3 Ways Mobile Technology Improves Field Service Management and Increases Profitability

3 Ways Mobile Technology Improves Field Service Management and Increases Profitability

Wireless mobile technology has been a staple of field service management for years. Handheld computers are used to drive down costs, connect workers, and transform your operations to a more efficient, productive force. However, since this technology is so popular in the industry, it can remain difficult to gain a competitive advantage.

With the right blend of processes and technology, you could achieve more success. It takes an in-depth understanding of how to beset leverage your mobile technology for field service management. Here are a few ways you can do that:

Work Order Management

Paper work orders are inefficient and time-consuming. When you equip your team with mobile computers, you give them instant access to the data they need to work more effectively.

Workers can keep track of vital customer and work information that they can use to streamline the overall data collection process, while you can use field service workforce management software to generate schedules and routes for technicians and ensure your resources are being used efficiently. Push these assignments to the mobile devices you equip your technicians with, and eliminate the need for your technicians to check in at central locations for assignments.

Mobile computers connect your workforce in the field with operations in the office to create a unified front, which helps track progress on work orders and customer requests. Staying connected in the field is critical for better productivity.

Data Management

More than 90% of field service professionals surveyed said that access to timely, accurate performance data was very important to their operational and financial success. However, only about 30% of companies believed that their field service data could be considered “very good” or “excellent.”

This is a solvable problem. Field service operators feel more at ease when they know their data is safe and properly managed, but too few invest in solutions that would help. Handhelds offer increased access to data and provide technicians with the customer asset info held in an enterprise system, including complete maintenance histories and knowledge management systems that aid repairs.

Resource Tracking

Mobile technology designed for field service management allows operators to monitor a workforce and its assets over a large area, whether you are tracking technicians or vehicles. Some high-powered handheld devices support voice, data communications, and GPS tracking, offering real-time visibility to the status and location of your resources.

Barcode scanning can record which parts or supplies are currently in use, and which are needed in the field for better inventory management. GPS tracking helps workers in the field get to their calls more efficiently, while communication capabilities keep your workforce connected. Rolling all of these functions into a single mobile device reduces the need for additional communication methods or devices.


Streamlining your workforce and automating various processes will always lead to a boost in productivity. By leveraging your mobile technology in ways that reduce manual processes, physical paperwork, and the need for additional devices, you can cut costs and speed up your operations while keeping workers connected.

Informs offers a variety of mobile technology, like those from Honeywell, which are designed to improve field service management and increase productivity. For more information on the technology we offer, contact us today.

Best Solutions for Healthcare Inventory Tracking: Zebra’s Healthcare-Grade Technologies

The last thing doctors and nurses want to encounter during patient care is a shortage of critical supplies and inventory. This is one of the reasons why effective inventory and supply chain management are so important in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

It can be difficult to set up optimal inventory and supply chain processes. There are thousands of supplies to manage across many different departments and even between multiple buildings on a medical campus. Without an automated and accurate way to do it all, it can be impossible to accurately account for inventory, track usage rates, locate items, and replenish them before a shortage occurs. You can easily end up with too much or too little inventory.

Thankfully, automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies are continuously evolving to keep up with healthcare needs, and building an effective inventory and asset tracking system is easier than ever before.

Most hospitals already use AIDC solutions such as barcode scanners to track inventory and assets. But one of the challenges is having the right form factors for each scanning need, especially when you consider the need for durability, battery power, and germ-resistance to withstand healthcare environments and demands.

This is why healthcare-grade barcode scanners, such as Zebra’s DS8100-HC and DS4308-HC scanners, are an ideal choice for automating inventory processes. They’re purpose-built for healthcare with a first-of-its kind housing that protects against the spread of bacteria, is resistant to harsh healthcare disinfectants, and provides extended battery power, hot-swappable batteries, and user-selectable feedback modes for around-the-clock use.

But scanning also comes in more compact sizes than a traditional barcode scanner, such as Zebra’s Symbol CS4070-HC Companion Scanner. It’s a pocket-sized barcode scanner that provides 1D/2D medical barcode scanning and pairs with any Bluetooth-enabled computer, workstation on wheels, tablet, or smartphone-style mobile computers, such as Zebra’s TC52-HC.

