Designed to last – resilient print output for demanding applications

Rugged MediaWhen you think rugged, you usually think about the rugged hardware needed to successfully perform a task in challenging environments. This hardware could be a rugged handheld, tablet or mobile printer, but what is often overlooked is the print media used in an application.

Certain industries need reliable and robust media to complete a job to a high standard. Whether users require labels or receipts, the likes of Zebra and Honeywell have created a range of supplies to withstand different environmental factors.

Mobile printers accept a variety of label, tag, ticket and other media for producing durable receipts, invoices, return labels, inspection labels, security marks and more. Top-coated media resists UV light and remains legible for years allowing them to be archived, this eliminates the problem of fading receipts after just a few days. There are also certain types of direct thermal media available that resist substances such as oil, water, alcohol and common industrial solvents which can be found in harsh environments.

Below are a few examples of where print media needs to be durable enough to withstand harsh conditions:

Mobile Workforcemobile worker blog

Mobile workforce covers a vast number of industries and applications, including mobile citations for parking enforcement, law enforcement and housing and health inspections. The print media needed for these sectors must endure fluctuating weather conditions.

In parking enforcement it is not uncommon for vehicles to be left unoccupied, requiring the parking enforcement agent to secure the ticket to the vehicle. These tickets are exposed to rain, snow, wind, and sunlight, conditions which can rapidly degrade materials.

Mobile workers often require resilient media for utility inspection labelling, meter reading labels and capital asset tracking. Zebra’s Z-Ultimate 3000T White synthetic label is resistant to chemicals, temperature, freezing conditions, water and tears and can be used outdoors for 1 years+, making it ideal for operations where robust outdoor labelling is needed.

Lockout/Tagout Policies

tagout blogIn field service, natural resources and industrial operations employee safety is priority. During installation and maintenance, significant safety risks such as exposed sources of electricity, mechanical force, or pneumatic/hydraulic pressure can be encountered. These risks are lessened by a well-defined set of lockout/tagout policies. Selecting the optimal printers and media to support lockout/tagout policies help ensure success of this process.

Honeywell’s Duratran Synthetic Tag has excellent resistance to water, oil, and chemicals and the strength to ensure it remains attached with typical locks or cable ties. Duratran Pro tag has premium pull strength available for operations where maximum stress on the tagout device is anticipated.

Chemical Container Labellingchemical container blog

Labels are used to mark cosmetic, food, oil and chemicals including dangerous goods for overseas transport, this must comply with the IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods) Code in accordance with international treaty (United Nations International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea).

IMDG specifies British Standard 5609 for performance criteria. This testing is designed to ensure labels and print survive the harsh conditions experienced by a container lost at sea. Clear and consistent product labelling is an essential component of a comprehensive hazard communication system.

Honeywell’s range of Duratran labels and Zebra’s Z-Xtreme labels offer excellent chemical and moisture resistance for containers, this ensures the label remains legible for its lifespan.

These are not the only applications where highly resilient and durable media is essential. The healthcare industry requires labels resistant to chemical exposure for use in laboratories, manufacturing in-process labels need to withstand harsh chemicals and in some instances high temperatures, whereas the horticulture industry requires labels and tags to be dirt and water resistant with a high tolerance to varying temperatures.

Print media is an import factor to any business solution that involves a printer. Without the correct media for the task businesses will incur data inaccuracies, reduction in worker efficiency and in extreme cases risk to employee safety.

References:

Understanding Mobile Printing Technology and Capabilities – Zebra Technologies

E-Citation Printing – Intermec by Honeywell

REACH and GHS Chemical Container Labeling – Intermec by Honeywell

Durable Printing for Lockout/Tagout – Intermec by Honeywell

Z-Ultimate 3000T White – Zebra Technologies

http://supplies.zebra.com

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Rugged

Deliver real benefits for demanding tasks with mobile printing

Rugged Printing

Challenging environments need reliable rugged technology such as handheld and tablet devices and in some instances mobile printers to successfully perform a task.

Designed to be lightweight, yet engineered to handle the shocks and drops that are part of the job, there are a range of rugged mobile printers available for workers. These include the Honeywell microFlash and Zebra ZQ500 ultra-rugged mobile printers.

Printer media also plays an important role in the performance of a task, some applications require labels and receipts that can withstand challenging environments and offer longevity ranging from 18 months to up to 10 years in outdoor applications and up to 12 years archivability for receipts.

