Search
03333 660 842
Call now for free help & advice
All Categories
    Menu Close
    RSS

    Blog

    Comments (0) Built for Business - Introducing Zebra’s new ET40/45 Rugged Enterprise Tablets

    When it comes to enterprise devices, there’s no substitute for quality. While it may be tempting to choose consumer-grade tablets which are cheaper than their enterprise-quality counterparts, they are typically designed for light wear and tear rather than tough environments. And while it may seem like a lower overall cost, consumer devices actually have a higher total cost of ownership (TCO) when used for enterprise applications. Businesses will discover that these devices need to be replaced more often as they have higher failure rates, are less capable of surviving drops to concrete, cannot function in extreme temperature and simply cannot hack the demands of the day-to-day applications of your business. So, the TCO is actually higher than if a business was to invest in enterprise-grade devices from the start. With the new ET40/45 from Zebra, you can be assured your solution is high quality, rugged enough to survive the most demanding conditions, and has all the enterprise features you need – right out of the box.

    Return on Investment (ROI)

    The ET40/45 are built to last and can withstand multiple drops to concrete, sub-zero temperatures and are highly resistant to ingress from dust and water. And unlike their consumer-grade counterparts, you can be sure that the exact same device will be available for the entirety of its advertised product roadmap so you won’t end up with a mixed-device estate. What’s more, you can add Zebra’s OneCare Essential and Select support services to your purchase and benefit from six years of support from your purchase date – try getting that from a consumer device!

    Enterprise Features

    There’s no denying that these devices are built for business. Choose from an 8 inch or 10 inch screen, take detailed photographs with the high resolution camera, capture data from even the most damaged barcodes, hot-swap batteries on the go, enjoy Wi-Fi 6 and 5G connectivity and even turn your device into a mobile point of sale (POS) terminal. No task is too great for these devices.

    Zebra Mobility DNA

    Zebra’s Mobility DNA tools are built in to these tablets, enabling you to stage thousands of devices in seconds, control which GMS apps are available to users, and troubleshoot any device or test all main systems at the click of a button. When you upgrade to Mobility DNA Enterprise you can boost your security and unlock even more workforce productivity tools.

    Which device is right for you?

    ET40

    If your workforce is based within the four walls, that is within your premises, the ET40 with Wi-Fi6 connectivity is ideal. Applications include retail environments where devices can be used to scan barcodes and look up prices, check stock levels and view related or complementary products to enable easy cross selling. Queue bust by using the tablet as a mobile POS terminal and take your till to the shop floor.

    In the restaurant, your staff can use the device to take orders, monitor tables, upsell, show menu images, communicate with the kitchen and take payment at the end of a meal.

    In the warehouse, workers can scan barcodes for quick picking and packing, delegate tasks through your workflow for simple collaboration and use Zebra’s optional Workforce Connect PTT Pro solution to enable push-to-talk and secure text messaging to communicate with colleagues.

    ET45

    If your workforce is mobile, the ET45 offers the connectivity they need to operate efficiently no matter where they are. Delivery drivers can take high-resolution photographs for proof of delivery and the integral barcode scanner enables inventory scanning so they can quickly locate the right package. Add a Bluetooth-enabled mobile printer and drivers can print invoices and receipts on the move and even take payments upon delivery with mobile POS functionality.

    While your drivers are on the move, dispatch can see their location at all times which assists with more efficient routing and reduces excess travel and fuel usage. Add two-way radio and text messaging and your can communicate with your drivers in seconds, wherever they are.

    Conclusion

    Take your workforce’s productivity to the next level with the ET40/45 and benefit from the right features at the right price. Reduce your TCO over consumer devices and equip your staff with the hardware they need to offer the best service possible to your customers.

    For more information, get in touch with our expert team on 03333 660 842 who will be happy to offer free advice on how to select the right product for your business or contact us here.

    Comments (0) Introducing duragraphic labels

    Industrial labels need to be tough enough to withstand harsh environments and extreme conditions including:

    • Damp environments
    • Total submersion in water
    • Extreme temperatures
    • Abrasive environments

    If unsuitable labels are used, they will quickly become damaged and unreadable leading to data capture errors and wastage as well as costly delays and workflow disruption. This is why we have developed duragraphic labels which offer the ultimate durable, waterproof sub-surface printed solutions. Our range has been created specifically for industrial applications and is adapted to survive the harshest conditions.

