors can stay with a shipment across multiple international transportation methods, from shipping to truck to rail to steamship to yard storage to rail to truck to delivery. In this way, logistics companies could provide better insight for shippers and receivers — this type of data is critical for cold chain or produce applications.

The availability of low-cost sensors and Bluetooth wireless technology will make it easier to add trucks to this burgeoning online network of supply chain data, providing last-mile visibility that was previously unattainable.

Drone Delivery and Driverless Cars

Amazon made a big splash when it announced it planned to use unmanned flying drones to deliver products to customers. While the idea of flying robots dropping packages from the sky sounds pretty cool, practical considerations (cost, safety, regulations, etc.) will likely keep deliver operations grounded for several more years.

Driverless vehicles, on the other hand, are an advancement that may affect the logistics and transportation industry sooner rather than later. Several companies have already tested driverless cars on the open road (including Google), and there are a number of test facilities in the U.S. where the technology is being further developed. Several auto manufactures have also introduced semi-autonomous driving capabilities in their vehicles (Tesla is a prime example). And Uber’s Otto division is already testing driverless trucks for logistics and delivery applications. By eliminating the need for a driver, logistics companies could address the driver shortage and greatly improve safety by reducing or eliminating the possibility of driver fatigue.

Even if a driver has to still be inside an autonomous truck (which is the case under current law), they could switch the vehicle to autonomous and mode and theoretically rest while the truck keeps on moving. There are plenty of regulatory and insurance issues to sort through, in addition to great leaps in reliability that would be required of the technology. But the transportation and logistics industry should start giving this technology a hard look.

Cloud-Based Computing and Business Analytics

Often, people think of technology as strictly hardware, gadgets, etc.  However, the significant increase in capabilities and enhancements in architecture for cloud-based computing and business analytics also dramatically affects the transportation industry.   For years, telematics and RFID and other technologies provided plenty of data that could be used, but companies rarely were able to capture and organize that data, let alone harness the value of analytics.  The sophistication of software and data architectures now allow all the data to be effectively controlled and manipulated to generate not only detail status of activity and process flow, but predictive and suggestive advice to proactively improve operations and stop problems before they occur.

Then, providing operational alerts and management advice in a timely fashion to users’ mobile devices keeps them productively active and in the field instead of tied to a spreadsheet or mountains of paper printouts, wondering “What does it all mean?”

The transportation and logistics industry should prepare to embrace these changes and innovations. Doing so will improve their competitive position and enable them to meet the future needs and demands of their customers.