Wavelink Blog

Tag: Logistics

All I Want for Christmas is… Voice?


Okay, it may be a stretch to say that this holiday season you want voice technology wrapped in a red bow but it isn’t a stretch to say from your professional point of view, “let’s make my life easier”. We can’t wrap it up in a pretty little bow with a nice shiny car but we can give you five good reasons why voice technology can improve efficiency in your operation.

  1. Go Multi-Modal: The ability to accept voice in addition to barcode scanning, RFID and keyboard entry expands the flexibility of application design by providing a cross-check to error-proof data. It also gives you the freedom to select the type of data input that will improve workflow that maximizes productivity. For example, the input of longer identifiers, such as serial numbers, is accomplished more efficiently with barcode scanning. When you can quickly use a variety of methods to check on the accuracy of an order it improves customer service and retention levels while eliminating costly mistakes.
  2. Increase productivity: With a well known 15 – 20% (or more) gain in productivity, hands-free operation allows for simultaneous action that increases productivity, such as the handling of product while receiving and/or providing information to and from the application in voice form. The voice entry is confirmed by the system, eliminating the need to look at the screen to verify data, further reducing cycle times and improving worker efficiency. (more…)

Mobile Mayhem – How to Manage All of Your Mobile Assets

The following comes from Mike Temple, Product Manager for LANDesk and Wavelink. You can check out some of his other posts at the LANDesk Blog, located here.

“As you may have noticed if you’ve been to the grocery store lately – or anywhere with music playing on the overhead speakers – the holiday season is here. While it officially kicks off with Black Friday later this week, if retail music choices are anything to go by, it’s already here. 

With Nordstrom’s, JC Penney and Apple leading the charge, consumers will be seeing a lot more sales staff using mobile devices to ring up their holiday purchases this year. Consumers aren’t the only ones who are seeing more of mobile devices. IT departments, who have managed mobile devices in the warehouse for many years, are now being asked to support devices in both their corporate offices and on the retail floor.

For those asked to manage the rapidly expanding number of devices, finding the right solution can be daunting. There are a lot of places to look for information, including the NRF’s Mobile Initiative and the Enterprise Mobility Forum. We also invite folks to check out our mobile ecosystem LinkedIn Group.

Before you leap into the mobile device management fray, it’s good to start with a framework of issues to consider:

– What does your mobile ecosystem look like? Wavelink’s interactive Facebook app can help define your mobile ecosystem and some of the management concerns associated with the different types of mobility. Don’t forget to take into account your wireless infrastructure as you’re defining your ecosystem.

– How are those mobile devices being used and what systems do they need access to? Mobile devices in the warehouse will need different programs and levels of access than those used on the retail floor or those used in corporate offices. Make sure the solution you decide on can accommodate these different levels of policy needs.

– What types of devices are being used? While it’s obvious that the ruggedized devices used in the warehouse will be different from the devices used in the corporate office, there will still be a few different types of devices and operating systems being used in each part of the mobile ecosystem. The solution you decide on should be able to support these different systems.

– Are there plans for expansion? If your company is planning to expand retail operations (more devices on the floor and in any additional warehouses) or add additional corporate offices, how will the solution you choose adjust to your expanding number of devices?

– And of course, cost. What is your budget for a management solution? Remember that you can often save a bit of money by purchasing solutions that cover a suite of IT issues and doing away with some of the point tools being used. This can also lead to a more efficient and effective IT department.

Remember, mobility isn’t necessarily good or bad, but it can cause your organization serious problems if it isn’t managed, such as lost productivity, increased costs or security breaches. These devices are here to stay, whether IT is prepared or not. Proactive consideration of a management solution can save you a lot of headaches later on.”

Speakeasy and the Mobile Ecosystem

By now you’ve heard us talk about the mobile ecosystem quite a bit; its importance within your organization and how no two companies will have the same mobile ecosystem. (Not sure what makes up the mobile ecosystem? Check out this useful diagram.) With lots of interconnecting pieces including devices, locations, back and front-end processes and systems, it’s important to assess each area of your business and take a look at the overall health of your organization. Fitting all the pieces together can be overwhelming. After all, what you care about is the bottom-line; where the efficiency is, the increase in productivity and a return on your investment.