    So what sets duragraphic labels apart from other industrial labelling solutions such as over-laminated labels?

    Sub-surface printing is far superior to over-lamination and provides a tougher exterior which can survive much harsher conditions.  Duragraphic labels are created using the latest screen printing technology so that the image actually lies underneath the surface of the clear protective material. This method also provides much greater colour density and accuracy.

    Duragraphic labels can be used to carry sequential barcodes for asset tracking or recording usage patterns or service intervals. They can also carry QR codes which   directly deliver information to the user which would previously have been held in a hard copy document including installation instructions, user manuals, health and safety advice, service procedures and even demonstration videos. This helps to deliver important information directly to the user without the need for multiple documents.

    Duragraphic labels also offer a wide range of high performance, permanent 3M adhesives which provide excellent adherence to metals and high surface energy plastics with a choice of polycarbonate or polyester face materials. The adhesive solution has been developed with following applications in mind:

    • Military Equipment
    • Marine Products
    • Construction Plant
    • Machine Tools
    • Motor Industry
    • Heating & Ventilation Equipment
    • Agricultural Equipment
    • Garden Machinery

    When you choose duragraphic labels, we will work with you to map out your exact requirements so that you can be sure your solution is fit for your unique purpose.

    Extreme Resistance

    Duragraphic labels are resistant to the following extreme environmental circumstances:​

    • Outdoor exposure has no appreciable effect on either the performance of the graphics or the adhesive.
    • When applied correctly the adhesive will hold securely after exposure to numerous chemicals including oil, mild acids and alkalis.
    • Immersion in water has no appreciable effect on the bond strength.
    • The face material and adhesive will operate at temperatures as high as 400°F (204°C) for hours and 300°F (149°C) for days and weeks and as low as -40°C.

    For more information on how duragraphic labels can solve your extrememe environment labelling difficulties, visit our sister site here: https://duragraphic.co.uk/duragraphic/ or call 01625 432 094.

    Comments (0) Maximise efficiency and minimise loss and injury with wearable technology in your warehouse

    For most, the days of paper-based manual processes in the warehouse are long gone. The technological advances in mobile computing over the last decade have brought about a step change when it comes to digitising the warehouse. If you thought mobile computers were high-tech, wait until you see how recent advances in wearable technology are putting workflows and data quite literally at the fingertips of workers.

    Mobile computing devices have, over the last few years, brought about significant changes in warehousing. Workers have access to live data while moving around their workspace freely, picking, packing and putting away items based in instructions from their mobile device. However these devices are typically handheld and so must be carried around the warehouse. Picking up, putting down and occasionally misplacing these devices or even dropping and damaging them all take their toll on productivity. And, if a mobile device doesn’t include necessities such as an integral scanner then a secondary device is required.

    Imagine the capability of all devices your workers need, rolled up into a range of wearable gadgets which offer hands-free operation and can no longer be left on a shelf or dropped and damaged or broken. What’s more, these devices are built with ergonomics in mind so are lightweight and comfortable throughout an entire shift.

    When we say ‘wearable’ we don’t mean a device in a holster or attached to a belt; we mean devices which are designed to be worn about the body in different form factors depending on their application.  Form factors include:

    • Headsets and smart glasses
    • Smart watches
    • Glove, wrist or ring scanners

    Headsets and Smart Glasses 

    While this may sound a tad futuristic, headsets and smart glasses with front-of-face displays offer the ultimate in wearable technology. Many also offer a camera and microphone for hands free operation and communication with colleagues.

    Smart Watches 
    If you’re an Apple or Samsung Watch user you’ll be familiar with the concept of the smart watch. This small device is worn on the wrist and typically has a touchscreen display and can connect to other devices over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

    Ring, Glove or Wrist Scanners
    These devices are designed to be worn on the wrist, finger or hand and enable the user to simply point and scan. The Honeywell Wearable for Dolphin 70e and 75e connect a ring scanner to a mobile computer mounted on a comfortable watchband-style armband worn on the wrist while the Zebra WS50 can be worn on the wrist, back of the hand or on two fingers depending on the chosen mount.

    Benefits of Wearable Technology in the Warehouse

    Let’s take an in-depth look at the health and safety, productivity and financial benefits of introducing wearable technology in your warehouse operation.

    Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

    Wearable devices, by design, are worn by the user and are typically operated hands-free. This results in fewer drops to concrete which can damage and even break traditional handheld mobile computers. As they are worn, they don’t need to be handled or picked up and put down repeatedly which can often lead to devices being misplaced or lost. This results in a lower TCO in comparison to handheld mobile computers which can frequently require repair or replacement.

