Zebra: Tracking Critical Assets Just Got Easier

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Mike McEnaney

Eighteen months after its acquisition of Motorola Solutions Enterprise business, Zebra Technologies Corporation, shares its vision for the company moving forward within a growing industry category, Enterprise Asset Intelligence (EAI). By providing "Visibility that's Visionary," Zebra increases businesses' ability to track critical assets within their operations and know exactly what they are, where they are and their condition so they can make smarter, faster decisions that improve their bottom line.

For more than 40 years, Zebra has developed the building blocks of today's Internet of Things (IoT) technology with its global leadership in the Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) market including sensors, barcodes, RFID and wireless networks. The arrival of the cloud and the ubiquity of wireless networks have made connecting devices and mining their data much easier, and the IoT is bringing us into a new industrial age in which the line between the physical and digital is blurring.

The evolution of the AIDC market to a more strategically oriented EAI focus is being driven by technology trends: IoT, cloud-based data analytics and mobility. Zebra is leading this evolution through its operational framework of "sense, analyze, and act." Its solutions automatically "sense" information from enterprise assets, such as packages moving through a supply chain, equipment in a factory, workers in a warehouse, and shoppers in a store. Operational data from these assets, including status, location, utilization, or preferences, is then "analyzed" to provide actionable insights. These insights can then be mobilized to the right person at the right time so they can be "acted" upon to drive better, more timely decisions by users anywhere at any time. Today, 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies benefit from this framework using Zebra's solutions in retail, manufacturing, transportation and logistics (T&L), and healthcare.

EAI IN ACTION                                                                                           

• According to the Zebra Technologies Global Shopper Survey, stellar customer service continues to drive retail, with 64 percent of shoppers claiming they are more willing to make purchases from stores that provide better customer service, and 41 percent of shoppers agreeing they have a better experience in stores where sales associates use the latest technology to assist customers.

MPact, the only indoor locationing platform to unify Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® Smart technology, is one example of how Zebra is enabling the customer experience. This solution provides instant visibility into where customers are in a store, hotel or restaurant, and the ability to automatically take the best action - like send a mobile coupon - to best serve customers at any time during their visit.

• Zebra's recent Warehouse Vision Study shows more than 40 percent of respondents cited shorter delivery times as a key measure requiring warehouse investment. With the visibility Zebra's technology brings into manufacturing and T&L processes, the industry is in a better position to deliver on the promise of flawless fulfillment, especially as customer expectations increase regarding improved service and shorter delivery times.

• In healthcare, patient identification and timely treatment are critical to patient outcomes. Smart, non-invasive technology that gives hospitals real-time, accurate time tracking, evaluation and feedback is necessary to provide greater attention and care to patients.

• Mobile computers and printers are essential tools for a productive workforce, no matter the size of the business or the industry. Zebra's recently launched Asset Visibility Service offers insight into device health, utilization and availability in customer environments resulting in increased productivity and operational efficiency.

• This paper gives examples of the visibility Zebra's solutions offer in real-world environments.

Clay Holmes, Chief Information Officer, Cardinal Logistics said of the news, "Time is money in the trucking business, and with Zebra's technology in the hands of our drivers, they can document and transmit pickup and delivery status in seconds, making time for more pickups and deliveries in a day. The real-time information makes it easy to give customers the on-demand shipment status they expect. Dispatchers can optimize routes to minimize mileage with real-time visibility into driver location and status, thus driving down fuel costs and vehicle wear-and-tear. And the ability to automate pickup, delivery and regulatory paperwork makes it easy for even the newest drivers to rapidly reach expected productivity levels."

David Krebs, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Mobility and AIDC, VDC Research Group added, "The combination of mobile computing, automatic identification and analytics solutions provide organizations with real-time visibility into critical activities and processes. Leveraging these capabilities to deliver more personalized experiences and to provide the necessary visibility to ensure that the right information gets to the right person at the right time is separating leaders from laggards."