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RFID News Roundup

BluVision announces iBEEK+ beacon with extended battery life ••• Zebra intros Onecare service to help companies manage RFID, mobile devices ••• Readymix chooses LogiTag active RFID solution to safeguard employees ••• Stanley Healthcare announces smaller RTLS badge ••• Impinj updates reader software, support package.
By Beth Bacheldor

Zebra Intros Onecare Service to Help Companies Manage RFID, Mobile Devices

Zebra Technologies has launched Zebra OneCare, a portfolio of support services that provides customers with increased visibility and management of their Zebra RFID devices, as well as their Zebra mobile computers, printers, bar-code scanners and wireless local-area network (WLAN) infrastructure. The services are designed to maximize the uptime and availability of Zebra products. OneCare includes Operational Visibility Service (OVS), a new managed, subscription-based service that provides a mobile device-management platform and dashboard for at-a-glance visibility into Zebra mobile device asset performance and operational business performance. With OVS, customers can easily determine where their devices are located, how they are performing, if the devices are being fully utilized, if they are properly configured with a fully charged battery for full-shift power, and how operational processes are performing. Metrics include, for example, which mobile devices are active, out of contact or newly activated; battery statistics, such as battery discharge and average battery level; device locations; and wireless connectivity performance.

OVS is built on Zebra's Asset Visibility Platform, a cloud-based management and integration platform that enables visibility and device-level control of assets to capture data and provide analytics. The OVS Operational Dashboard delivers the data, analytics and visibility, and provides real-time updates regarding the status of devices as they move through the repair workflow. Specifically, Zebra explains, Asset Visibility Platform integrates data culled from multiple sources—Zebra mobile computing devices, Zebra LinkOS networked-enabled printers and non-Zebra rugged and consumer devices (iOS and Android)—and then aggregates, normalizes and presents the information in an online portal through a dashboard that provides easy-to-read configurable screens. Customers can set thresholds on a number of device metrics, based on their specific requirements.

"We can connect to mobile or stationary devices that are 'connectable,' meaning they have network capability and can communicate. These devices can be mobile or standalone," says Dan Walkowski, Zebra's VP for Global Services Strategy, Portfolio and Technology Platforms. "Different devices will allow for deeper connection. Zebra will continue to develop Zebra products and our platform to work better together, to maximize our management capabilities."

According to Zebra, OVS provides actionable insight into device health, location, utilization, operational trends and services, in order to help businesses achieve maximum productivity and business performance. This information, Zebra indicates, can also help companies reduce support costs and maximize worker productivity through increased device utilization and decreased mobile device downtime.

OVS was designed to complement Zebra partner service capabilities—enabling partners to resell and rebrand OVS and recognize additional revenue opportunities while deepening customer relationships.

Zebra OneCare is available in three different service levels. Zebra OneCare Essential provides basic assurance through comprehensive coverage, technical support, device diagnostics and three-day turnaround time on repairs. Zebra OneCare Select offers around-the-clock availability and visibility through services that include online dashboards, 24-7 support and same-day shipment of pre-configured replacement devices that are ready to use upon arrival. Zebra OneCare Premier is based on the collaboration of Zebra and its channel partners to meet the needs of customers whose requirements go beyond a defined service package. According to Zebra, Premier services include customized dashboards, advanced diagnostics, third-party software support and support from a dedicated helpdesk.

All Zebra OneCare service levels include a Device Diagnostic Tool to help rapidly resolve device issues remotely, as well as a service dashboard that provides visibility into the status of all devices in the repair cycle. An online learning tool and a Zebra Learning Consultant are also included to help create a curriculum to address identified knowledge gaps and ensure a rapid adoption of Zebra solutions.

"We find that our customers need the most help in the mobile space, where they want to understand where their assets are, what their location is, and what the condition or readiness of the device is, to do their job," Walkowski says. "An example are devices that are used for a transportation and logistics companies, where each driver can have a mobile computer or printer. Our customers want to know whether the devices are ready for the drivers shift. Is the unit where they expect it to be? Is it charged? Is it operational? Having even this basic information has enabled us to provide insight to customers that help them manage better employee productivity."

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