    Detailed Workflow Instructions

    Much like handheld computers, wearable devices can provide detailed workflow instructions. The advantage of wearables however is that they can provide hands-free or augmented reality views of a workspace – particularly headsets and smart glasses. These devices can show the wearer exactly where an item is, in real time, and in augmented reality, reducing errors and increasing their speed and productivity.

    Lower Incidence of Injury

    Repeated scanning with a traditional handheld scanner takes its toll on the operative and can lead to repetitive strain injuries (RSI). When using a handheld barcode or scanner, the device is held for scanning and then put down or secured in a holster while the chosen item is picked or packed. With a wearable scanner, the user is much less likely to suffer injury from repeated use. Some, such the Zebra Voice Only Wearable Range are completely hands-free and operate via voice activation.

    These devices also allow the user to use both hands to perform dangerous tasks, especially at height. Even walking up and down stairs becomes instantly safer when both hands are free to hold a railing or steady one’s balance.

    Increased Efficiency

    As these devices are worn on the body, there’s no longer any need to hold a mobile computer, pick it up or put it down repeatedly throughout a shift. This saves substantial amounts of time throughout the day, allowing your team to work more quickly and efficiently.

    Geolocation

    By their very nature, these devices never leave the side of the user. This enables managers and other team members to quickly locate any worker which is particularly important in an emergency situation. They can also be used to create safety zones whereby a vehicle cannot enter while a worker is in that location, reducing the opportunity for injury.

    Find Out More

    Whether you’re currently operating a paper-based warehouse or have already taken the plunge into mobile technology, nothing compares to the benefits of wearable technology when it comes to safety, efficiency and productivity. If you’re interested in find out how your warehouse would benefit from wearables, get in touch with our expert team on 03333 660 842 or contact us here.

    Comments (0) Keep your supply chain moving and track your assets and inventory with effective, dependable Zebra handheld RFID readers

    The new range of RFD90 Ultra-Rugged UHF RFID Sleds from Zebra Technologies is designed to keep your supply chain moving and perform in the toughest conditions. With wireless connectivity and future-proof adaptability, these devices are set to last for the long haul.

    RFD90 Sleds have an incredible industry-leading read rate of 1,300 tags per second with a standard read range of 22 feet, enabling swift scanning, greater accuracy and more efficient workflows. With the incredibly accurate item finder, your workforce can locate any item within seconds and the ultra-long range version can read up to 75 feet away. The trigger can be programmed with up to 3 functions to suit the user and its ergonomic design ensures the ultimate comfort. With a 7,000 mAh battery, RFD90 Sleds keep going hour after hour.

    With an ultra-rugged design, IP rating options include IP65 (sprayproof) and IP67 (full submersion) to handle wet environments. These high IP ratings ensure that the devices can perform in harsh conditions and withstand repeated drops of up to 6 feet onto concrete while operating in a temperature range of -4°F to 131°F (-20°C to 55°C). Superior ergonomics contribute to worker comfort and productivity by reducing strain - ideal for a busy workforce on the move.

    Through Zebra eConnex™ adaptors, these sleds are compatible with a wide range of Zebra mobile computers and the OtterBox uniVERSE adaptor allows connection with many third-party smartphones. Bluetooth® 5.3 wireless capability will connect to most Windows, Android™ or iOS devices and Wi-Fi 6 enables simple over the air (OTA) device management, regardless of whether the sled is connected to a smartphone or not. NFC tap-to-pair makes it easier than ever to pair devices.

    Compatible Zebra Devices

    - TC 5X Series Mobile Computers

    - MC33XX Series Mobile Computers

    - EC50 and EC55 Enterprise Mobile Computers

    - MC2200 and MC2700 Mobile Computers

    - TC21 and TC26 Mobile Computers

    - EC30 Enterprise Companion

    - MC9300 Mobile Computer

    - TC72 and TC77 Mobile Computers

    - TC8300 Mobile Computer

    - PS20 Personal Shopper

    With a Zebra enterprise mobile computer in hand, workers can access the people, information and applications they need to get the job done resulting in significantly increased productivity and the best customer experience possible, taking you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition. The world’s largest retailers, manufacturers, transportation and logistics companies, field sales and service organisations, and healthcare providers rely on Zebra mobile computers every day so you can be sure you’re in good company.

