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Spirit news – January 2018

A very Happy New Year to all our readers! It’s a time when everything is fresh and there are some exciting developments ahead in the mobile enterprise sector. During 2018, we’ll continue to keep you informed about the latest information, news and articles that relate to the use of handheld devices for streamlining a wide range of supply chain processes.

In this issue, you can find the following articles:

Industry news and views

  • Exploring the field service potential of IoT
  • Will artificial intelligence replace mobiles?
  • The future of Windows Mobile 6.5
  • SOTI will only support Webroot for another year
  • Do you have your new Axicon barcode verification software?

Industry trends and new releases

  • Beat the price increases!
  • A boom in 2D barcodes
  • Dodging the bullets: the M3 SM15
  • Take a tablet for it: the Getac EX80
  • Scanning the horizon: the Honeywell Xenon 1902
  • Mounting the rhino – the Datalogic Rhino II
  • A terminal solution: the Zebra MC3300 and Ivanti Velocity
  • New printers from Zebra and Honeywell

Recent reports and guides

  • The need for digital transformation
  • Is it time to upgrade your field service management system?

That’s the Spirit!

  • Recent case studies
  • Locating remote sites with what3words
  • Azure cloud migration
  • In the spotlight: Andy McKenna

We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter. If you would like more information on any of the items below, please call us on 01928 718800 or send an email to: helen.jones@spiritdatacapture.co.uk.

Industry news and views

Exploring the field service potential of IoT

A recent article by ClickSoftware in Field Service News explores how the Internet of Things is starting to transform the operations of field service companies. The article, ‘How the Internet of Things (IoT) Is Transforming Field Service’, looks at how the latest field service management software can receive and manage messages from a range of devices without the need for any human interaction.

It also examines other exciting potential uses of IoT. To find out more, you can download the full article from http://fieldservicenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Business-Paper_How-IoT-Is-Transforming-Field-Service-2017_1.pdf

Will artificial intelligence replace mobiles?

According to Google, the technology world is changing and soon artificial intelligence (AI) will take priority over mobiles. At a recent event, the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, said: “We’re excited by the shift from a mobile-first to an AI-first world. It is not just about applying machine learning in our products, but it’s radically re-thinking how computing should work.”

Google isn’t the only company to believe that AI will open up a new world of opportunities. A McKinsey study of companies in South East Asia suggests that the “AI haves are pulling ahead of the have-nots”. You can find out more at https://www.techinasia.com/ai-haves-are-pulling-ahead-of-have-nots. 

The future of Windows Mobile 6.5

Don’t panic – Zebra reports that Windows Mobile isn’t being phased out in the short term. Microsoft currently says that it will continue to support it through to 2020 and Zebra will continue to supply and support devices to this date and beyond. However, after this date, Microsoft won’t be releasing any updates or patches for Windows Mobile.

Zebra recommends that for longer term solutions, customers should consider and evaluate its Android portfolio of products.

SOTI will only support Webroot for another year

Android antivirus protection is included with SOTI’s MobiControl enterprise mobility management (EMM) software. SOTI is committed to providing the best possible integrated antivirus protection and will be updating the technology that powers MobiControl’s antivirus protection.

From December 2017, SOTI will therefore be migrating to the Bitdefender antivirus engine, which will replace the Webroot antivirus engine. Consequently, support for Webroot will cease on December 31st, 2018. Customers running Android agents 13.4 and below must upgrade their agents by this date to continue to use antivirus protection. Please contact SOTI Support (support@soti.net) for further information.

Do you have your new Axicon barcode verification software?

The ISO/IEC standard for measuring barcode print quality has changed recently, with the introduction of a fractional grading approach. All Axicon barcode verifiers should now have had their software updated to comply with the new standard. Updates to the Axicon Linear Verifier software and the Axicon Camera Verifier software have been published on the Downloads page of the company’s website at www.axicon.com.