Speaking of the TC52-HC mobile computer, you can also scan barcodes with this device, since it includes a built-in advanced barcode scanner far beyond the capabilities of a typical smartphone device. You can scan 1D/2D barcodes seamlessly while also running all the healthcare and inventory apps you need and accessing secure voice and text communications. The TC52-HC is also specially manufactured with healthcare-grade durability and a disinfectant-ready design.

However, any barcode scanning system ultimately begins with barcode labels, so you can label and then track all your supplies and inventory. To produce labels, you need access to a barcode printer, and this is another area where recent innovations are helping the cause.

Barcode label printers are now available in mobile models that allow labels to be printed on the spot, in virtually any location. And Zebra has created healthcare-grade mobile printers with its ZQ600 devices. Designed specifically for healthcare, they connect via lightning-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 wireless, and they include a large color display and advanced battery technology for full-shift power. They’re also built with disinfectant-ready plastics, and they’re easy to manage remotely with Zebra’s device management tools.

By combining mobile barcode label printers with your preferred barcode scanning devices, you can quickly label and track healthcare supplies and inventories with a push of a button and the pull of scanner trigger. At Informs, our AIDC experts can also provide the software applications to process your captured data and connect it to your healthcare inventory systems. We can help you design, deploy, and integrate a complete healthcare inventory solution that will put an end to your supplies and inventory headaches.

To learn more and get started with better healthcare inventory management, contact Informs now for free advice and recommendations.

Critical Reminder about Windows Embedded Mobile Systems

Time is running out on the Windows Embedded mobile operating system, and if you still haven’t developed your migration plan, now is the time to get started.

All Microsoft support has ended for most versions of Windows Embedded, and here are the final critical dates you need to keep in mind:

July 9, 2019 – Mainstream support ends for Windows Embedded Handheld 8.1, with no extended support option available from Microsoft.

January 13, 2020 – Extended support ends for Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.

April 13, 2021 – Extended support ends for Windows Embedded Compact 7.

If you’re running any other version of Windows Embedded, your Microsoft support options have already expired. If you’re running one of the three versions mentioned above and you don’t have an extended support contract with your mobile device manufacturer, you’ll no longer receive OS updates or security patches.

Whether your OS support has already ended or is ending in the coming months, you’ll need to migrate to a new OS. Most companies are switching to Android due to Microsoft’s waning commitment to the enterprise market and a lack of cross-grades between legacy versions of Windows Embedded and Windows 10 IoT.

Manufacturers are doing the same in huge numbers. In fact, only 4% of today’s enterprise mobile computers are manufactured with Windows 10 IoT.

Android has become the new enterprise mobile OS of choice due to its open and customizable platform, easy-to-use touch interface, and over-the-air updates for simpler application of security patches.

Android has also become a fully enterprise-ready and highly secure OS thanks to several innovations from Zebra Technologies, who has worked with Google in recent years to develop well over 20 new Android enterprise mobile computers.

Zebra’s devices deliver all the benefits of simplified Android touch computing and the latest barcode scanning, mobile computing power and memory, and extended battery life. But they also provide enhanced enterprise security features, including the ability to control each device, app, user access, and connection with Zebra’s Mobility Extensions (Mx).

Zebra also provides 10 years of guaranteed Android security and OS updates through its LifeGuard™ for Android program. This adds 5 more years of extended support to Google’s standard 5-year coverage, ensuring that you’ll be covered for the life of your device.

If you haven’t already put together your OS migration plan, we strongly recommend that you get started as soon as possible. Our mobility experts at Informs can help you through the process—from defining your requirements and budget to choosing your new mobile devices, redeveloping your apps and databases, and then testing and deploying your solution.

When upgrading to new devices to run your new OS and updated apps, we also recommend giving Zebra your highest consideration. Zebra offers an array of Android workforce mobility solutions, including the groundbreaking TC8000 touch mobile computer, TC77 touch computers, L10 Series rugged tablets, and the brand new MC9300 Android touch handheld mobile computer.

These and all of Zebra’s mobile computing devices offer a rugged, reliable, and seamless way to migrate to the Android OS while boosting your enterprise productivity and efficiency by streamlining and optimizing your mobile workflows.

To learn more, request a free consultation, and find the best OS migration options for your business, contact our team at Informs right now.


RFID 101: A Quick Q&A Introduction

Radio frequency identification (RFID) has rapidly gained momentum as a real-time tracking and locating technology for thousands of businesses worldwide. In this article, we take a look at RFID: what it is, what advantages it offers over barcoding, where it can be used, and how to determine if it’s a technology your company should consider.