    For more information and to get free, impartial advice on your RFID needs, speak to our specialist team on 03333 660 842 or get in touch here.

    Comments (0) Transport and Logistics – the business case for rugged devices

     

    Transport and Logistics (T&L) is a highly digitised industry, using mobile computing devices for day-to-day operations across the board. Rarely will you find anyone with a clipboard and pen and, if you do, it’s likely that it’s because the operative has been let down by their digital technology.

    For a while, and largely to keep costs down and digitise a business quickly, there was a trend for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model with workers using their own smartphone to perform their daily tasks. While that is a ‘quick and dirty’ means of moving your workforce onto digital workflows, it comes with inherent problems.

    Firstly, while it’s assumed that most people these days own a smartphone, that’s not always the case. Secondly, it relies upon a worker having sufficient data in order to operate the required apps or access their internet browser. Thirdly, device security is solely the responsibility of the device owner who may use weak or obvious passwords, unwittingly giving third parties access to the device. And finally, these devices typically have a very low Ingress Protection (IP) rating which means they are prone to breakage. So, while it may seem a great idea, there are many reasons why employing a BYOD strategy is risky.

    We’re going to focus on the last point, and discover why rugged devices really are worth the investment for T&L enterprises.

    1. Cost of failure

    Cost of failure is a significant risk to a T&L operation. Not only does device failure immediately stop a worker in their tracks, but it also results in unhappy customers, reputational damage, and costly operational downtime. As we touched on before, consumer devices simply aren’t made to last in an enterprise environment where they can be repeatedly dropped, lose connectivity, have a shorter battery life and typically do not have toughened screens. And, adding a ‘rugged’ case to an enterprise device simply is not enough to prevent issues. A device with a high IP rating can withstand multiple drops to concrete, has a toughened and recessed screen and is built to prevent ingress from water, dust and dirt so it can survive even the toughest conditions.

    While this may sound expensive, rugged devices last up to twice as long as their enterprise counterparts and so their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is typically much lower than that of repeatedly replacing or repairing consumer devices.

    1. Supply Chain Visibility

    With a fit-for-purpose estate of devices, the digital supply chain is connected to each and every device and live data is shared throughout. This ensures that real-time information is available to managers, operatives and customers which means the status of goods is known at all times, providing full visibility to all stakeholders.

    Data capture capability is vital to providing this live information so integral scanners, NFC payment capability and signature capture are common features of rugged mobile devices, enabling your workers to operate a single device for all their needs.

    1. Accessories

    There is a wide range of enterprise-specific accessories available on the market, all designed to make a worker more productive. Whether it’s a dash-mounted charging cradle, a hand strap, a stylus, a belt holster or an RFID-enabled sled, each performs a specific purpose specific to enterprises such as T&L and are designed to maximise worker productivity.

    1. Efficiency

    Rugged devices are designed to multi-task, connecting with different information points at once and performing multiple operations at the same time.  They are built to perform every function a worker will need, all from one device. This not only streamlines workflow processes, but means operatives spend less time juggling multiple devices and have everything they need to perform their job at their fingertips throughout their entire shift.

    At the individual level you can see how this would make a single worker more efficient, for an entire workforce this translates to substantial time and cost savings across your fleet.

    And finally…

    If you are still operating a BYOD policy or have equipped your T&L workforce with enterprise-level devices, you are no doubt experiencing high failure rates and breakages which cost more in the long run. With worker downtime and staff underutilisation as a result, your costs are likely to be significantly higher than if you invested in an estate of fit-for-purpose rugged mobile computing devices and whether you realise it or not, this will also be negatively impacting on your customer service and satisfaction levels.

    Why not give our specialist team a call to discuss your current devices and get free and impartial advice on how to upgrade your estate. Call us on  03333 660 842 or contact us here for an informal chat and find out how you could benefit from our services.

    Comments (0) Transforming your field force through mobile technology

    If your business relies upon a field-based workforce, you’ll already be aware of the day-to-day challenges that this poses to management. Ensuring that this portion of your workforce is both productive and agile in changing circumstances can mean the difference between profit and loss for many so its vital that you maximise their efficiency and output.

    The pandemic not only resulted in an increased reliance on mobile workers but it also became a lifeline for many who were unable to leave their homes, for example those who had to isolate for months on end. This increased focus on the importance of the mobile workforce has not subsided two years on from the beginning of the pandemic and it seems it’s unlikely to do so after customer behaviour and expectations have fundamentally changed.

