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Palmetto Electric Coop Improves Field Inspections

Posted August 5, 2010

Motorola CanopySituation:
Founded by enterprising rural residents in 1940 to bring power to South Carolina’s Low Country, Palmetto Electric Cooperative has grasped the importance of innovative technology and productive partnerships for decades. Ten years after it first ran lines to rural Hampton County, it electrified Hilton Head, setting the stage for the island’s rapid growth.

Today, this customer-owned cooperative serves nearly 60,000 in a 3-county area that weaves together mainland and offshore. Palmetto’s relationships range from purchasing electricity generated by Santee Cooper to forging an alliance with Touchstone Energy’s national network of 600 co-ops. And for the past 25 years, Palmetto has relied on Motorola as a partner for progressive products and superior support.

Palmetto wanted capabilities to beat the bandwidth. Specifically, to increase bandwidth to its substations for the automated meter reading (AMR) system. Its older radio system was used for polled data, too slow to provide the speed of broadband to transmit data from substations to its main office. Other choices, such as phone lines and T1 lines, were cost prohibitive and problematic.

This proactive utility also sought ways to save costs on SCADA and mine the wealth of information at its 25 substations spanning 650 square miles. Could Palmetto cut down on time-consuming trips to substations and achieve data connectivity with one cost-effective network? Would the system grow as they added voice over IP?

The Canopy system was the one solution that met myriad requirements. “We looked at the options,” says Gary Jeger, Vice President of Information Systems, “and Canopy was less expensive and offered higher bandwidth. We also looked at our needs in the future and Canopy was more cost-effective, its payback period was short and it’s a very reliable system, easy to maintain and easy to program.”

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Filed under: Case Studies

Chippewa County Improves Emergency Response in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Posted August 5, 2010

Motorola Wireless BridgeSituation:
The need for reliable, cost-effective connectivity with the state’s emergency response system
The eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula consists of three counties—Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac—that are home to a wide range of residents. The area boasts a variety of locations and lifestyles: the bustling port cities of Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace and numerous rural communities as well as the tourist mecca of Mackinac Island. This mix of urban, rural and seasonal populations combines with long, hard winters and an area of 3,486 square miles to create a challenging emergency response environment.

To improve operations across the region, the three counties agreed to centralize emergency dispatch operations. Because it possessed the newest network and equipment, Mackinac and Luce Counties agreed to contract with Chippewa County to create a leading-edge regional dispatch center. There were three main objectives: help reduce response time, improve efficiency and increase safety for residents of the region. There was one major challenge: to convince the state of Michigan that wireless connectivity to the Michigan Public Safety Communications System (MPSCS) would not only be affordable, but also reliable and secure. Complicating matters was a very aggressive timetable. The goal was to have the system operational by December 1, 2008.

Solution: High-speed Motorola 4.9 GHz Point-to-Point wireless network
To accommodate additional call volume from the other two counties, Chippewa County needed to replace its existing dispatch system with a solution that delivered more bandwidth. The county explored a number of different technology alternatives for building the new network. Traditionally, Michigan dispatch operations have used licensed microwave-based solutions for data transport. But traditional licensed microwave networks can cost tens of thousands of dollars per link, well beyond the project’s budget. Another possibility was leasing T1 lines from telephone providers, but T1 lines have their own issues. One is cost; monthly recurring lease costs can run from $300 to $1,300 per month per line. Other problems include reliability, lack of availability of T1s due to the remoteness of the desired location, timing of deployment and loss of control due to dependence on an outside supplier.

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Filed under: Case Studies

Motorola DS6878-SR, DS6878-DL and DS6707-HC Broaden Digital Imager Portfolioto

Posted June 7, 2010

Scanners deliver new levels of productivity across a wide variety of industries

Motorola today introduced new advanced data capture solutions designed to streamline and error-proof everyday processes across multiple industries. Motorola’s new DS6878 cordless imager series and DS6707-HC healthcare-specific handheld imager help enterprises increase operational efficiencies and reduce errors with revolutionary scanning performance for improved quality of customer and patient care.

DS6878-SR DS6878-DL DS6707-HC

“With our deep heritage in advanced data capture technologies, Motorola continues to expand its portfolio of solutions to meet the specific needs of customers across vertical markets,” said Al Quinn, vice president and general manager of advanced data capture, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions. ”Understanding that enterprise customer needs are different and continually evolving, Motorola is committed to delivering solutions that address customer pain points, empowering workers to transform the enterprise.”
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H&M Bay leverages RFID solutions from Motorola to accelerate cold storage freight transfer

Posted May 25, 2010

Motorola RD5000

The company: H&M Bay, Inc.

In business for more than 25 years, H&M Bay provides efficient, reliable transport of temperature-controlled less-than-truckload (LTL) freight. H&M Bay has distribution centers in California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Washington. With its strategically located distribution centers and an owner/operator network of over 10,000, H&M Bay provides industryleading delivery to companies throughout the continental U.S.