The changes mean that print quality will be graded more finely and some barcodes that failed to meet the grade previously will now pass. It’s important to upgrade your software so that the results from your verifiers use the same ISO/IEC print quality standard. More details can be found on the Axicon website.

Industry trends and new releases

Beat the price increases!

A number of manufacturers have told us that they will be increasing the prices of their products – some by up to 10% – within the next few weeks. If you’re likely to need anything soon, why not send in your order now before the prices rise?

A boom in 2D barcodes

Zebra has reported that 2D barcodes are now becoming more widely used, and this trend is likely to continue in the future. The company believes that there are various reasons why companies are increasingly migrating to handheld 2D imagers. These include saving money (due to the ability to read virtually all types of barcodes, signatures and documents); support for new applications and marketing campaigns that use 2D codes; and the ability to accelerate processes by capturing more data in less time.

A host of new product releases are waiting to entice you in the New Year. Here are a few – please get in touch with us if you’d like more information:

Dodging the bullets: the SM15

M3’s new SM15 is a mobile computer with a full-touch screen and is the world’s first rugged handheld device to feature an octa-core processor. The SM15 also has a host of other features, including an incredibly tough, bullet-proof film on the screen. It runs on Android 7.1 and has an integral 16 megapixel camera. This is a very exciting product and Spirit will also soon be adding payment via Veriphone.

Take a tablet for it: the Getac EX80

The Getac EX80 tablet PC is an ATEX-certified device with Windows touchscreen technology that’s ideal for use in the oil and gas sector or other industries with harsh conditions and potential fire hazards. Its intrinsically safe design makes it suitable for operations in Zone 1, Zone 2 and non-hazardous areas. The EX80 has a Windows 10 operating system, is thin and compact and has an IP67 rating.

Scanning the horizon: the Honeywell Xenon 1902

The Honeywell Xenon 1902 is a wireless area imaging scanner that can read both 1D and 2D barcodes. It provides industry-leading performance and reliability for a wide variety of applications that require the versatility of area-imaging technology combined with the freedom of Bluetooth® wireless connectivity. The 1902 is a compact scanner powered by Adaptus® Imaging Technology 6.0 and the battery provides up to 14 hours of life before being recharged..

Mounting the rhino – the Datalogic Rhino II

Datalogic’s Rhino II is a vehicle-mount computer available with either a 10 or 12 inch display. Designed for tough warehouse environments, it has an IP65/67 rating. A dedicated freezer-rated model with an integral display heater enables the Rhino II to be used in and out of cold storage. The capacitive touch models feature 3mm anti-glare armoured glass but can be used whilst wearing gloves. The new model comes with a wide choice of operating systems.

A terminal solution: the Zebra MC3300 and Ivanti Velocity

The Zebra MC3300 mobile computer is a best-in-class device that’s designed to run on Android. You can run terminal emulation applications right out of the box, and the MC3300 comes with one of the most popular terminal emulators, Ivanti Velocity. The touchscreen and Zebra’s AllTouch TE make it easy to migrate to a more modern touchscreen interface for a great user experience. And the MC3300 comes with ten years of guaranteed security support.

Ivanti (formerly Wavelink) Velocity can take the legacy green-on-black screens associated with terminal emulation to a new generation of devices, using rich HTML screens without the need for any middleware or changes to back-end systems. The migration can be carried out at a pace that suits you, referred to as MOMS: Migrate your existing app to Android; Optimise the user experience; Modernise to a new user interface; and Speakeasy (voice-enable your app).

New printers from Zebra and Honeywell

Zebra’s ZQ320 is a fast, versatile and reliable mobile printer that can print both receipts and labels. There are two models – for internal (retail operations) and external use. It offers class-leading battery power, impressive durability and easy but powerful remote management capabilities. Both models provide the fastest wireless connections available. Zebra has also released the RFID ZQ520– the only barcode printer to combine the convenience and flexibility of a mobile printer with the enhanced tracking capabilities of UHF RFID.