    The entire principle of field service is predicated upon flexibility and geographical spread so it’s not only imperative that your team has the tools which they need in order to perform their work, but that these tools have the capability to connect to systems wherever their work takes them and are rugged enough to survive the mobile regimen. However, that isn’t enough to ensure maximum efficiency as it’s also vital that management deploy workers strategically so that they are gaining maximum return on their movements.  

    Let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges facing today’s field-based workforce and how they can be solved, including how to make the most of the latest technology and how to deal with the changes brought about by the pandemic.

    Operational Efficiency

    While efficiency is one of the most common challenges for a remote or disparate workforce, it’s also one of the easiest to solve, with the right technology.

    When you select the right management solution for your field service business, you can utilise technology to track your employees, compare their performance and even manage their routes. As with most digital technology, this presents an opportunity for automation so that processes are repeatedly followed, reducing the propensity for human error and relieving the burden on managers to constantly check up on their staff.

    Route planning technology ensures that the most efficient route is used which reduces time on the road and unnecessary expenses, for example wasted fuel. When your workforce is dealing directly with customers, it also allows the customer to track the service being provided, so that they know when to expect the arrival of your workers or the items they are delivering – the ultimate in automated customer service!

    Cost Efficiency

    While one of the biggest drivers for mobile technology is efficiency, it also presents a means of saving significant amounts of money – if done right. The key to this is ensuring that your chosen solution provides sufficient and accurate data which will enable you to make key strategic decisions. In order to gain these data insights, its vital that your systems are integrated so that live data can be analysed in an instant, instead of downloading, uploading and interpreting information through copious amounts of spreadsheets. This analysis should allow you to immediately pinpoint problems and highlight where things are going wrong so that you can react in real time and implement solutions to operational issues before they begin to cost you time and money.

    Mobile Payments

    Thanks to the latest in mobile payment technology, your field-based workers can now take payments directly from the customer, at the point of service. No more hanging on the phone while your worker speaks to the billing department, or leaving a paper invoice behind in the hope that it will be paid in good time - your workers can now take payments on-site. Improve your cashflow, reduce your administrative burden and offer the highest level of customers service with mobile payment functionality.

    Empower Your Field Force

    When your field force workers are empowered by technology, they can become so much more than their job title suggests. With access to your company systems wherever they are, your workers can upsell further products or services, provide detailed information to the customer, book further appointments and more, all from their mobile device. Not only does this benefit your bottom line, but it enhances the customer’s experience and instils confidence in them that they are being properly looked after.

    So, where do you go from here?

    If you are using legacy devices with limited functionality and connectivity, or you haven’t yet taken the plunge into the digitisation of your field service business, we recommend you speak to our experts who will offer you free and impartial advice on the right solution for your specific needs. Or, for more information on our mobile product range, visit our Mobile Workforce page and our Field Service pages on our website.

    For more information, please call our team on 03333 660 842.

    Comments (0) Scan for Safety

    Can barcodes bar harm from hospitals? Yes!

    NHS Scotland’s #Scan4Safety push uses barcodes & #GS1Standards to track products, medicine & devices across the health care system for greater patient care, #traceability & efficiency. 

     

    Can Barcodes Bar Harm from Scotland’s Hospitals?

    In health care, nurses and assistants must verify the: Right patient, right product, right place, and right process. Like most well-meaning yet antiquated processes, this approach was cost-effective and efficient—until recently.

    Increasingly sophisticated treatments, Brexit, and the complexities of care amidst a global pandemic weighed on caregivers. Fortunately, Scotland’s NHS entered a five-year agreement to implement a system of barcode identifiers for cataloging and tracking all products, medicines, medical devices, or implants throughout its health care system. The programme follows England’s successful #Scan4Safety initiative, which saw marked improvements in patient outcomes, treatment times, and operational efficiencies.

     

    Connecting the Dots

    NHS’ agreement with GS1 UK (the authority that standardizes barcodes) establishes a “language” for tracking patients through varying NHS systems. Standardization drives transparency, enabling doctors to connect the dots between a patient’s ailments, treatment sites, procedures, and prescriptions.

     

    What does #Scan4Safety Mean for Patients?

