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Meeting all requirements

Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director India and Sub Continent, Zebra Technologies, on the array of technologies the company has on offer for supply chain, manufacturing, automotive, and others

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Deep Agarwal.
Deep Agarwal.

How do you help manufacturing companies stay agile and efficient? Could you point out some of the exclusive products and solutions?

Zebra’s purpose-built solutions span every aspect of an operation, including warehouse environments, plant floor and field operations, to meet customer demand and offer them unparalleled visibility into goods, assets, people and transactions.

In the warehouse environment, manufacturers need to be well-connected and have visibility into all their assets, people, and processes in order to have an integrated, productive, profitable and compliant supply chain. Zebra’s combination of RFID mobile computing, scanning, and printing solutions connect each operational area in the warehouse to give manufacturers the agility to realise transformational gains.

On the plant floor, manufacturers strive for a lean, agile manufacturing plant that is capable of consistently producing on cost, on plan and on specification. Zebra’s Plant floor solutions like traceability, quality assurance, asset and facility management and Network Connect put manufacturers in control of an agile manufacturing plant that meet these requirements. With Network Connect, manufacturers can seamlessly connect their printers and scanners directly to their industrial Ethernet network without any additional conversion equipment required, thereby saving setup time, management and troubleshooting. Network Connect works seamlessly with the Zebra DS 3600 Series ultra-rugged scanners and all Zebra printers with Link-OS capabilities.

When it comes to field operations, Zebra provides an arsenal of tools that allow manufacturers to deliver superior service, by giving them visibility to field associates, customers, goods, and assets, including Direct Store Delivery, Field Service, Proof of Pick-up and Delivery and Fleet Management. Zebra’s Fleet Management solutions helps manage the assets of businesses on the road through asset tracking and real-time monitoring via voice and data communications. Fleet Management is complemented by Motion Works, which marries all of the business’ voice and data communications into one multi-functional mobile computer that allows their workers to access information, take voice telephony calls, instantly reach a co-worker and manage a team located across the country or around the world with robust push-to-talk and text messaging.

How open is manufacturing industry specially your client in adopting new solutions?

According to Zebra’s APAC Manufacturing Vision Study, manufacturers in both India and around the world are embracing Industry 4.0 and the smart factory whereby workers use a combination of RFID, wearables, automated systems and other emerging technologies to monitor the physical processes of the plant and enable companies to make decentralised decisions.

In the factory and across the supply chain, firms are capitalising on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to achieve real-time visibility into their goods, assets, processes and places. In fact, the number of companies supporting a fully connected factory is expected to triple by 2022 with close to half of those surveyed anticipate having this capability. Therefore, technologies like Zebra’s solutions that connect assets, inventory and equipment have become essential pieces of the IIoT puzzle.

Manufacturers are beginning to see the many benefits of having fully connected operations that include the supply chain, and the factory of the future needs end-to-end supply chain visibility on the plant floor to improve productivity and increase quality, which is precisely what IIoT delivers.

How do you look at R&D in terms of bringing out new products?

Zebra Technologies has been empowering those on the front line since 1969. Over the past 50 years, Zebra has remained committed to innovation and are leading the real of a new era by constantly developing products and solutions with the end customer in mind.

Research and Development plays an important role in Zebra’s business, as we invest up to 10% of our global revenue annually in it. This is a significant investment when compared to industry standards of around 1-2%. In India, we have a development centre in Bengaluru where more than 500 engineers are constantly innovating new technologies that can be seen in most of Zebra’s products.

In terms of our R&D, we have come up with various advanced solutions including;
*Radio Frequency ID (RFID): Revs up operations by automatically locating the tagged objects at greater speed, accuracy and volume than traditional methods
*MotionWorks: is a real-time locationing solution that can automatically sense the location of assets and inventory, improves the safety of people and streamlines production line to boost productivity, efficiency and business growth.
*Savanna: is a data intelligence platform that combines the Internet of Things (IoT) end-point connectivity, configuration management, data transport, data storage, analytics and machine learning into one platform. It turns raw data from devices and sensors into actionable insights for businesses.

What are some of the innovations you have brought out in the last couple of years?

Zebra Technologies has an impressive line-up of end-to-end products and solutions and we have over 4,400 US and international patents issued and pending. Zebra is constantly working to heighten investment in disruptive technologies, which is bolstered by our recent acquisitions of Xplore Technologies and Temptime Corporation.

Apart from newly launched hardware products like the MC9300 mobile computers, ZQ600 Series mobile printers, MC3390R integrated long-rang UHF handheld RFID reader and MC3330R RFID handheld reader, Zebra has also introduced real-time location solutions like Zebra MotionWorks  and the Savanna data intelligence platform.

How frequently are the updates you come up with for older products and solutions? How do you help existing clients upgrade?

Our products and solutions are typically updated every 3-5 years (depending on the product and model), but Zebra constantly strives to provide our customers with a peace of mind.

For example, all Zebra Warehouse Android mobile computers are now pre-loaded with the All-Touch TE, which makes it easy for existing customers to migrate at their own pace to minimise learning curves and maximise adoption speed when the need for upgrade arises. Existing users can simply migrate all their current green screens to Android in minutes, so their workers are up and running, practically right out of the box. They can even enhance their green screens with features that simplify tasks and boost productivity.

Android is now officially the world's most popular, dominant mobile operating system (OS). With the already-extended OS support for users of Windows Mobile and Windows Compact set to cease by 2020 and 2021 respectively, the demand for Android in enterprise is only set to grow as other options become increasingly redundant.

What are some of the common demands from clients in terms of current products & solutions?

With the rise of Industry 4.0, smart factory, companies are capitalizing on IIoT to achieve real-time visibility into their goods, assets, processes and places. This has led to a higher security risk especially when cyber-attacks on a wide variety of devices are so prevalent today. As such, the demand for convenient yet secured access to data is constantly on the minds of businesses.

That is why Zebra has built its printers on a secure foundation of Print DNA—a suite of tools that carefully control each connection and data exchange to safeguard information and grant access to only authorized users. Featuring technology like PrintSecure, companies will be able to encrypt connections, allow only permitted access and regularly update their thermal printers to address new threats. They can also leverage the data that flows through their thermal printers for decisive insight

Meanwhile, LifeGuard for Android is Zebra’s software security solution serves to extend the lifecycle of Zebra Android enterprise mobile computers. Consumer OS security support typically ends after 36 months, well short of the 5+ years of service life that businesses require. LifeGuard adds years of OS security support after consumer support stops to match the enterprise hardware lifecycle, helping your business significantly lower total cost of ownership.

With LifeGuard, businesses will receive extended security support, predictable periodic security updates and legacy OS security support when transitioning to a newer OS. Frequent updates will enhance their security and LifeGuard makes them easy to install at their discretion, either locally, or remotely via Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM).

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