What is RFID?
RFID stands for radio frequency identification. RFID uses radio waves, much like Wi-Fi does, to communicate between an RFID reader and an electronic tag, which is applied to an object. Each tag contains a wireless transmitter and is encoded with a unique identifier, which is tied to a database and used to identify the object and pinpoint its location to within a few feet.

When they come within range of the reader, tags are read wirelessly and automatically, even while they’re moving. The range of each reader is usually 5 to 10 feet, depending on your environment and your RFID tag types. But ranges can be adjusted and customized for your unique application needs.

RFID readers are usually handheld or mobile readers, or fixed readers installed at doorways or other strategic locations. Zebra is the top RFID hardware provider worldwide and provides solutions including readers, tag printers, and RFID antennas.

What are the advantages of RFID versus barcoding?
Unlike a barcode, you don’t need to line up a scanner to read an RFID tag. Tags are read wirelessly and remotely, even if they’re not physically visible or accessible. They’re readable as long as they’re within your reader’s radio range. You can read multiple tags at a time, so you can identify, track, and locate an entire room’s worth of inventory without manual, item-by-item scanning.

You can also use RFID for real-time tracking of assets as they move through processes or through different areas of a building, especially if you’re using fixed RFID readers at entryways or in aisles.

Where can RFID be used?
RFID can be used in any application where you need to identify, locate, and track products, assets, or shipments. It’s often used in warehouses, distribution centers, and retail to automate inventory and eliminate manual barcode scanning and cycle counts.

RFID is also commonly used in manufacturing for traceability and tracking of parts and materials as they are received, and as they move through production process and become finished goods. Hospitals are also using RFID to positively identify and track patients for better patient care and to avoid medication mix-ups.

How do I know if my company is ready for RFID?
RFID requires a significant investment, so consider your current processes, manpower, and budget, then determine how much you’ll potentially gain by automating your inventory, tracking, and traceability. Think about where you might potentially use RFID.

Compare the value of your potential gains to an estimated cost of an RFID deployment. To get a sense of costs and the hardware and infrastructure you’ll need, consult with an RFID technology provider such as our team at Informs.

Additionally, give some thought to whether you can devote the time to testing and training once you implement a system, and who will manage it.

What is the process for implementing RFID?
RFID should begin with a consultation with an RFID technology partner. This will usually involve site walkthroughs, process analysis, hardware recommendations, and a budget review. Once it’s time to launch a system, there will be testing, implementation, and deployment.

To learn more, get answers to your questions, and request a free consultation, contact our RFID experts at Informs to get started.

Why Adopting Android Enterprise Mobile Devices may be the Best Decision for Your Operation

Why Adopting Android Enterprise Mobile Devices may be the Best Decision for Your Operation

Windows had announced it is ending support for its Windows-embedded devices. This has caused manufacturing and warehouse operators to go on a frantic search for a new operating system (OS) for their enterprise mobile devices before the end-of-life goes into effect.

While transitioning to Android devices may seem overwhelming and complex, manufacturers such as Honeywell offer business solutions to take control and unify the process, effectively simplifying the transition. Honeywell built a mobile device platform to help navigate this transition: Mobility Edge.

Filled with cutting-edge solutions, download our complete product catalog here.

Here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider enterprise mobile devices built on the Mobility Edge platform:

A Unified Mobile Device Platform

The Honeywell Mobility Edge provides a unified hardware and software platform for all form factors, which allows for rapid deployments and great performance. Designed for Android, it is composed of common hardware, a common OS with support for multiple generations of Android, and a common software ecosystem that includes Honeywell software, as well as Honeywell-approved independent software vendors (ISVs).

Overall, this unified platform enables enterprises to streamline deployment and management for enterprise mobile devices, which improves efficiency and reduces cost, effort, and risk. It also helps to reduce the demands placed on the IT department.

Extended Lifecycle Means Less IT Frustration

Android enterprise devices, especially those built on the Mobility Edge platform from Honeywell, are renowned for their long lifecycles. In fact, enterprises can get six full years of life through 2025 when they invest in a Mobility Edge device from Honeywell. Not only that, but they can receive security support through the next five versions of Android.

The Mobility Edge platform also includes other features that extend the lifespan of enterprise mobile devices and provide a maximum return. The battery optimizer provides information about current charge and battery health. Users can choose different optimization profiles that can work to extend the available runtime of the battery pack. A self-diagnostics feature also allows users to identify and diagnose basic device issues, reducing the demand on IT.