    Barcodes prevent waste and patient angst. A rapid scan of the hospital wrist ID will avoid medication errors or mishaps during sample testing or misdiagnosis. Barcode scanning will link a patient to a new hip, and data captured in the scan will be helpful in the event of a product recall (like the new hip). The NHS believes thousands of lives and millions of pounds will be saved. Indeed, UK-based medical tech firm MSoft found that just one rejected medical sample costs approximately £14.00—imagine how much an NHS Trust can save with barcode scanning!

     

    How can HealthIT Prepare?

    Start with your barcode scanners; these oft-overlooked devices are now your best friends. If an upgrade is in order, consider:

    • IT integration: select barcode readers utilize a JavaScript-based platform for rapid configuration and seamless compatibility with electronic health care records. Additionally, imagine scanning one barcode to instantly configure a scanner to your needs!
    • Durability: some scanners are made from “disinfectant-ready” plastics that withstand hospital-grade cleaners. Housings crafted from these plastics won’t yellow or degrade, leading to premature device failure.
    • Performance: Nurses will scan in dark rooms, on shiny vinyl, curved bottles, metal, and more. Also, barcodes might be smudged or damaged. Barcodes on medical devices will also shrink, such as this DPM barcode that at 1mm2 is the world’s smallest for medical plastics. The right barcode reader will have algorithms to handle these challenges.

     

    #Scan4Safety advances digitalization and modernization of health care; Bar Code Data can guide you. Speak with an expert at 03333 660 842.

    Comments (0) Optimise your operational efficiency, streamline workflows and boost your asset security with Zebra’s Intelligent Cabinets

    Enterprise mobile devices are, by their very nature, portable. While that has obvious benefits in terms of accessibility and efficiency, there are inherent problems associated with damage, loss and workflow disruption, each of which can have a significant impact on profitability. Enter the Zebra Intelligent Cabinet; the solution to your mobile device storage needs.

    Zebra’s cabinet portfolio includes standard modular, and customised designs which have been created to enable your workers to operate as efficiently as possible, whether in retail, T&L, logistics or the warehouse. Using over 15 years of experience in designing and manufacturing racks, cradles, carts and other mobile device accessories and storage solutions, Zebra’s newest product is a real game-changer in the industry – and we’re pleased to announce that it’s available at Bar Code Data.

    Maximise device performance

    Zebra Intelligent Cabinets maximise the lifetime performance of each device and clever connectivity enables battery charging, access management and device reporting. This level of connectivity enables individual user tracking and reporting through Zebra’s Access Management System™ which reduces the need for supervisory staff while charging ensures your devices are always ready at the start of a shift.

    Enhance device security

    Zebra’s Access Management System™ protects your devices so that you operate at maximum security levels for each user through security layering. You’ll also benefit from more robust device accountability from device users as user-specific settings and permissions can be pre-set. This alone reduces device damage, loss and replacement ensuring you maximise your total cost of ownership.

    Standardised Modular Portfolio Cabinets

    Zebra’s standardised cabinets offer six storage sizes ranging from Compact to Extreme and can accommodate 5 to 100 devices depending on the device type and the chosen cradle for each.

    Standardised Modular Portfolio Open Racks

    These racks can be either single or double-sided and have the capacity to store between 30 and 60 devices with multiple configurations and form factors. Mounting and inbuilt options can be adapted to suit your workspace and workflows.

    Standardised Modular Portfolio Cradle Locks

    Zebra’s cradle locks are compatible with all TC5x and TC7x cradles and provide mechanical locking and battery charge status. These cradle locks can be mounted on desks, walls, or carts and inside cabinets.

    Custom Carts

    Zebra’s custom carts are designed for a customer’s unique specification and are mobile, Wi-Fi and 4G compatible and secured with lock and key as standard.

    For further information on these products please contact our Sales Team on 03333 660 842 or view the full range here.

    Comments (0) Cybercrime – Is your SME at risk?

    Cyberattacks are growing at an alarming rate with over 50% of companies experiencing an attack or incident of some kind via remote or mobile devices in 2020. The trend towards working from home during the pandemic has exacerbated the issue as devices are not only mobile, but are being used on unsecured home WiFi networks and more than 45% of homeworkers report an increase in attacks during the pandemic.

