Author: Brandon Hill
Posted by Brandon Hill
It used to be that to buy something the consumer would just walk up to the cashier to get the items scanned and then pay. With the rise of mobile it’s becoming more common for the cashier to be roaming the store in search of a customer ready to check out all in the name of streamlining the customer’s experience.
Last holiday season Urban Outfitters used more than 300 iPod Touch devices as point-of-sale (POS) systems, and anticipates in the future that 80 percent of Urban Outfitter staffers will carry them to help with transactions.
While the emergence of mobile devices as POS systems creates convenience for shoppers and employees as well as less costs going into cash register acquisitions, it spells a problem in the form of managing the devices.
Earlier this year, beauty product retailer Sephora followed Apple’s lead by ditching its traditional POSes in favor of iPod Touches. With a list of retailers implementing pilots in an effort to reduce customer wait times the worry is if those devices need to be managed, and how is that going to be done?
The trend of mobile devices replacing cash registers isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, especially if you believe Square’s report of their volume last year. Mobile Payments Today published an infographic (also posted below) centered on mobile payments and stated that a mobile device as a credit card processor as one of the second-most hyped forms of mobile payments.
Companies need to make sure a policy is in place to manage all these devices and a central location to wipe them if they turn up missing.
Compliments of MobilePaymentsToday.com
We are excited to share our Speakeasy and Goya Foods video case study. Luis and his team are doing amazing things with their applications, and this video has some excellent insight into the ways voice-enabling their Manhattan Associates WMS has really improved operations. Take a peek and let us know what you think!
You can view all of our videos at our YouTube page, here.
Posted by Brandon Hill
Anyone who has used a rugged mobile device knows how valuable the devices are to any enterprise. Their efficiency and speed make them one of the keys to retail and warehouse business processes. But, does your organization have a solid mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) to make mobile applications and workers as productive as possible?
According to a SearchConsumerization article written by Michael Brandenburg, “Mobile enterprise application platforms provide an environment where enterprises can develop an application once and run it on any mobile OS. This approach is essential to enterprises that support a mix of devices, especially those that allow end users to run mobile enterprise applications on personal devices.”
Velocity was built to do exactly that, and is built and optimized for ruggedized mobile devices where traditional browsers are not. In the past, enterprises were forced to run Web applications across a variety of different versions of Windows, Pocket IE, etc. This led to inconsistent and unreliable user experience. Velocity stabilizes user experience regarding this issue.
As more and more companies see the value in moving toward web applications, it’s critical that they have a browser that is capable of meeting new needs and requirements. If your organization is looking at moving towards browser-based applications, it’s important to remember a few things: 1) Ensure that the application will be rendered properly across many different device types/sizes. 2) Will it work across multi-OS platforms, common in the rugged space? 3) Will connection be maintained if the device moves in and out of RF coverage?
Make sure you know the answers to these questions, and if you feel we’ve missed any, feel free to post them in the comments below.
Posted by Brandon Hill
Last week, we wrapped up our “Next Generation of Mobile Web Applications” webinar, which introduced you to Wavelink Velocity. In the coming month, you’ll hear plenty about how, with Velocity, we are primarily giving enterprises the ability to do three things:
- Increase the speed of wireless applications
- Provide a consistent UI of the web application to a diverse environment of devices (Datalogic, Motorola, Honeywell, etc)
- Improving the efficiency of mobile workers by enabling them to complete web applications faster.
I encourage you to view the recorded webinar and see for yourself. What benefits can you see if you could run your mobile web applications faster than before? How much do you feel you could save in productivity costs?
Still in its infancy the B.Y.O.D concept has a lot of companies and influencers “land grabbing” to be the leader in providing a solution that solves the inherent risks when you allow employee devices into the work place. As we are in the MDM market we have our opinions on some of the top things IT managers need to consider from a management perspective.
One of the things companies need to know is simply what is on each phone that could cause a threat. This can be a bigger concern with Android more than iOS because Android phones are running different versions of its OS. With iOS, if there is a threat from an app then it will likely affect all iOS devices. With Android you need to narrow it down to the phone, OS and where they got the app.
Another consideration is email provisioning and policies, because a lot of security issues come from email. A lot of employees are just connecting to their company’s exchange server, but IT managers need to be proactive and know who is connecting so they can make sure the phone can be wiped if they leave or lose the smartphone/tablet.
Finally, companies should consider creating a policy or some strict requirements for B.Y.O.D. For example, IT should consider banning phones which have been jailbroken. Those phones can introduce more vulnerability into your network, and while it is the employee’s device, it’s still your network.
What considerations would you add? Post them in the comments below, or start a new discussion about this or any mobile ecosystem topic in our LinkedIn group.
Imagine arriving at the local insta-care facility and after your check-in, you step up to the scale for your routine weigh-in. However, this time instead of the local nurse checking your weight, it’s automatically said out-loud by a small computer. Come to think of it, maybe that’s a bad example… turns out most probably don’t want their weight being open to public ears!
Yet, despite that bad example, it’s easy to see areas in the healthcare mobile ecosystem where voice-enabling tasks could be a huge benefit. Going back to the above, imagine language barriers that make new patient check-in’s difficult. Now imagine if that process could be voice-enabled, by having basic check-in questions spoken to the patient in his or her language. Suddenly, the process is much quicker, and wait times are drastically reduced. The concept is really no different than that of providing broad language support for voice picking applications in the warehouse.