Minimized Security Risks

An unmanaged device poses a security risk, which can be devastating to enterprises. When devices aren’t updated regularly and necessary security patches aren’t installed, cyber criminals have an opportunity to act, with some serious consequences. IBM reported the average cost of a security breach is up 6.4% to $3.86 million.

Honeywell provides regular security patches for Mobility Edge devices at least every 90 days—sometimes as frequently as every 30 days. This helps ensure that all devices on the Mobility Edge platform are secure, and data is protected.

Take Advantage of Honeywell’s Mobility Edge Platform

Honeywell is launching new enterprise mobile devices with the platform already installed. As the only company that guarantees support through Android R, Honeywell’s Android enterprise devices are future-proof and built to last.

  • Dolphin CN80—an ultra-rugged device that features both a keypad and a large touchscreen interface for speedy and efficient data entry.
  • Dolphin CT60—a durable and versatile mobile computer with a long-lasting battery and high-performance scanning.
  • Dolphin CT40—a full-touch mobile computer with a five-inch display that acts as an intuitive tool, optimized for long shifts and comfortable use.
  • Dolphin CK65—a rugged mobile computer with flexible data entry options and enhanced scanning read ranges of up to 15.2m (50 ft.).
  • Thor VM1A—a leading vehicle-mounted computer that has been upgraded to the Mobility Edge platform, and can be used on multiple vehicles.


Interested in learning more about the enterprise mobile devices built on the Mobility Edge platform and how they can help you navigate the transition from Windows to Android? Contact Informs, Inc. today.

How RFID Will Improve Your Manufacturing Efficiency

How RFID Will Improve Your Manufacturing Efficiency

With heavy competition and rising consumer expectations, manufacturing businesses are on the lookout for ways to streamline their operations and improve manufacturing efficiency. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has proven to be an extremely effective solution, allowing workers to quickly identify and track assets by location throughout the supply chain.

Whereas barcode tracking requires a direct line of sight and can only provide a certain level of data, RFID readers can easily track everything within the vicinity, and provide information on assets with pinpoint accuracy.

If you are looking for a way to improve manufacturing efficiency within your operations, here are a few ways RFID can help:

Filled with cutting-edge solutions, download our complete product catalog here.

Inventory Management

RFID has made great strides in improving inventory accuracy and providing accurate counts. Rather than requiring manual inventory counts be made, RFID can take in a wider range of data much quicker. Since no direct line of sight is required, you can complete inventory counts in mere minutes.

Strategically placing RFID readers around your warehouse allows you to keep track of progress. This can improve manufacturing efficiency while providing real-time visibility into inventory levels so you can easily monitor inventory levels and prevent against shrinkage. This is useful if you need to track expensive containers, pallets, or even individual assets. You get a real-time view of when products enter and leave your facility.

Workflow Optimization

RFID doesn’t require a direct line of sight, workers don’t have to go and manually find each barcode one by one to scan. By automating your data collection processes, you save on labor and virtually eliminate human error.

When you place sensors at the door, you can enable workers to drive forklifts full of inventory and assets into your warehouse, and it automatically scans all RFID tags as items pass through your doors. Since no direct line of sight is needed, inventory items don’t have to be counted and scanned one-by-one. RFID tags could effectively replace barcode labels so that you can easily collect data and improve manufacturing efficiency through warehouse automation.

Asset Management

Unlike barcodes, RFID technology doesn’t just tell you whether or not an item has been received or is in stock, it also tells you the exact location, which further reduces inventory errors that could be caused by misplaced inventory and drastically improve manufacturing efficiency. The value of RFID increases with the value of the item being tracked, because this method improves both accuracy and security, while helping to increase productivity within your operation itself.

RFID sensors can be placed in a variety of areas around the warehouse, so the nearest sensor can tell workers where an order is located. This expedites the shipping process, because it allows inventory to be easily located without requiring workers to spend time tracking an order down and searching the entire warehouse for it if it isn’t in the correct place. Orders can be picked and shipped in minimal time.

Manufacturing solutions from Honeywell are great at helping boost efficiency, quality control, and workflow automation within your operation. This technology takes labor-intensive tasks and transforms them into simple, efficient processes driven by automation.

Interested in learning more about Honeywell’s manufacturing solutions and how RFID can improve manufacturing efficiency? Contact Informs, Inc. today!