We presently manage almost 50 hardware and software supplier relationships. Our greatest value adds are quite possibly technical know-how and engineering skills, because those skills allow us to talk to all participating companies at the technical detail level.

Getting systems to be on the "same page" is often the number one challenge with a B2B supply chain project, but it can always be done!

The tools:


TAGS - There are many form factors and frequencies of tags. Some are active (battery powered) and others are passive (battery-less: energized by the ambient RF). Each has pluses and minuses. Then there are different communication and data structure standards. Determining the best tag is a critical step for any RFID project.

READERS - RFID readers can be mobile handheld computers or stationary. Some readers will only read proprietary tags, while others can read many different manufacturers' tags.

SOFTWARE - The software in an RFID system typically takes the data from the reader and feeds it to a database. However, there can be much more intelligence built-in, such as using tag and/or sensor feedback to control a conveyor belt.


Wireless Networking

ACCESS POINTS - An Access Point (AP) is the bridge between the wired world and the wireless world. There are many considerations, from frequencies to security to throughput, that will determine the best manufacturer and technology.

CONTROLLERS - These devices can manage a wireless network, either locally or remotely. Although controllers are not always required, oftentimes they can make a huge difference in supporting and securing a wireless network.

CLIENT DEVICES - Wireless clients include laptops, handheld scanners, wireless printers, vehicle mounted terminals, and others. It is the mobility acheived that justifies "unwiring" such devices.


Software Products

CUSTOM SOFTWARE - Many data collection projects require unique software. Terminal emulation is still very popular, but there are now many other ways to design applications. A lot depends on the type of device that will be generating and/or displaying the data.

WMS / ERP - These software products can be customized for each company to provide the feedback to make intelligent business decisions. They also offer a way to look into the past and help with projecting the future.

BARCODE LABEL DESIGN - The software used to print barcodes can be as simple as manually inputting a number to as complex as printing barcodes based preset "rules". Almost all of these packages interface with databases, and some even populate the databases.

- How do you get the information from a data collection system into another system, in a way that they both understand? That is what middleware is for.

DATABASE - Virtually every data collection scenario will require a database of some kind. It can be a simple spreadsheet, to a huge global storehouse of information. The database design is critical to any project's success.



Barcode Printing and Scanning

PRINTERS - Printing barcodes can be a fully automated process or manually initiated. Some printers are made to run 24/7, while others are made for low volumes. Some are designed for extreme environments, while others are for desktop use.

- This includes labels, as well as printheads and roller platens. Many companies purchase preprinted barcode labels, while others print them in-house.

SOFTWARE - For good quality barcodes it is important they be printed to exacting specifications. The barcode label design packages make this possible. Installing a barcode font and printing from a non-barcoding application, although possible, does not usually result in readable barcodes.

RF SCANNERS - Getting the real-time data input and instant feedback is the purpose behind using RF with data collection.

TETHERED SCANNERS - We put batch scanners in this category, because even though you can scan the barcodes while mobile, you must ultimately connect it to a terminal to retrieve the information. Most tethered scanners are wired directly to a terminal, for populating a field rather than keypunching the data.

STATIONARY SCANNERS - Stationary scanners are used when the barcodes are always in a known orientation. They may pass through the scanner's "window" automatically, such as on a conveyor, or the barcode can be manually moved through the "window", such as at a library.

Voice Over IP (VoIP)

PHONES - Dedicated VoIP phones utilize an existing wired or wireless network. Most can be operating only within the confines of the business, and only as a phone, although many of them can operate in "walkie-talkie" mode. Other devices can provide data collection functionality and operate as a VoIP phone as well.

SOFTWARE - The latest VoIP advancements have been in the area of software, where a software client, in conjunction with an Internet connection, provides communications over the existing infrastructure. VoIP to VoIP conversations that utilize the Internet or a common network do not require a telecommunications company.

PBX INTERFACES - PBX's are being replaced by VoIP infrastructures, but how does such a phone call a landline or cell phone? This requires a tie-in to the existing phone system, where the VoIP information is converted and sent out a normal phone line.





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