The challenge: Fast, efficient product handling and inventory tracking

In the LTL freight industry, time is always a major factor in successfully meeting customers’ needs. When temperature control is required, a focus on operational efficiency is critical, and efficiency is a guiding principle at H&M Bay.

Being the premier freight mover in the LTL frozen and refrigerated commodities market, H&M Bay is always looking at ways to increase service excellence. One example is the company’s custom Web-based dispatch system designed and implemented by John Walker, H&M Bay’s software development manager. The web based system was designed to allow customers and remote workers access to critical operations data 24×7. The customer Extranet opens up the dispatch operations of H&M via online order entry and real time push or pull shipment tracking. Tight integration with the Microsoft Navision Accounting application provides customer and vendor account insight tightly integrated with shipment information.

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American Apparel Finds the Right Fit with Motorola RFID

Posted May 25, 2010

Company overview

American Apparel is a manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of branded fashion apparel based in Los Angeles. The company started in 1989 as a wholesaler of t-shirts and opened its first retail outlets in 2003. As of mid 2008, American Apparel operates over 200 retail stores in 18 countries and the chain is still growing rapidly.

All of American Apparel’s products are manufactured in the United States; its wholesale business supplies its cotton-based casual wear to distributors and screen printers. The company is a vertically integrated operation and conducts its own knitting, dying, cutting and sewing, and design out of its headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. American Apparel’s young, metropolitan customers are very loyal to the brand.

The challenge: improve business processes and reduce lost sales attributable to out-of-stocks

American Apparel retail stores operate boutique-style, stocking only one item of each style, color and size on the floor at any time. Inventory turnover is quick and traffic between the stock room and the sales floor is high, particularly during busy hours. With more than 26,000 SKU items to manage, maintaining accurate inventory counts and a 100% stock mix on the floor consumed significant time and labor. However, both were considered critical to the chain’s success, since inventory errors and stocking delays translated directly into lost sales.

The potential benefits of reducing labor and increasing sales from deploying an item-level RFID operation at American Apparel were clear. And given the control it has over its manufacturing, distribution and retail operations, American Apparel’s plan was not only to reap the benefits of RFID on the retail floor, but throughout its closed loop supply chain. The company was eager to test the current capabilities of RFID for accuracy, performance and adaptability to American Apparel’s business processes, with four clear goals for process improvements:

  • Increased stock visibility
  • Improved accuracy/reliability of inventory counts
  • Decreased labor costs and human errors associated with inventory
  • Sales floor stock levels maintained at virtually 100%

Planning the pilot: the right location and the right partners to test the potential of item-level RFID

American Apparel gave careful consideration to its choice of store for the pilot. They were looking for a store that had average sales and a dedicated staff that would embrace the technology and a new process for inventory management. In addition, they wanted a location with good traffic flow that was centrally located to other area stores, to facilitate a regional roll-out if the single store pilot proved successful. Ultimately, the store chosen was the Columbia University area store in New York City, which also serves as the returns center for all the American Apparel New York City stores.

Equal consideration was given to the technology partners who would support the pilot. To give item level RFID a legitimate test in a real-world retail environment, American Apparel wanted to start with proven and universally-deployed hardware and software. Based on their market leadership and technology innovation, American Apparel chose Motorola MC9090-G RFID handheld readers for product commissioning and cycle counting. Motorola XR440 fixed readers with AN400 antennas were deployed to track stock moving from the backroom to the sales floor, and also at the point of sale to indicate a sale, decrement inventory, and trigger a product replenish. The retailer also used tags from Avery Dennison’s Retail Information Services combined with Vue Technologies’ TrueVUE Platform.

The TrueVUE platform offers retailers a streamlined, scalable platform that offers increased visibility into inventory levels, location and authenticity. The initial deployment of American Apparel’s pilot system placed RFID tags on each item of clothing and merchandise within American Apparel’s Columbia University area store in New York City.

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Southeastern Container turns to Motorola for RFID asset tracking

Posted May 13, 2010

Motorola MC9090-G

The company: Southeastern Container

Southeastern Container was formed in 1982 as a privately owned company under the ownership of a group of Coca-Cola® Bottling companies. Today the company operates as a manufacturing co-op with ten manufacturing locations producing plastic bottles. Southeastern Container handles nearly 70 percent of the bottle production for Coca-Cola in the U.S. and also works with bottle manufacturers outside of the co-op. The company keeps quality and service high with a focus on continuous improvement.

The challenge: Inventory control and traceability for specialized product containers

With roots in the southeastern U.S., Southeastern Container now has ten manufacturing facilities across the East Coast, Illinois and Wisconsin. At the company’s three injection molding facilities, bottle blanks called preforms are manufactured. The plastic preforms are blown into bottles at Southeastern Container’s blow-molding facilities and at bottle manufacturers outside of the co-op.

The preforms are shipped to bottle manufacturing plants in cardboard containers or existing plastic bins. Ideally, these containers are returned empty to the injection molding facilities to repeat the cycle. However, problems with this return process were costing Southeastern Container thousands of dollars each year.