By using mobile printers like the ones mentioned, users can gain more control over operations by providing the ability to print exactly when and where needed. This process can save workers time on each task, increase productivity and save on labour.

Mobile printing can benefit different operations and industries. Businesses that replace handwritten forms with mobile computers and printers for field maintenance and service, security and law enforcement and utilities operations, typically report that workers are able to perform more tasks, this increases revenue and enables expansion without adding more man power. These applications also create electronic records that do not require transcription and manual data entry back at the office, further reducing time spent on each job.

The use of mobile technology can benefit industries in the following ways:

Field Maintenance and Service

  • Reduce task preparation time with mobile computing and printing systems
  • Mobile printers produce more accurate, legible documents, including work orders, receipts, invoices, compliance reports, and inspection notices or labels
  • Improve cash flow by accepting payment on delivery or service with a mobile printer containing a built-in card reader
  • Prevent delays and wait time at the central facility by wirelessly exchanging work assignments and delivery records at the beginning and end of each shift.

Security and Law Enforcement

  • Improve safety, enforceability and efficiency by utilising mobile computers and printers to issue e-citations
  • Reduce manual paperwork and decrease clerical errors by accepting immediate ticket payment at the point of citation with an integrated card reader
  • Improve evidence management by applying barcodes to evidence as it is collected in the field

Utilities

  • Leverage mobile printers to create legible identification labels and inspection QA stickers
  • Produce service records and invoices for customers
  • Process payments and issue receipts on the spot

When paired with a handheld or tablet computer mobile printers can complete a solution that increases worker efficiency, reduce errors and continue to work in challenging environments.

References:

Understanding Mobile Printing Technology and Capabilities – Zebra Technologies

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Rugged

Total Cost of Ownership: Understanding Hard and Soft Costs

Hard&Soft

When choosing to deploy new devices businesses need to consider the implications of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). TCO is more than just the one off purchase of the hardware, it comprises of hard and soft costs that organisations incur when deploying mobile computing solutions.

Hard costs consist of hardware, accessories, software, implementation and training, whereas the softer operational costs include productivity loss, opportunity loss and maintenance/support costs. VDC’s research revealed that the soft costs associated with mobile computing solutions represent the most significant contribution to overall TCO.

“It’s estimated that hard costs may only account for 10% or less of TCO over five years. That means soft costs can account for 90% of a business’s TCO.”

How to calculate the Total Cost of Ownership of your mobile device

Consumer technology may look like the most cost-effective option but they often introduce unforeseen complexities and hidden costs once the initial purchase has been made. Additional peripheral software or services have to be purchased in order to modify the devices to fit their business requirements. Research from Zebra found that consumer devices increase TCO by up to 50 percent compared to built for business devices, this is due to the potential costs of worker downtime, accelerated replacement cycles and the support needed for a successful implementation are taken into account.

As mentioned in a previous article The Short-Term View Impacting Businesses – Rugged vs Consumer Grade Devices businesses are choosing to deploy consumer grade devices based on their low initial cost compared to their rugged counterparts. However investment goes far beyond the initial purchase price of the device itself.

It is important for organisations to consider both the hard and soft costs in order to ensure that their final decision will deliver the greatest value to their business in the long term.

References:

VDC Research – TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP (TCO) MODELS FOR MOBILE COMPUTING AND COMMUNICATIONS PLATFORMS

http://blogs.zebra.com/how-to-calculate-the-total-cost-of-ownership-of-your-mobile-device

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Rugged

The Short-Term View Impacting Businesses – Rugged vs Consumer Grade Devices

Consumer vs Rugged

The rugged vs consumer debate has been an on-going technology discussion in the channel with a number of businesses choosing consumer devices over their superior rugged counterparts on the belief that they are more cost effective.

The issue we see is that while investing in rugged technology is a long-term investment for the true value to be fully realised, businesses are taking a short-term view on spending based on their immediate budgets. When the cost of rugged devices are compared to their consumer grade counterparts, businesses see the consumer device as a radical cost saving.

What isn’t considered is that three years on the consumer devices will have cost far more than forecast due to failure rates and breakages in comparison to rugged devices that have been specifically designed to handle critical working environments.

