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Last year, when looking ahead to what 2020 would bring, technologies such as RFID tracking, Internet of Things, and Wearable Computers were cited as revolutionary initiatives to redefine the year. Now, standing at the end of a historical year, it’s pretty clear our list was too short. Facing a long string of challenges, dangers, and changes, warehouses have relied on several indispensable technologies, which will most likely continue to secure efficiency within warehouses in the years to come.

Save Warehousing

Avalon Integration have noted the following innovations as crucial warehousing advantages

While this list is by no means exhaustive, the experts at Avalon Integration have noted the following innovations as crucial warehousing advantages in 2020:

  1. Disinfectant-Ready Devices – Since discovering that pathogens can last from hours to days on surfaces, operations utilizing multiple screens and handhelds required rugged devices that could handle abrasion, chemical exposure, and constant wipedowns. Made for tough environments, enterprise-grade devices rose to the challenge by providing undisrupted performance in the midst of recurrent disinfection and sanitation.
  2. Contact Tracing – As businesses began to reopen, many of our clients sought a way to welcome back their teams without risking dangerous exposure. To minimize employee density and effectively track possible contamination, exposure awareness, and contact solutions were deployed across the nation. New contact tracing initiatives can be neatly embedded onto your handheld devices like Zebra’s Motionworks Proximity or added on your employee’s wrist like Accent’s Exposure Awareness bands. Both methods protect employees’ safety as well as their privacy, which brings us to the next point. 
  3. Android’s Dependable Operating System – After Microsoft ended its support for Windows’ Mobile OS, warehouses needed a new operating system to safeguard their data. Android has served as the best option as it provides recurrent security patches, silent OS updates, and an open ecosystem to house current and new applications to better prepare operations for future changes.
  4. Vibrational Social Distancing Alerts – In addition to contact tracing, vibrational alerts have also helped in securing appropriate social distancing within operations.
  5. RFID Tracking – Facing a major influx of online activity, supply chains were overwhelmed with moving inventory and rising demands from the pandemic onset all the way till the holiday peak season. RFID tracking empowers teams to manage inventory levels in real-time while tracking in-motion products, assets, and resources accurately and quickly to fulfill needs with a faster turnaround time.
  6. Fast Long-Range Data Capture – By combining intelligent scanning with long-range data capture, manufacturers like Zebra Technologies were able to equip workers with ergonomic devices that read labels while keeping workers apart. In the retail landscape, modernized data capture can help alleviate checkout lanes by scanning products quickly and at a safe distance.
  7. 2-in-1 Tablets – As the term “office” gained a new meaning, 2-in-1 enterprise tablets like Zebra’s L10 tablets packed ease-of-use, operational visibility, and adaptability for on-the-go workers. Operating as either a tablet or a laptop, devices like the L10 give remote teams more flexibility without hindering data entry and connectivity.  
  8. Handsfree Technologies – Minimizing touchpoints throughout the supply chain became a chief goal amongst warehouses. That’s when hands-free technologies such as heads-up displays, ring scanners, and even Zebra’s newest WT6300 rose to popularity as they helped workers process orders faster with less movement and wasted labor. Studies suggest nearly 70% of warehouses now plan to integrate hands-free and wearable technologies by 2023 to continue expediting tasks and meet new customer demands for speed.  
  9. High-Speed and Long-Range WiFi – In April, over 50% of Americans cited internet connectivity as an essential tool. In warehousing, connectivity secures communication channels, diffuses crucial information, and sustains visibility solutions beyond the loading dock. Zebra’s flexible networking and WorryFree WiFi enables dependable connections to keep the essential business running.
  10. Push-to-Talk and Videoconferencing Features – Lastly, whether it be Zoom or any other service, videoconferencing and push-to-talk capabilities proved to be essential in keeping teams connected and supply chains running smoothly.  Zebra applications such as WorkforceConnect provided wall-to-wall connectivity in both the warehouse, retail, and grocery setting, allowing your teams to work together in real-time despite any distance.

But, we can’t forget the biggest game-changers of the year. As we close in 2020, we would like to give a special thank you to all the essential and healthcare workers as the ones who truly saved this year. From our team to yours, Thank You!

With 2021 less than a few days away, we are eager to see what other devices, solutions, and innovations will continue to reshape our futures. For more information on how to implement any of these solutions into your operations, contact our modernization experts today.

As warehouses across the nation begin to resume operations, it is crucial to maintain a high focus on maximizing employee safety in addition to workflow productivity. To keep workers safe and efficient, Zebra has once again broken through expectations by upgrading its trusted MotionWorks service, delivering a safe balance between productivity and safety. As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon Integration is here to answer your questions on the new Zebra MotionWorks Proximity.

What is Zebra MotionWorks Proximity and how is it different from regular MotionWorks?

A warehouse using Zebra MotionWorks Proximity

Zebra’s Proximity MotionWorks uses locationing technology deployed into your workforce

Developed by the leaders in intelligent automation, Zebra’s Proximity MotionWorks uses locationing technology deployed into your workforce using your staff’s handheld devices to help enforce social distancing measures without halting operations. Sustained by WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, Zebra MotionWorks can help:

  • Maintain stipulated social distancing guidelines with vibrational alerts
  • Track proximity events lasting over 5 minutes to help manage high-density workspaces
  • Integrate safe fast contact tracing in the event of contamination to deploy sectionalized quarantines

How does Proximity work?

2 Warehouse workers using the MC9300 safely distanced in a warehouse

Vibrational signals help your workforce maintain social distancing guidelines

Zebra Proximity MotionWorks can be downloaded onto your staff’s handheld, serving as a seamless contact tracing solution. Assigned devices are able to generate sensing data, recording proximity events without using personal data. Moreover, devices also alert you of close/prolonged proximity events through vibrational signals to help your workforce maintain social distancing guidelines.  

How can I protect my workers’ identities with this solution?

Two warehouse workers moving pallets while wearing masks

Zebra Proximity MotionWorks doesn’t require any sensitive information or medical data to work

Because it’s deployed directly on your enterprise device, Zebra Proximity MotionWorks doesn’t require any sensitive information or medical data to work. Each worker is assigned a unique employee identifier used to link to their handheld device. Proximity events are stored for up to 50 days.

What sort of hardware will I need to deploy this?

Forklift driver looking at screen with hardhat in a warehouse

A number of devices work with Proximity MotionWorks

In addition to an MB6000 Mobile IoT Bridge, you can choose any of the following devices in your current workforce or purchase new devices with preinstalled Proximity MotionWorks.

How do I start?

To start integrating Zebra Proximity MotionWorks into your workflow, contact us here

Download our Fact Sheet to learn more.

Zebra MotionWorks Proximity Fact Sheet Download

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.