    Despite the increase in security issues, fewer than half of SMEs have a plan in place to protect their digital assets, leaving them open to attacks and breaches of sensitive data. Failing to prevent an attack is costly in both monetary terms, for example significant fines for breaching GDPR regulations, and in reputational damage. While small businesses may not consider themselves a target, their data can be highly prized, particularly if they store payment details or detailed personal information on their customers. And, SMEs are considered easy pickings as they rarely prioritise security of data due to the cost and complexity. While they may perceive the cost of heightened security to be high, the cost of doing nothing is far greater – on average over £150,000 even for a small business. If you are unlucky enough to be one of them, you may be surprised to learn that for a quarter of small businesses who experience this issue, bankruptcy is the only option.  Costs are largely attributed to fines, compensatory payments to customers, replacement equipment and shut downs required to facilitate an investigation – not to mention the damage to your brand.

    So, let’s take a look at the most common mistakes which can lead to a cybersecurity breach.

    • Human error is often responsible, accounting for about 25% of breaches and employees are often unaware that they have even made a mistake until it’s too late. Preventing this is difficult but later on we’ll take a look at a solution which covers this and other common security mistakes.
    • No screen lock – When screen locks are absent, anyone who picks up the device can instantly access a wealth of information. Think about it, how many times have you seen company devices just lying around on shelves or in other accessible locations with public access?

    • Malware – Malware is designed to appear innocent, encouraging users to click on a spam link or inadvertently download a virus or ransomware. Restricting the ability to install apps or software and implementing strong spam filters is one way to safeguard against this type of attack.
    • Misplacement or device theft – For some criminals, the information held on a device is of more value than the device itself. And, with ransoms becoming an increasing form of cybercrime, an unsecure device left in a vulnerable place is a prime target. While it’s not easy to prevent loss or theft, software which allows remote wiping of data is an excellent safeguard.

    How to Protect Your Business

    New criminal tactics are constantly emerging and it’s difficult to stay one step ahead of those who want to gain illegal access to your data for sinister purposes.  It’s a full time job for someone to even attempt to keep on top of the latest scams and requires specialist knowledge so it’s unlikely that hiring a security expert is on your list of priorities (or even something you can budget for). Fortunately, SureMDM by 42Gears offers an intuitive and powerful Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution.

    SureMDM by 42Gears is an intuitive and powerful MDM solution and MDM app for Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, macOS, Wear OS, VR, and IoT platforms. Businesses can secure, monitor, and manage their company-owned devices as well as employee-owned devices (BYOD) which are used to access company data.

    SureMDM incorporates all aspects of enterprise mobility through unified endpoint management, including:

    • Mobile Application Management
    • Mobile Device Management
    • Mobile Content Management

    SureMDM also includes access to SureLock for kiosk lockdown, SureFox for a secure lockdown browser, and SureVideo for a secure digital signage solution.

    Cybersecurity may not be top of your list of priorities, but the damage and cost to your business experienced as a result of an attack should be. So, if you are concerned about the issues raised in this article and have not yet implemented a solution to guard against cybercrimes, get in touch with our expert team. They are on hand to offer you free and impartial advice on the best solution for your business and can advise on all aspects, including hardware and software solution, as well as security.  Give us a call on 03333 660 842 or contact us here.

    Comments (0) Cutting the Cord – how to select the right cordless scanner for your business

    Cutting the Cord – how to select the right cordless scanner for your business

    When it comes to scanning, you’re spoilt for choice: long range, extended range, corded, cordless, cradles and more. Selecting the right scanner for your application can actually be quite complex as you must first consider how it will be used and the unique requirements of the user and the setting. Of course there are obvious requirements such as antimicrobial coating for healthcare or extra rugged housing for repeated drops to concrete, but one of the most fundamental decisions which is often taken too lightly is whether the scanner should be corded or cordless.

    In this blog we’ll weigh up the pros and cons of corded and cordless devices so that you can be sure your next technology estate refresh decision is the right one.

    One obvious yet frequently overlooked question is, must the item go to the scanner or will the scanner go to the item? Secondly, what type of connectivity do you require, and thirdly, is mobility a factor? Finally, is scanning the only function this piece of hardware is required to fulfil or is a mobile computer with integral scanner more suited to your needs?

    Traditionally scanners were corded, but as technology has advanced in terms of connectivity and battery life, it has opened up a myriad of options in the Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) world. Cordless scanners are now prevalent in applications which require data capture capabilities, and nowadays the decision is not just corded vs cordless, you may also require your scanner to be integrated into a device such as a tablet or handheld computer.  