“A consumer-market tablet cost of £550 including a ‘rugged’ case would typically return an annual field failure level of 25%, and possibly more, when used in demanding working environments. A purpose-built rugged tablet will cost £1,500 with a three-year warranty and support package, and have an expected field failure rate sub-3% over that three years. That’s three times or so the initial cost, but a significant improvement on operational life expectancy, and minimum down-time in the field.”Peter Molyneux, UK President, Getac

Failure rates of consumer grade devices can be as high as 30% a year, yet businesses still perceive them to be the most cost effective. What businesses don’t recognise is the cost of disruption and inefficiency that impacts the workforce due to downtime.

Rugged mobile devices are designed from the ground up to withstand harsh environments and have many integrated components such as barcode scanners, digital cameras, GPS, WAN, LAN radios, and Bluetooth. They are also designed to be fully functional in extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain and cold working environments where users wear gloves, or bright sunlight. This functionality is often overlooked when businesses are seeking to deploy new devices.

This video of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 and FZ-X1 is a brilliant example of how rugged devices are built specifically for mission-critical mobile workers, and highlights where consumer grade devices fall short.

References:

TALKING TOUGH: FOCUS ON TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP – http://fieldservicenews.com/talking-tough-focus-on-total-cost-of-ownership/

VDC Research: TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP (TCO) MODELS FOR MOBILE COMPUTING AND COMMUNICATIONS PLATFORMS

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Rugged

MTM 2016 – Introduce New Staff and Build Industry Knowledge

MVI_5224.MOV.Still001Meet the Manufacturer is a rare occasion where leading channel professionals from the world’s top mobile computing and EPoS vendors are gathered together in one place. Combined with the range of products on display, MTM is an ideal opportunity to introduce new members of your team to the wider industry, or to enhance your employee’s existing knowledge.

This year’s event, to be held on Wednesday 27th April at The St. John’s Hotel in Solihull, will see the likes of Zebra Technologies, Honeywell, Datalogic, Panasonic and many others attending as exhibitors. The event is also attended by UK IT channel professionals from a wide range of system integrators, solution providers and resellers.

Speaking ahead of the 2016 show Stephen Henry, Director of Aberdeen based healthcare solution provider Sciamed, said “It’s a great opportunity to immerse new starters into our industry. There are so many facets to our industry and so many applications and vertical markets that people are involved in.  From EPoS to healthcare to manufacturing and parking enforcement –it’s a great opportunity for new starters to get to grips with how vast our industry is in terms of the solutions we can provide.

“The applications are so diverse that it is impossible to understand them all but you never know what you are going to come across in your next customer meeting. The amount of times I’ve been in a customer meeting and I’ve thought to myself that I’ve seen that somewhere before and it was probably at the Meet the Manufacturer event.”

This view is shared amongst representatives from the manufacturers who will be exhibiting at this year’s event. Speaking at MTM 2015, Rob Alcock, Print and Media Specialist at Honeywell said, “There are some very knowledgeable and experienced people at this event. There is a limited talent pool and it’s a very specialised industry so to see some of these partners taking young people, training them and bringing them in to the industry is great to see.”

As well as training new staff, MTM is an opportunity for all industry professionals to keep up to speed with the latest developments to affect the IT channel. Sciamed are regular attendees at Meet the Manufacturer and Stephen Henry believes the event to be a valuable fact-finding experience as well as a great networking opportunity. He said, “It’s an opportunity to catch up with the manufacturers which is obviously the core of the event, but it’s also an opportunity to network with our peers.

“We work very closely with Datalogic but it’s always interesting to see the other brands as well. Honeywell have a vast array of equipment available now so it’s important to keep up to date. It’s essential for us to get the right piece of kit for the solution we are providing for our customers rather than just what we know.

“At one of the events we had a thorough talk on the Internet of Things and the Zebra Zatar portal. We could then implement that with some of our customers. It was an invaluable opportunity to meet with some of the Zebra technical staff like Gary Malcolm to get his take on the opportunity and how it could be implemented.”

The number of exhibitors attending the event adds to the appeal of Meet the Manufacturer for Sciamed, saving valuable time that would otherwise be spent arranging and travelling to meetings all over the country, as Stephen explains. “We put great store on the relationships that we have with our suppliers,” said Stephen.

