Miles Technologies President Featured in VSR Podcast

June 15, 2009

Best Practices on Getting Paid Promptly

Listen Now

VSR and Zebra Technologies proudly present the latest installment of the Business Acumen Podcast Series on how to get paid – from the VAR’s perspective. Join Tom Beusch, President of Miles Technologies, as he provides his experiences and best practices on this timely topic.

Learn insider information including:

  • How VARs can ensure that they will not be thrown into a full-blown cash flow crisis.
  • How to address issues with customers who are not paying on time.
  • Adjustments that VARs can make as it relates to managing their revenue streams.

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Zebra Gen 2 UHF RFID Card Printers Used by epcSolutions

June 11, 2009

As we have blogged about in the last several weeks, Zebra Technologies was the first company to offer card printers with Gen 2 RFID card printing/encoding capabilities. With extended range and applications, such as printing and encoding employee loyalty cards, membership cards, and security cards, it’s no wonder Zebra’s printers are being used by such firms as epcSolutions-the leading provider of RFID compliance software to Wal-Mart and DoD suppliers.

EpcSolutions offers a variety of products supporting the Zebra Gen 2 UHF RFID printers/encoders. One such product, FixedAssetManager, uses the Gen 2 RFID cards for items such as returnable totes and storage boxes to enhance file or document management. The product also uses RFID or barcodes to track fixed asset inventories like computers and furniture.

Another epcSolutions product, TetraGate, uses Zebra’s Gen 2 RFID cards to identify people and provide human access control. The technology helps make products more secure during distribution by combining UHF RFID technology inside an employee ID card with biometric facial recognition. TetraGate Lite, a similar product using Gen 2 RFID cards, was recently deployed to track students moving in and out of school buildings.

Meanwhile, epcSolutions’ WorkInProcessManager uses Gen 2 RFID cards to track the state and location of works-in-progress-from raw materials to finished goods-in real time. And RFIDTagManager allows Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Best Buy, and DoD suppliers to meet RFID mandates. Suppliers use point-and-click wizards to set up and configure their RFID hardware and then print and encode compliant RFID labels. RFIDTagManager uses Gen 2 RFID cards on returnable pallets used to ship tagged goods to Wal-Mart and the DoD.

With applications in asset tracking, access control, and inventory management, Zebra’s Gen 2 UHF RFID printers/encoders have become invaluable in warehouses and DCs around the world.


Assisted Living Facility Deploys RFID for Senior Safety

June 9, 2009

Goodwin House Alexandria, a faith-based retirement community with independent and assisted-living facilities in northern Virginia, is among the latest healthcare facilities to deploy RFID for the wellbeing of its residents. Known as eNeighbor, the RFID-based service is non-intrusive and will empower residents by allowing them to signal for help when needed.

The eNeighbor system is comprised of several Wi-Fi-based RFID devices that residents can choose from, including a pendant to be worn around the neck and a cord affixed to the wall. Other options include motion sensors and RFID-enabled bed and chair sensors that can detect when a resident gets in and out of bed. Because the system is Wi-Fi-based, it requires Wi-Fi access points that receive communications from the various devices and pass that data on to Web-based back-end software that then generates and sends alerts to supervisors’ wireless phones.

Goodwin House Alexandria, owned by Goodwin House, Inc., has been using the RFID system since August 2008. Today, 120 of the 320 residents who live in the on-site apartments have decided to use the system. The system works thanks to a Wi-Fi-based active RFID tag embedded in the pendant that is encoded with a unique ID number. When the button on the pendant is pressed, that tag sends a signal with its ID number, and the back-end system pinpoints location to within 60 square feet. The supervisor is then informed of the resident’s name, apartment number, and the specific zone in which the signal originated. The pull cords on walls work similarly, with a Wi-Fi RFID tag emitting a signal when the cords are pulled.


More Leaders in Food Retail Turn to Voice Recognition Software

June 4, 2009

Albert Heijn, the #1 food retailer in the Netherlands, has implemented voice-picking software in all six of its Dutch distribution centers. The project was a $2.6 million investment, but the up-front cost was worth it to the company. In January 2008, when the system was launched, Albert Heijn expected to see a return on investment within eight weeks through an 8% increase in productivity.

In the course of the three-month launch process, more than 5,000 users across Albert Heijn’s six DCs were trained and enabled for voice-picking. To date, that is the largest voice recognition software rollout in the Netherlands and one of the largest in the world. The voice-picking software was set up to function in Dutch and Polish dialogues, making the transition virtually seamless even for those workers who were not native to the Netherlands.

Albert Heijn is only one example of leading food retailers that have recognized the value of voice-picking. Dunkin-Donuts, the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain, has also seen a positive drastic change in productivity and accuracy after implementing voice technology. The company’s productivity has increased by 12.5%, while accuracy has skyrocketed to 99.94%. Meanwhile, clerical errors have been reduced by 33%, and product damage has been reduced by 80%. The company also saves an annual $240,000 by having redeployed eight order-checking workers.


RFID Helps British Company Keep Workers Employed During Recession

June 2, 2009

Like many other large corporations, Structural Metal Decks Ltd., or SMD, (www.smdltd.co.uk), a British provider of composite concrete flooring, recently considered laying off workers to cut costs during the current economic downturn. However, the company recognized that it could keep workers employed by providing its own safety nets in house, rather than leasing them, and by tracking those nets with RFID.

In the U.K., construction companies are required by law to provide nylon safety nets for workers at elevated sites. As the sun’s UV rays can weaken the nylon over time, it is necessary to closely monitor the nets to ensure that their condition meets safety standards. For SMD, that not only means performing regular inspections, but also tracking where the nets have been and to what conditions they have been exposed.

The company turned to RFID after utilizing a barcode tracking method that failed due to the barcode labels not withstanding the sites’ tough environment. The RFID system includes tags attached to the nets; two handheld computers with built-in RFID interrogators; and portable data collection software to manage data associated with the reads. That data includes when the nets are inspected, where they have been used, and when they are returned. As usage of the nets increases, so does the data collected about them; eventually SMD can instantly see the projects for which the nets were deployed, the time they were used, who booked the nets and for which jobs, and details regarding repairs, tests, and inspections.

Thanks to the new RFID system, SMD is empowered with more control over their nets-ultimately saving the company money on leasing nets and enabling it to keep its workers employed – and safe.