Some containers are lost or damaged in transit and must be replaced. In addition, the design of the existing containers prohibits Southeastern Container from maximizing the capacity of shipping trailers, resulting in the company paying to ship “air” for each load. Finally, cardboard containers are often pre-assembled to save time, and the fully assembled containers take up warehouse floor space. In the process of shipping billions of preforms, these issues add up.

Southeastern Container planned to address these problems by replacing the existing containers with a new version — a specialized returnable plastic bin. While the new folding bins are designed to significantly reduce costs and increase efficiency, each of them is nearly ten times the cost of a cardboard container. Thus, cycle counting would be introduced to track bin lifetimes against the number of cycles guaranteed by the manufacturer.

“We decided to cycle count for inventory control, traceability, and to validate bin lifetime, and we chose RFID tracking as the most effective method,” said John Underwood, Engineering Manager, Southeastern Container, Inc. “We already use barcoding extensively, and have looked at RFID on a number of occasions during the years. RFID was the right choice now because it’s affordable and the technology is at a point where it can provide the reliability and accuracy we need,” Underwood explained.

The solution: RFID system with Motorola handheld RFID readers and fixed readers and antennas

Southeastern Container worked with Motorola to architect an entire end-to-end solution to tackle this challenge. The system implementation started with a pilot RFID system for cycle counting the new bins. The solution includes Motorola XR440 industrial-class fixed RFID readers, Motorola AN400 RFID antennas, Motorola MC9090-G RFID rugged handheld readers, and OATSystems’ Oat Asset Track software. In addition, Southeastern Container relies on the Motorola Service from the Start program for repair coverage for its Motorola RFID handheld readers. They worked very hard to analyze the RFID tag selection with the Motorola devices to maximize successful reads for both full and empty bins.

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Filed under: Case Studies

Motorola DS9808-R & MC9090-G RFID ER RFID Readers Continue Industry Leadership

Posted April 14, 2010

Motorola today announced new radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions designed to help organizations gain increased visibility into business operations and deliver new levels of efficiency across the enterprise. Motorola’s DS9808-R is a next-generation hybrid presentation imager, introducing a brand new category of integrated RFID and bar code scanners for the retail point of sale (POS). The new MC9090-G RFID ER handheld reader leverages the award-winning features of the existing MC9090-G and adds extended range (ER) bar code scanning to increase productivity across the supply chain.

“With the introduction of the DS9808-R and new MC9090-G RFID ER, Motorola is further strengthening its RFID business and industrial-class portfolios, offering a greater opportunity for organizations to determine how RFID solutions can add business value across an enterprise,” said Mike Poldino, vice president and general manager of RFID, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions. “As the demand for RFID solutions grows, we will continue Motorola’s strong tradition of innovating across our portfolio, building on our legacy leadership positions in bar code scanning and RFID solutions and driving application-specific enhancements to help our customers achieve their business goals.”

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Motorola Introduces MC75A Premium 3.5G Worldwide Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA)

Posted March 23, 2010

Motorola MC75AMotorola announced the newest addition to its mobile computing portfolio – the MC75A worldwide 3.5G Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA). The MC75A is a premier EDA with the most features and functionality in its class and is designed for mobile enterprises that require connectivity around the world. Available in two models, WAN/LAN and LAN only, the MC75A series enables organizations to select the device best suited to meet their business needs while providing the ability to standardize on a single device for knowledge workers inside the four walls and out in the field.

Designed for reliable operation inside and outside the enterprise, the MC75A EDA helps retailers, manufacturers, healthcare facilities, government agencies and mobile workers in field service, field sales and transportation and logistics streamline business processes, improve operations and increase employee productivity. The new MC75A leverages the field proven form factor and accessory eco-system of the industry-leading MC70 and MC75 rugged EDAs – with an installed base of more than 850,000 units – and incorporates Motorola’s Mobility Architecture eXtension (MAX) innovations to redefine the way organizations do business. Offering the most robust processing platform in the EDA class today, the MC75A delivers consistent desktop-like performance regardless of application or location.

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Filed under: Product News
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Motorola DS6878-HC Healthcare Scanner Video

Posted March 12, 2010

The DS6878-HC cordless imager from Motorola has been designed specifically for healthcare. It helps prevent medical errors, improve patient safety and increase caregiver productivity.

Motorola Demos Head-Mounted Voice-Controlled Wearable Mobile Computer

Posted March 4, 2010

Motorola Golden-i

Motorola is pushing the boundaries of wearable mobile computers:

The headset is a prototype hands-free terminal for use in construction or other tough environments where the user has his hands busy, but still needs a computer. Designed to fit under a construction helmet, the Golden-i puts a tiny screen up close to the eye which gives the equivalent of a 15-inch display, and also has a headphone, a microphone along with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for talking to other devices.

The headset is voice-controlled, and I tried it out. Once you have adjusted the eyepiece for your eyesight, you simply read off the names of the icons to access them: My Music, My Pictures and so on. The voice detection software, supplied by Nuance and called VoCon3200, ignores normal conversation, only listening to commands when there is a gap first, so you can say “my pictures” as part of sentence and it will be ignored.

Source Motorola Golden-i, Virtual Display for Outdoor Types

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