“You can’t put a measure on how important it is to have that face-to-face connection and that relationship. MTM gives us the ability to see so many manufacturers in one place. Ordinarily to arrange to see that many people you might be away from the office for a week or more with all of those appointments.  But at MTM everybody is there in one room and it’s a great day to try and get round as many people as you can. Some of the discussions become quite involved.”

“We’d never underestimate the value of coming down from Aberdeen to wherever the event is held. There is usually myself and one or two other people who join me and we find it to be a worthwhile investment to make that journey because we learn so much whilst we’re there.”

Meet the Manufacturer is free to attend and will be held on Wednesday 27th April at The St, John’s Hotel in Solihull. To see a full list of exhibitors, event details and to register to attend please click here.

Posted in Uncategorized

MTM 2016 – Leveraging the Internet of Things for Your Business

MVI_5153.MOV.Still001In today’s connected world more and more machines are being embedded with smart technology, building a network of physical objects which are able to collect and exchange data. But how can businesses use this intelligence to benefit their service offering, and how can IT resellers and solution providers help them get the most out of this opportunity?

Ahead of Meet the Manufacturer 2016, Varlink spoke to Jon-Paul Clarke of Wireless Logic, Europe’s leading M2M managed services provider, who explains how the Internet of Things (IoT) is presenting ever increasing opportunities for the IT channel.

“The Internet of Things has been around a long time, it just hasn’t had a label,” said Jon-Paul. “Up until three or four years ago the term was Machine to Machine (M2M). The IoT is an evolution of that. M2M has traditionally been the delivery of communications over cellular or GPRS networks. The IoT is more orientated towards the use of the internet to transfer data from a wide range of devices and bearer services

“There is also another term that we see a lot in all of our lives – ‘Big Data.’ It is the management of Big Data that is fundamental to the IoT.  It is the management and collection of vast, disparate amounts of data from different sources and the delivery of that data in a method that is useful, legible and understandable.”

Visitors to Meet the Manufacturer 2016 can meet with Jon-Paul to discuss how the IoT can be used to offer complete solutions to end users in a variety of Industries, earning recurring revenue on data connectivity whilst offering an enhanced solution to end user customers.

MTM16-Save-the-dateJon-Paul said, “There is the opportunity for partners of Varlink to capitalise on the delivery mechanism of IoT, without the need to invest in billing services or the risk of managing contracts for end customers. Wireless Logic’s managed services provide a simple and effective way to deliver connectivity to customers, adding value to the Varlink partner solution. In the last year, we’ve implemented a number of data connectivity projects with Varlink partners where the addition of data connectivity to their hardware solution has created a comprehensive ‘one stop’ package for the end customer. And in all cases, the Varlink partner has earnt from the connectivity aspect through ongoing revenue share.

But importantly, there are the savings and return on investment that the end customer can make. If they have a device out in the field and they have to collect that data manually it takes valuable time and resource.

“We have a customer who utilises PDAs for the scanning of milk trollies for major dairies. Historically they had to scan each trolley that they had repaired and the data was stored locally. The only way they could retrieve the data was to go to the site and download the data from a host PC. By utilising a GPRS enabled PDA they are able to pass that data instantly back to the central database and pass that information to their end customer in real time,” explains Wireless Logic’s Jon-Paul Clarke

“Transport and logistics is the classic market for PDAs. We all know that in the old days you would sign a piece of paper to say you have received the goods. The driver would have to take that back to a central location and that information would need to be copied, taking time and resource. That information about the delivery of your parcel might not be available to the next day. The benefit of M2M and IoT is the immediate reduction in resources and cost and also an improved level of service to the end customer.”

The use of IoT enabled devices in the enterprise market is expected to grow rapidly over the next five years and Jon-Paul explains how Varlink customers will be a part of this expansion.

“Where in the past it hasn’t been cost effective to implement an IoT/ M2M solution, it is now a viable cost option for customers and reseller partners,” said Jon-Paul. “Where that fits in for Varlink’s partners is that we are seeing more people using 4G enabled tablets and handheld computers as opposed to low data PDA applications. It’s now a lot easier and the cost benefit of adopting a 4G cellular solution is a lot more attractive.

“An understanding of the marketplace is really important because there are certain nuances here. The key service we are looking to deliver is a best of breed, specific IoT / M2M infrastructure in place of a more traditional ‘fit and forget’ consumer style SIM. And with this comes the thorny subjects of security and resilience – it is imperative that data is locked down and communicated across platforms that are future-proofed with uptime SLA’s.