The Honeywell PM42 is a mid-range industrial label printer that’s ideal for manufacturing, retail, transportation and distribution activities. It’s very rugged, and its all-metal construction makes it ideal for harsh environments. It’s easy to use, with both the magnetic print head and the print roller being made for quick replacement. This new thermal printer has a full-colour, graphical display with support for nine languages. The simple web interface means that it can be managed easily by smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

Recent reports and guides

The need for digital transformation

CRN has recently produced a paper entitled, ‘The digital transformation challenge: is the channel really ready?’ The paper questions whether the IT channel is fully prepared to help end users with this migration.

CRN UK, in conjunction with Channelnomics Europe and Red Hat, conducted a survey of over 140 resellers, MSPs and consultancies in the UK, France and Germany to explore the difference that digital transformation has made to their businesses over the last year, along with the associated challenges that it presents. To download the full report, visit https://www.channelweb.co.uk/crn-uk/report/3012182/the-digital-transformation-challenge.

A guide to field service change management

Field Service News has published a new White Paper: ‘The Wind of Change: How and when to implement your FSM system – a guide to change management best practices’. This provides a useful overview that looks at the question of when and how you should be upgrading your mission-critical field service management system.

The report explores the key signs that suggest that your system could possibly need upgrading and also explains how to minimise any potential disruption. For more information, go to http://mailchi.mp/fieldservicenews/white-paper-preparing-for-the-connected-customer-778601?e=2d34233bb3.

That’s the Spirit!

Recent Spirit case studies

A recent case study involved 151 Products:

  • 151 Products provides over 1,500  different household, DIY and automotive products. The company needed to streamline activities such as stock control and picking and packing in its 200,000 sq ft distribution centre. We provided it with Honeywell ScanPal EDA50K scanners and Zebra GK420 thermal printers, which are already helping to enhance efficiency, accuracy and cost savings. Once it is fully operational, the new solution is expected to boost productivity by some 20%.

To read this case study in more detail, please visit https://spiritdatacapture.com/case-studies/.

Locating remote sites with what3words

Have you heard of what3words? It’s been around for quite a while but now seems to be coming into its own as a great location tool. The world has been divided up into 3m x 3m squares, each of which has been given its own unique three-word address. This enables users to find any location quickly and easily. This useful tool is available online or as a free app for mobiles and can also be built into other apps, platforms or websites.

This versatile service is already used internationally for deliveries, and Mercedes will include it in all of its sat-navs in the future. Spirit is also exploring the possibility of building it into our products, as it could be invaluable to companies that deliver items to remote places with no postcode or only partial addresses. It could also be used to direct drivers to building sites that don’t yet have an address – or even to fields. Contact us for more information.

Azure cloud migration

Dan Spruce from Spirit recently attended a conference about cloud hosting. The event included presentations about Microsoft’s Azure, Parallel’s remote application server (RAS) and Barracuda’s network security solutions.

Spirit is currently considering using Azure cloud hosting for some of our future software projects, possibly with a Platform as a Service (PaaS) set-up. PaaS gives customers a platform that enables them to develop, run and manage apps without having to build and maintain the associated infrastructure. This will reduce the time and cost involved in deploying software.

In the spotlight – Andy McKenna

Andy is our Project and Technical Specialist and has over seven years’ experience in the industry. He joined Spirit after graduating with a Masters in Chemical Engineering and has progressed through various roles, gaining skills in all of the technical areas of the company’s work. His main responsibilities include managing complex technical projects, reviewing new solutions available on the market and improving the processes and procedures used by Spirit employees.

In his spare time, Andy is a keen golfer who claims to have achieved a hole in one (there’s a photo of a ball in a hole!). He’s recently had his first child and is enjoying every moment of this new experience.

For more information or advice, give us a quick call on 01928 718800. If you need to find out which products have reached their end of life, go to our eShop , scroll down to the bottom, and under ‘Advice & Support’, click on ‘End of Life products’.