If we take one piece of the mobile ecosystem at a time it is easy to make small changes that add up to big returns. Let’s take the warehouse, and more specifically, the back-end of the warehouse and your warehouse management system (WMS). A simple and fast way to see an immediate increase in productivity is to add voice to your WMS in less than 30-days. It’s that simple.

No, really it is that simple. Within the last five-years alone, voice has evolved at a substantial pace. There is no longer one option, no longer additional servers, new hardware or undue burden on the network. Now companies can utilize existing hardware and enable workers (including seasonal workers, with little to no training) to just pick up any device and begin using voice-directed picking immediately. By focusing on just one piece of the ecosystem at a time it becomes manageable and by implementing voice, whether it is in the warehouse or in mobile inspections, field services or yard management, you can achieve dramatic results.

When you utilize voice as part of your overall ecosystem, you add one more tool to keep your enterprise evolving with the growing demands of today’s supply chain.

Defining the Mobile Ecosystem – Our New Facebook App

Good afternoon! We’re excited to share our new Facebook App that helps customers and partners understand the mobile ecosystem, and how Wavelink solutions fit into each piece.

We invite you to check it out today!

The Risk Of Increasing Operational Cost (OPEX) By Doing MDM Backwards

We’re all aware of the explosion of new devices arriving in the marketplace.   From phones, to tablets, to bigger phones, to smaller tablets,…. And all of the new challenges and opportunities these devices bring with them.  Everyone is abuzz with the new terms of “device consumerization”, and “application containerization”, etc.,. etc.  The emergence of so many new devices, with so many different form factors is exploding the options for endpoint connectivity into enterprise business applications.  

However, what do all these new devices really mean in terms of providing enhanced value to today’s business processes?   And, what do these changes really imply in terms of mobility device management?   Is it possible, as is often the case with rapidly evolving technologies, that all the hype is really about a rather thin area of deployment, and is overlooking some, or possibly many, of the basic fundamentals?   If so, what does this imply about future costs?

Three prior articles shed some light on these questions.   Consider the following highlights.

  • According to Aberdeen Group’s Analyst Insight, “High Performance Organizations Empower Employees with Real-Time Mobile Analytics”, July, 2011
    • The adopters for Mobility Business Intelligence (MBI) on emerging mobile devices can be segmented as follows;
      • Enterprise Executives – The Board Room and other C-Level company stakeholders
        • These users are interested primarily in Dashboards that allow them to view the holistic health of the business from one central platform.
      • Field Sales – The road warriors and those dependent upon direct interface with the company’s customers
        • These users are primarily interested in real-time data to help close sales faster, (i.e. inventory stock data), as well as increase customer satisfaction, (i.e. trouble ticket response data).
      • Operations – Operations management including I/T
        • These users want to deploy Dashboards again, but focused solely on the health of their specific area of operation, (i.e. server uptime, etc). (more…)

An Ocean Away – Does Mobility Look Different Down Under?

The following comes from Simon Storey, our Australian Sales Manager:

Hello everyone! My name is Simon Storey and I’m the Sales Manager for Australia and New Zealand. I’ve been in the industry for 15 years, and over that time I’ve seen the industry from a variety of geographical locations, including EMEA, North America, and now, ANZ.

So, how does the mobile ecosystem look from down under? Well, the truth is, mobility is mobility, whatever corner of the globe you’re looking at it from. My customers and partners in Australia and New Zealand look at mobile device management needs the same way our friends back in the states do, and I think it’s safe to say that customers are much more informed about the space than they ever have been. As such, they are looking for solutions that will transform roles and have tremendous operational impact.