To learn more how you can earn recurring revenue with Wireless Logic by offering SIM connectivity with every device you sell please click here.

Jon-Paul Clarke will be exhibiting with Wireless Logic at Meet the Manufacturer 2016 to be held on Wednesday 27th April at The St, John’s Hotel in Solihull. To see a full list of exhibitors, event details and to register to attend please click here.

Posted in Uncategorized

MTM 2016 – Five Reasons to Attend This Year’s Event

Wednesday 27th April 2016 – The St John’s Hotel, SolihullMTM16-Save-the-date

Now in its 11th year, Meet the Manufacturer (MTM) has become a key date in the diary for resellers and suppliers alike.

We recognise that time away from the office needs to be used valuably and that is why MTM has been designed around you; whether you can spare an hour, a morning or a whole day, MTM has a convenient drop in format so whenever suits your business, you can be assured to get the same value from the event.

Much more than just a product ‘show and tell,’ MTM provides a number of unique opportunities for solution providers, system integrators and IT resellers to stay ahead of the curve. MTM is a channel only event and free to attend.

Here are five of the top ways you and your business could benefit from attending MTM 2016.

Excellent Staff Training and Introduction Opportunity

MTM is a rare occasion where leading channel professionals from the world’s top mobile computing and EPoS vendors are gathered together in one place. Combined with the range of products on display, MTM is an ideal opportunity to introduce new or junior members of your team to the wider industry.

Speaking at MTM 2015, Rob Alcock, Print and Media Specialist at Honeywell said, “There are some very knowledgeable and experienced people at this event. There is a limited talent pool and it’s a very specialised industry so to see some of these partners taking young people, training them and bringing them in to the industry is great to see.”

The Future of the Operating System Landscape

The operating system landscape has seen significant change in the last few years, with the introduction of Android within business, the gap that loomed in the absence of a Windows Mobile option, and quick adoption of Windows 10 in the early part of 2016.

MTM provides the platform for you to discuss the future of operating systems directly with the manufacturer, hear how they see this evolving over the next year to 18 months so you can ensure your business is prepared for the changes ahead. Discuss the operating system future and the challenges this brings with those in the know including Honeywell, Janam, Opticon, Datalogic and many more at MTM.

Rugged vs. Consumer – The Value Proposition
With the capabilities of consumer devices increasing, how can you ensure that your customers’ understand the true value proposition of investing in rugged, fit for purpose devices? Total cost of ownership has long been the best argument, but what about the specific technologies used to design and build industrial grade devices, how do these aspects differ?

Arm yourself with expertise directly from leading ultra-rugged manufacturers including Panasonic and Trimble. Hear how their products use specialist technology for the ultimate in product performance.

Loyalty – The Driver Behind 2D Technology

Loyalty in retail and hospitality has long been used to understand buyer behaviour and equip business owners with the information needed to target customers with relevant promotions, increase sales opportunities and maintain customer relationships. Long gone are the days of paper based coupons as our constantly connected world offers instantly accessible promotional codes on the go, but this shift in customer engagement has generated the need for store based technology to evolve too.

Significant investment is already being made in 2D readers which can read codes straight from Smartphone screens, and with products on the market which can be upgraded from 1D to 2D as and when the need arises, loyalty is driving the adoption of 2D scanning, presenting a real opportunity for you to provide your customers with future-proof scanning solutions!

Learn from others at MTM where you can discuss success stories first-hand from our retail scanning experts including Datalogic, Honeywell and Opticon.

What Does the Internet of Things Mean for Your Business?

In today’s connected world more and more machines are being embedded with smart technology, building a network of physical objects which are able to collect and exchange data. But how can businesses use this intelligence to benefit their offering, and how can you help them get the most out of this opportunity?

At MTM, world leading manufacturers including Zebra Technologies and Honeywell can help you understand what the IoT means to you. Leaders in their field, both of these global manufacturers have the expertise and foresight to show you the future of the connected world. Is your business ready for it?

MTM2016 will be held on Wednesday 27th April at The St, John’s Hotel in Solihull. To see a full list of exhibitors, event details and to register to attend please click here.

Posted in Uncategorized
Follow me on Twitter

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,275 other followers