Bottom line is this: voice technology is growing in the healthcare world, just as it has in retail, manufacturing, transportation, and so in. In fact, a recent TMCnet article about Nuance’s Mobile Clinician Voice Challenge states:
Physician adoption of mobile healthcare devices is expected to reach up to 85 percent over the current year. Increasing the need for user-friendly healthcare applications that enhance medical professionals ability to track mobile workflow and overall provide effective patient care digitally.
85%. That’s a big jump. So the next time your at your local physician, insta-care, or emergency room, take a look around – what aspects of the healthcare mobile ecosystem do you see that could be voice-enabled?
For the average consumer, buying online doesn’t seem like a logistical nightmare; just click and buy, and a few days later it shows up at your house…most of the time. But behind the scenes there is a system set up to make sure everything is being accounted for, and the thought of something going wrong keeps managers up at night.
To put it in perspective, this past holiday season, Americans spent nearly $32 billion dollars online. The average package delivered by UPS took a ride on one of its more than 500 airplanes, traveled on 155 miles of conveyor belts and was scanned upwards of 23 times all before it got to your door.
To say this is a logistical nightmare is an understatement.
With more customers shopping online than ever before, it becomes increasingly important that a company’s mobile ecosystem is in order and that your company has a centralized management system to control those mobile devices.
In October 2011, FedEx estimated they would deliver 17 million packages in ONE day during the holiday season (December 12, the busiest delivery day of the year). What happens if one of those ruggedized scanners the driver uses malfunctions? If you aren’t able to remotely manage that device, it can cost a company thousands of dollars in lost productivity, not to mention the hit your brand takes.
With a well-thought out mobile strategy, an IT manager can remotely log-in to that device, diagnose the problem and get it back up and running, and let the driver get to their destination.
With that in mind, you can quickly see how remote management of ruggedized devices is the unsung hero of your logistics mobile ecosystem.
How are you managing your devices?
Posted by Brandon Hill
Healthcare, healthcare, healthcare. It’s like the mobile industry’s own Marcia Brady these days, as more and more attention is being given to mHealth. Just yesterday, we posted an interesting article about what happens when doctors lose their smart devices. But, healthcare mobility issues go beyond losing devices and extends to much higher-level mobility strategy. In May 2010, Gartner’s John Lovelock stated that healthcare CIOs were lagging when it came to having a sound strategy for enterprise mobility in place. CIOs stated that they were hoping one mobile platform or OS would emerge for management purposes. While no single platform has emerged as the clear winner, things are changing when it comes to mobility in healthcare.
“Mobile is certainly still one [area of health IT] that needs to be on that list of what’s coming. It’s here, but it’s still coming. We are just seeing the beginning of that. This is going to be something that is going to become much more significant,” said HIMSS CEO H. Stephen Lieber in an interview with MobiHealthNews.
We’ve mentioned that there doesn’t seem to be one clear platform winner, but Apple’s iPad is really making a big case for its place in the healthcare mobile ecosystem. According to an article in Wired, the Veterans Administration is looking to deploy 100,000 iPads across 152 locations and with the announcement of the iPad 3, CIOs will need to assess where it fits within their mobile ecosystem. Once they assess where it fits in, the bigger question becomes, “How do we manage it?”
For obvious reasons, security is a big issue in the healthcare mobile ecosystem and management extends beyond the physical device. As the BYOD phenomenon spills over into the healthcare sector, employees want their own devices to have network access. While the iPad and other slick handheld products get most of the attention with healthcare mobility, CIOs can’t forget about the management of other endpoints that are in the ecosystem: printers, ruggedized handhelds, routers, access points, etc.
If you’re an IT professional in the healthcare field, are you mindful to buy and consider products that can manage multiple platforms and OSes? Do you think multiple platform management is important? We’d love to hear your opinion.
Last week, Multichannel Merchant had a great article that focused on how to improve warehouse productivity. He had nine tips for doing so ranging from creating a picking path to listening to employee feedback.
We’d like to add a tenth – using your voice.
Voice picking isn’t new to the warehouse. In fact, our voice picking product, Speakeasy, has been around for years, but just within the last couple of years companies have really started to implement it and see huge returns.
Take Goya Foods for example. They have been using Speakeasy in their Prince George facility. Within the first few months of using Speakeasy, they noticed improvement in three areas – accuracy, efficiency, and safety. Like Goya, most companies see the following:
Mispicks can lead to significant expenses, costing most companies anywhere from $5 – $50 per error. With that in mind, you can see how the savings quickly add up. (To see for yourself, contact us for a copy of our Speakeasy ROI Calculator)
On average, pick teams will complete their tasks much faster than before. With voice, pick teams move from sequence to sequence in rapid time.
With voice commands, pickers move from point to point more safely. This makes plant managers much more at ease.
Another thing to point out is that management costs of Speakeasy are minimal because the product is advanced enough that pickers don’t need to go through technical training to calibrate it for their own use.
Not to mention it is really easy to use, as our own Greg Berger demonstrates for Warehouse IQ at ProMat last year.