Posts

In 1999, the term, “Internet of Things” (IoT) was merely a concept used to explain the possibilities of early RFID technology; however, today’s 26 billion internet-connected devices have turned the concept into reality. From enterprise-grade to consumer technology, studies project a 49 billion growth in internet-connected devices worldwide by 2025, averaging around 10 devices for every human on the planet. 

Not surprisingly, modern-day locationing solutions have evolved to enhance warehouse visibility while accommodating more devices into increasingly complex supply chains. However, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all locationing solution. From RFID tags to GPS tracking, today’s locationing systems can be adapted to fit your workflow’s unique requirements. As leaders in innovative efficiency, Avalon Integration encourages considering eight elements that can dictate locationing efficiency.

Transportation Logistics Receiving Dock Visionary Visibility

Avalon Integration can help you find the best locationing system

Locating the Best Locationing System

Every industry can benefit from accurate locationing, but that doesn’t mean all solutions will be the same. Storage facilities may not require detailed real-time visibility if only general locationing suffices. On the other hand, food-processing factories might need in-depth visibility into storage temperature and asset lifespan. Whatever your application may be, consider the following influencing factors:

  • Read range – Not all readers can cover large warehouses, and not all tags can survive long voyages across the globe while remaining functional. Determining read range is crucial in selecting a reader that fits your operations.
  • Location accuracy – Today’s RFID solutions can track moving inventory, but if your assets are mostly static, this may not be needed.
  • Asset type – Certain solutions may not fit with your assets. For example, RFID tends to underperform on metal, and real-time locationing may be unsuitable for tracking personnel due to privacy issues. In addition to asset type, work environment may also impact your locationing system’s efficiency.
  • Battery Lifespan – Much like read range, battery lifespan limits how far your locationing system can go.
  • Connectivity Options – From Bluetooth to WiFi, every connectivity option has its benefits and limitations. Common connectivity options include Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, cellular/satellite, 4/5G, and LTE. 
  • Compatibility – Data without readability is useless. Insight collected by your locationing system can be used to optimize operations and streamline efficiency; therefore, data should be accessible through your mobile devices.
  • Cost – Because of different read ranges and lifespans, locationing systems can vary in price, which means there could be a more cost-effective option than mainstream solutions.

Offering a wide ecosystem of visibility technology, Avalon Integration partners with Zebra Technologies in designing efficient locationing systems that address every consideration listed above with efficient functionality.  Whether it’s through Zebra’s RFID-based MotionWorks or the industry’s most-efficient line of enterprise-grade tablets, choose a visibility solution that best adapts to your workspace.

Ready to start? Contact Avalon Integration today for an in-depth assessment of your workflow to find a visibility solution centered on your needs.

There is no limit to perfection. It took as close to 75 years for 100 million people to adopt telephones, yet only a day to get that same number of people onto a mobile app. Founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schawb, has characterized the blurred lines between technology and society as the 4th Industrial Revolution, and like past technological advancements, the present rise in new systems and operations is set to reshape industries across the globe, including warehousing, T&L, healthcare, and many others. 

However, unlike past innovations, today’s new technologies, such as RFID and advanced machine learning, bring a new level of automation that enhances an employee’s unique capabilities by valuing critical skills and simplifying routine operations. As a result, Avalon Integration explores popular technologies due to redefining modern-day supply chains with more efficiency and visibility.

Efficiency and Developing Purposeful Connected Labor

Zebras RS5100 and WT6000 Improve Warehouse Efficiency

Zebras RS5100 and WT6000 Improve Warehouse Efficiency

As labor costs continue to rise worldwide, the need for purposeful labor increases as well. To develop purposeful and cost-efficient practices, automated systems relieve employees to focus on more pressing tasks. Nevertheless, automation’s usefulness has also been perceived as a threat. Research conducted by the Gallup Research Center found that almost 73% of working Americans believe intelligent machines may eliminate jobs. On the other hand, 61% of responding warehouses reported relying on a combination of both technology and human effort. Today’s most advanced technologies still require human collaboration. Therefore, automation’s goal is not to outright replace labor but to enhance it. A few examples include:

