Zebra’s Link-OS and the Internet of Things

Business needs and expectations are evolving with the growing demand for intelligent and cloud based technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term used to describe the connection of physical objects to the internet, allowing them to be remotely controlled and managed from anywhere in the world. IoT-enabled devices are becoming a key method for providing “right now” visibility and intelligence for businesses.

When decision makers have access to accurate business intelligence in near real time, they can take proactive action, optimise processes, and accelerate innovation. The result is a more agile enterprise that can boost efficiencies, improve quality, customer loyalty, and drive revenue.

Link-OS Icons HR2500In response to this, Zebra has created Link-OS, an open environment that pairs smart Zebra printers with powerful software applications. Zebra’s Link-OS environment combines an innovative operating system, a powerful Multiplatform Software Development Kit (SDK) and software applications that make Zebra printers even easier to integrate, manage and maintain from any location.

Print Station

The Print Station application delivers a user-friendly, driverless solution for printing templates stored either on the printer or an Android device. As a modern alternative to the traditional KDU, the Print Station also supports more connectivity methods – Bluetooth, Wireless and even USB. Print Station can be found on the Google Play Market.

Print Touch

A Near Field Communication tag (or NFC tag) is embedded in the Link-OS device during manufacturing. These tags know several “things” about the device, such as the printers MAC addresses (Bluetooth, wired network, wireless network) and device serial number. The Print Touch tag allows businesses to leverage that data, so that when a Print Touch-enabled Link-OS device and a NFC-enabled device are brought together, it triggers the host device to visit a helpful web page, or even launch an application on the handheld device.

Cloud Connect

Being a good “Cloud Citizen” is becoming an expected device attribute. To support this, Zebra have included the Cloud Connect feature in the Link-OS range. Cloud Connect is based on the IT friendly

websockets protocol, which allows for secure, bidirectional connections between Link-OS printers and applications. Link-OS printers can use this feature to communicate directly to an on premise server, or through a firewall to a cloud-based app.

Virtual Devices

Powerful on-printer support for non-Zebra command languages. Previously, supporting a non-Zebra legacy language required a separate firmware installation. Now, with the Virtual Devices app, on-printer support allows users to switch between command languages without having to give up access to Zebra’s powerful ZPL® language, or the great device management features that are

supported by Link-OS. Virtual Devices are posted on Zebra.com for easy access.

Profile Manager

Using a web-based interface and running from a centrally installed server allows Profile Manager to control Link-OS printers throughout a business’s network from one user-friendly interface. Loaded with features, Profile Manager brings new flexibility to device management:

– Manage printers individually or as a group

– Store/send printer configurations (profiles)

– Convert fonts and graphic

– Check printer status

– Quickly access printer settings

– And much more…

AirWatch® Connector

A PC based application, created via a Zebra/AirWatch partnership, allows businesses to manage multiple Link OS devices from the AirWatch mobile device management product. The AirWatch Connector is one in a series of “Connector” applications Zebra is creating.

Multiplatform Software Development Kit (SDK)

The Link-OS™ Multiplatform Software Development Kit enables businesses to create their own applications on PCs, smart phones and tablets to use with smart Zebra printers.

“Right now” information such as device location and work load capacity allows businesses to make informed decisions and carry out proactive maintenance to prevent down time. With the growing demand for intelligent devices connected to the cloud, Zebra’s Link-OS Environment provides businesses with a flexible and creative way to manage and gather information about their Zebra printers.

Link-OS Printers: iMZ Series, QLn Series, ZT200 Series and ZT400 Series

Click here to see the Zebra range available at Varlink


We are a specialist, value added distributor of mobile computing and data capture products. Underpinning all that we do is an understanding that our customers deserve outstandingly executed basic distribution services.

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Posted in Internet of Things, Printing Solutions

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