For instance here are just 3 examples of roles that would value taking the technical data collected and convert this into management information

  • COO’s – provide utilization and operational availability of the investment in mission critical devices
  • CFO’s – provide pro-active spend mapping for consumable and device refreshes including tangible ROI analyses for mobility projects
  • CTO’s – provide pro-active estate management with trending of issues and replacement requirements including utilizing the information to run technical trials and let the system tell them which device operates best in their environment


Cutting to the Chase: Let’s Talk MDM

Everyday, I see updates and conversations on various sites and forums about MDM/BYOD/etc. Many are from LinkedIn forums, which usually contain some initially good discussions, before they turn into sales pitches for various providers. Nowadays, with all of the buzzwords surrounding the enterprise mobility space, it’s hard to weed through the murky stuff, and get to the bottom of what’s important about MDM: defining your mobile ecosystem.

Until your mobile ecosystem is defined, it’s hard to determine what the needs are, and ultimately, will delay your return on investment. As we’ve discussed in the past with many BYOD topics, it’s important to have a clear plan on what your unique needs are in the enterprise. What’s the landscape of devices like? Do you have all rugged devices, or do you also have smart devices you need to manage? What about network infrastructure? Do you need to manage the wireless access points in addition to the devices? Do you have one, or many locations you’ll need to have insight over?

The point is that every mobile ecosystem is different, and take caution when doing your research, as to not get caught up in the buzz and spin. The truth is that very few enterprises are alike, and being able to work with a trusted advisor to determine the best plan of action will lead to quicker implementation, faster ROI, and a more efficient enterprise.

As a side note, if you would like to join a LinkedIn group that avoids the jargon, we’re looking to get a solid group who are interested in discussing topics, not sales pitches, in our Mobile Ecosystem group. Check it out, and strike up a conversation!

Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 2

Good afternoon! Last week, in Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 1, we discussed whether or not BYOD will save your company money.

Today, we will look at the second aspect of BYOD that needs to be considered, and is closely related to the IT cost benefits: What security challenges and risks will face your IT folks in a BYOD world? The IT and security challenges are complex and many. What happens when someone’s device is lost? What happens when a CEO becomes a victim of corporate espionage (this is not just paranoia, it actually does happen) and her device is stolen by the competition? How much control can the company have over employees’ devices? There’s obviously a myriad of other security questions that need to be addressed for BYOD security but you get the picture, it’s daunting.

Most experts agree that the single most important element in a BYOD environment is having explicit policies surrounding employee devices. In fact, in a recent article by Muneyb Minhazuddin of Australian-based Dynamicbusiness.com it’s as important as having a phone number or a quality Web site.

That being said, policies are only effective if they are adhered to and enforced. Penalties for infractions need to be clear, concise and, most importantly, enforced. Sometimes employees make mistakes; sometimes they are outright stupid. When rules are broken there needs to be a clear solution available to fix any problems the infraction may have caused and people need to be reprimanded accordingly.

Even with strong BYOD policies in place keep in mind that the human element tends to really mess things up. Look long and extremely hard before you enter the BYOD arena.


MAM, MDM, BYOD, MEAP… Alphabet Soup and a Dose of Confusion

I participated in a discussion of the Enterprise Mobility Group on LinkedIn (which you can link to from our discussion on our own board). It’s addressed towards CIOs, and centers around the growth of Mobile Application Management and it’s impact on Mobile Device Management. Reviewing those comments, and observing the explosive growth of LinkedIn groups targeted at “Enterprise Mobility”, I got thinking about something I’ve noticed for quite a while. 

The market specialists have always seemed very confused when it comes to device management (MDM), mobile application development, and many other areas of mobility. There has always been a tendency to lump multiple technologies together when they really should not be connected. As one example, there has been a tendency for years for media publications to lump “cell phone management” in as part of MDM. Cellular carriers and their channel have always had their own management issues. However, they’re not the same issues a WMS manager has controlling barcode scanners, mobile printers, etc. Yet most industry reports (until very recently), have tended to lump cellular phones, and a whole host of other devices all together when talking “MDM”.


Voice Enabled Applications – Speakeasy and Goya Video Case Study

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.