  • RFID – Able to gather over 40 codes into one tag, RFID further maximizes visibility by tracking asset movement, market demands, and storage requirements all through one solution. This reduces the need for extraneous labeling while diminishing processing errors as products are prepared for shipment.
  • Wearable Technology – Further elevating warehouse ergonomics, wearable technology such as Zebra’s WT6000 can increase productivity by 15% by pairing accuracy with speed, so workers can process more inventory with less  Moreover, wearable technology proves to be highly adaptable as it accommodates other technologies with less space. As a matter of fact, over 70% of warehousing facilities seek to employ wearable technology within the next five years.
  • Hands-Free Picking – To eliminate additional time-consuming touchpoints, hands-free picking and voice picking accelerate workflows when integrated into wearable technology.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – Breaking the established limits of connectivity, IoT expands visibility with real-time updates. Crucial data can be tracked and modified across a whole warehouse…and even outside the four walls.
  • Blockchain – Taking connectivity beyond singular teams, blockchain technology brings every member of your supply chain closer, from manufacturers to retailers. With data safely updated across a whole supply chain, fewer bottlenecks threaten inventory as transparency is maximized.

The future is filled with new uncharted opportunities. To see how these technologies and more can strengthen your workforce, contact us for an in-depth assessment and/or demonstration at your convenience.  

Ride-hailing apps, 4K television, interactive smart speakers, online streaming services, and self-driving cars are just a few of the ground-breaking technologies that did not exist ten years ago. As a matter of fact, access to LTE services and 4G network speed has only been popular since 2015. While the world of efficient automation has redefined the past decade on the consumer front, it is also reshaping the industrial landscape.

Using a Zebra Tablet While Loading a Pallet into a Delivery Truck

Using a Zebra Tablet While Loading a Pallet into a Delivery Truck

Working closely alongside warehouses of all shapes and sizes, Avalon Integration has implemented the most revolutionizing technologies of this decade. From rugged mobile computers to intuitive printing software, modern-day enterprise-technology has integrated greater degrees of accuracy, productivity, and visibility from packing to shipping. However, we know well there is no limit to innovation. That’s why we look forward confidently towards the opportunities the new decade will bring. While we can’t predict the future, there are several technologies worth keeping an eye on within the coming years.

Revolutionizing the World of Modernization

TC77 Warehouse Technologies

The TC77 from Zebra Is Used to Improve Warehouse Technologies

Research conducted by Zebra Technologies has outlined numerous challenges modern warehouses can expect in the future, such as:

  • Technology usage
  • Efficient labor
  • Capacity utilization
  • Integrating quality warehouse management systems
  • Inventory management within omnichannel shopping

Standing as a practical and cost-effective solution to these issues, warehouse automation brings the promise of streamlined operations, efficient labor, and lowered operational costs. A few examples of successful automation tools include:

  • RFID Technology – Expanding visibility beyond the four walls, RFID tags, and readers allow workers to track moving assets throughout the warehouse floor. Furthermore, RFID scanners minimize scan time by correctly documenting several codes with one trigger pull, allowing your workforce to process more orders accurately.
  • Internet of Things – Much like the consumer world, enterprise technology can also be connected and managed at a large scale through the Internet of Things. This means your warehouse can manage devices, battery life, security updates, and much more without impacting workflow.
  • Power Carts – Omnichannel retail brings the opportunity for more complex supply chains, ultimately demanding more from your workforce. Mobility solutions such as Newcastle’s Power Cart alleviates bottlenecks and long travel routes while also reducing labeling errors by 90%.
  • Wearable Technology and Voice Picking – Further boosting worker mobility and versatility, wearable technology such as Zebra’s WT6000 wearable computer increases productivity by 15% and can be easily paired with Bluetooth technology to create an efficient voice picking solution.

Get a head start in efficient modernization with Avalon Integration. Count on 20 years of experience when you contact us to learn more about how these and other technologies can maximize productivity and ROI within your operations.

Avalon Field Service Circle Image

I read an article recently in Forbes that said, “Data is the new electricity”. That really struck a chord because, in today’s world, it’s ALL about the data. Without data, we have no direction, no plan, no measurement of our success. We need the data, and today’s hardware and software help us get it. The Internet of Things (IoT) helps us make better, more informed decisions.

With access to data sets and the advanced capabilities of today’s devices, we can really differentiate ourselves from the competition when we put these resources to work. When it comes to connected devices, we think about our laptop or smartphone. But think about this: If we lose connectivity, we can still perform (albeit on a limited basis), but what about those critically connected devices that are helping save lives and keeping workers safe? It could literally be a matter of life or death if they lose connectivity.

Security of our Data
That’s where security comes in. By 2020, there could be as many as 50 billion connected devices on the internet, so security is going to be a huge priority in order for IoT to continue to be successful. The ways in which we generate data will also be a critical factor because in order to keep workers productive, more efficient, and safe we need to be able to access the right information from our connected devices.

