Zebra Technologies: All-Touch Terminal Emulation, Mobility DNA


Hmm what’s on the board for today? All-touch terminal emulation. What do we know? There are all these warehouses where workers scan and pick. They’re using our MC9000 with green screen appearance that looks like a software utility from the DOS platform days. So what are the issues, and how can we improve things? Well the software is all keyboard driven. The user even has to select things from a menu with a keyboard. Wow. That takes a lot of time, and man is it confusing. And what do the customers say? The interface is old-fashioned. Training is time consuming, and expensive. Productivity improvement has flat-lined. There’s a steep learning curve. No visual hierarchy, and holy cow the industry is ripe for a significant gain in productivity and error reduction. Well, then, what can we do about this? We need to increase productivity, and decrease errors. Here’s a thought. I’ll modernize that green screen for starters, and put in big buttons that you see in most modern interfaces. That should reduce errors, and help with the productivity. Ok, I like that. What else can I do? Make it contextual to what users are doing. That’s cool, it’ll reduce clicks even further. And since it’s all-touch entry, it’ll work on devices without keyboards. Hm, that’ll save lots of time when scanning. Sweet! How would this look if it were running? Nice! That’s a much clearer interface. Right, I’m going to compare the two, if a worker wants to pick an item in the old version, it would’ve taken several clicks with their eyes moving all over the place. Now, it’s just one simple tap. Going to have to run some human factors testing, but this looks like it’s going to make a big impact on the warehouse productivity. And man, I can see those savings piling up. With each worker moving more boxes out the door, while limiting errors, when you consider all the employees at all the distribution centers across the customers business, it really adds up. Now, how can we get this to really work? People have tried this before, and it never really works that well. The customer interface takes ages to create, never looks that great, and normally need a middleware server. We can’t do that. Customers aren’t going to like that. I don’t want to touch the clients infrastructure. We’ll make it happen right on the device. You know what? This could scale across all of our devices, key pads or not. This redesign means increased accuracy and productivity with reduced errors, improved efficiency, and reduced training times. Sounds awesome! Can we do it? We’re already working on it, it’s called, all-touch terminal emulation.

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