    Scan Frequency

    One of the primary considerations when it comes to selecting the right scanner for the job is the frequency of scans required. While some scanners can whiz through barcodes in a flash, for example when conducting stock counts or at a supermarket till, others are less reliant on speed and more suited to slower tasks. If your scanning activity runs at a slower pace, there’s no sense in paying a premium for high scanning frequency which you simply don’t need.

    Range

    The scanner’s range is also a deciding factor when selecting the right piece of hardware. For example, will the user be scanning items high on a warehouse shelf, or will they be scanning barcodes on shelves in a store? They are two very different requirements and it’s really important that you consider range or you could end up with a scanner which isn’t fit for purpose at all.

    Mobility

    In healthcare, scanners tend to be mobile, whether tethered to a trolly or in a user’s pocket, particularly when needed at the patient’s bedside. Likewise with field service where mobility is key. Whereas a ticket gate which scans boarding cards in an airport is a fixed unit which doesn’t need to be moved from one location to another. If there is any chance at all that your scanning equipment will need to be mobile, it’s vital that you select a mobile scanner or create a mobile unit to which your scanner is fixed.

    Hygiene

    We’ve touched on the subject of antimicrobial plastic housing which helps to boost hygiene, particularly in a healthcare setting. These plastics are also hard wearing and can withstand vigorous cleaning with harsh chemicals. However another consideration when it comes to hygiene is the cord. The fewer elements a scanner has, the less likely it is to become contaminated and therefore require cleaning or risk spreading infection which is why cordless scanners are extremely popular in healthcare. That said, there are occasional instances where a corded scanner is preferred within a healthcare setting, for example in instances where the scanner is never moved from its station, such as in a laboratory.

    Budget

    Budget has an enormous part to play in the decision making process for technology. Corded scanners are typically less expensive as they don’t require wireless technology such as Bluetooth. So, if your budget is tight, a corded scanner may be your best option provided you select one which operates at the right scanning range and frequency for your application.

    Form Factor

    When it comes to technology, form factor must always be a consideration. In scanning, that includes trigger-style, fixed position or presentation scanners, but it also includes cradles. Does your scanner need to be able to sit in a cradle and be presented with a barcode, but come out of the cradle and reach a distance to scan a larger item, for example at a garden centre checkout? If so, it’s extremely important that you select a scanner which can handle both scenarios.

    Theft or Loss

    If you’re concerned about devices being lost or stolen, you may consider a corded scanner to be your best option. Although some manufacturers have overcome this problem with new technology. For example, Zebra Technologies have created a feature called the Virtual Tether which sounds an alarm, vibrates and flashes when a device moves too far from its base which will prevent your devices from ‘walking away’.

    Connectivity

    The primary role of the scanner is to capture data and corded and cordless scanners must relay this data to the user’s information system or database. Corded scanners do this via the cable and are usually connected via USB, RS-232, TGCS (IBM) 46XX over RS-485 port or through a Keyboard Wedge. However cordless devices must connect somehow, usually through Bluetooth directly or via their corded cradle. Whichever solution you choose, your data can be captured and stored in real time and relayed directly to your database either individually or in batches, so the decision may come down to budget and the scanner’s specific application.

    Battery and Power Capacity

    Corded scanners are always connected to their power supply so you don’t have to worry about battery life or running out of juice while in use. While battery life used to be limited, recent innovations include supercapacitors and even hot-swappable batteries so you don’t have to worry about device downtime in the middle of a shift. You can even choose a device with a smart battery which warns you before a battery runs out so you can recharge or replace your batteries before your device’s performance begins to be affected.

    Hybrid Devices

    There have been some really exciting advances in form factor technology in recent years, for example the Zebra CS60 Series scanner which converts from corded to cordless and handheld to hands free in just a matter of seconds. This type of convertible, or hybrid, device offer more options in terms of usability which is ideal for applications where two or more separate devices may ordinarily be required.

     Conclusion

    There’s really no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to barcode scanning but, if you thoroughly scope out your requirements you can find the device which is best suited to your unique setting.  

    If you are ready to cut the cord and move to cordless scanning technology, you should consider devices which offer smart or hot-swappable battery capability and also how your device will be charged. Charging cradles can be mounted to a variety of workstations, offering dual purpose charging and presentation scanning where needed.

    As you’ve probably gathered, choosing the right scanner for your business application can be a complicated process. At Bar Code Data we specialise in scanning and our experts are here to offer you free and impartial advice on the right products for your business. Why not give us a call on 03333 660 842 and we’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, get in touch via our website here.