Manufacturers like Honeywell, for example, are providing the market with tools that can maximize our capabilities, improve worker performance, and make reporting and analysis less cumbersome to manage.

The enterprise is facing increased competitive pressures every day. Warehouse, DC’s and manufacturing facilities are fighting to become more efficient and more accurate with the ability to increase capacity without increasing costs. Organizations are also looking for innovative ways to protect their supply chains from changes that will force them to re-develop software, update applications, and possibly even modify existing processes. They need solutions that have the flexibility to grow and adapt as their business grows.

Leveraging our Devices
Device connectivity brings so much value to your business. With all this valuable information, you can more easily predict shifts in the market, prepare for change more adeptly, and make decisions that will help drive future business plans. For organizations that choose to go the connected route, they will truly be able to differentiate themselves from the competition; driving success from their ability to predict behaviors and integrate functions that were once independent of each other.

The newly-found fame of connected devices opens up a number of opportunities for companies to re-examine their existing business model, develop innovative products and services, and eliminate the barrier that exists between the customer and the supplier. Gathering data from these devices, and then circulating that data through the organization results in more intelligent business decisions that lead to more innovative solutions that exceed customer expectations.

Tracking Assets
On a more tactical level, IoT can provide loads of support when it comes to efficiency. Asset tracking, for example, can offer a lot of value over a short period of time if the solution offers real-time access to information from virtually any device.   Whether you’re in the equipment rental business, have a field service workforce, or even remote-office workers, the advantage of being completely connected means you have more control of your assets and the value of those assets as well. Consider maintenance schedules, for example. Having service information about each device at your fingertips can save hundreds of labor hours tracking down devices, looking up paperwork on the history of the device, and so on. Connectivity, in this case, offers extreme value in terms of labor hours and unnecessary expenses (replacing lost devices, etc.).

Want to learn more about the advantages of IoT for your business? Contact us today.

Avalon Homepage Logos13

How the Internet of Things (IoT) is Changing the Way We Work

Internet Of Things iOTOf the many new technologies that have emerged in the past decade, the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile computing are leading the way in allowing companies of all sizes to become more efficient and effective. As more and more companies embrace the idea of a mobile workforce, the IoT allows their workers to manage multiple tasks, access data in real-time, and embrace empowerment at the touch of a button.

Most industry observers say we are still at the very beginning stages of leveraging this incredible new age of automation. In manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing, the IoT can come alive on virtually every mobile computing device deployed. The Honeywell CT50 handheld mobile computer, for example, fits in your pocket but is designed for the rigors of a warehouse environment, giving users the ability to talk, text, access the company network, and much more. It can be as simple as developing a targeted mobile application and placing it into the hands of your mobile workforce.

Realizing a boost in productivity is the biggest advantage – which helps to control or even reduce costs, eliminates errors, and even improves worker safety. When your workers have virtually everything they need in the palm of their hands, they can move freely, save time and improve the quality of workflow processes.

What is the Most Prominent Emerging Technologies?

Further technologies are shaping the future of automation as organizations leverage the Internet of Things (IoT):

  • BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) – There is hesitation within the organization to allow employees to use their own devices, there are several devices on the market that can offer the features and functionality of a warehouse device, but with the sleek, modern design of a personal device.
  • Big Data – The technology further enables us to manage big data easily – giving companies greater visibility on many fronts. Flexibility in accessing data helps users become more informed, provide better customer service, and increase quality assurance.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Smart Homes – SIRI, OK Google, and Amazon’s Alexa can turn on your TV, turn up the volume, shut off the lights, add an item to your shopping list and do pretty much everything except fix breakfast. Where will this technology fit in our industry? Time will tell

What does the Future Hold for the IoT and Mobile Computing?

In their most recent Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, Cisco reports that mobile data traffic (over the IoT) has increased by 1800% in the past five years! Mobile computing has leapfrogged every other technology in terms of acceptance and we are not even close to realizing its full potential.

Every day there are new advances and we just seem to take them in stride. We can now talk to a device and have it talk back to us. Companies routinely recommend other things for us to buy based on past buying habits and the buying habits of other people like us.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the backbone of all the emerging technologies and providers are racing to get fiber to as many users as possible.  All those work crews you see on your streets are laying the network of the future and the information those networks carry are revolutionizing our world.

How do We Get Started?

Interested in further exploration of the world of mobile computing? Let us help you navigate the waters today so you can start realizing the potential of your organization with the advantages of mobile computing. Ask us how we’re helping other companies and the ways in which they’ve been able to improve workflow processes for better overall efficiency.

Contact us today for information.