With warehouse workers in mind (not to mention delivery drivers, repair and maintenance workers, hospital staff and any shift-based work requiring attendance terminals) Intermec has released two new devices. The CN3 is a GPS-equipped communications hub and the world's smallest rugged mobile computer (according to its maker). The CV30 is a flexible, fixed-mount computer that's tough enough to perform in dirty or dusty environments, freezing conditions and water wash-down procedures.
To begin with the handheld, the CN3 integrates CDMA, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth and WiFi technologies into a form factor small enough to fit inside a coat pocket. "The combination of all those technologies into one box is a first for this industry," says Bob Eckles, strategic marketing director of Industrial Goods for Intermec. "The audience for this device is the worker out in the field, like transportation people, field service people--the folks out and about. We feel they're going to fill some gaps in the marketplace."
The CN3 is also the first rugged device to offer Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 software with direct push email over GPRS or CDMA networks, enabling quick uploads and access to network applications at broadband speeds. Its additional features include VoIP, speech recognition technology for hands-free use, signature capture and a 1.3 megapixel digital camera with video playback for documenting assets at the point of arrival. Plus, the CN3's area imager supports all current bar code technologies and configurations.
"Workers can now create the device that fits their needs," says Eckles.
Just as rugged is the CV30, which is ideal for mounted forklift operations. It has a 6.5-inch color display but is half the size of most vehicle-mounted devices, providing operators with a better line of vision.
"The CV30 is small, so it doesn't block the line of view of the forklift operator," explains Eckles.
The CV30 was designed for deployments in harsh environments and to withstand extreme temperatures (down to 22 degrees below zero). A heated touch-sensitive display that minimizes frost and fog build-up enables workers to use the CV30 in cold warehouse operations. And after exposure to a cold room, what's a little forklift vibration?
"Basically, you're mounting this on a forklift, and forklifts jiggle things around quite a bit," says Eckles. "It's intended to take shock and vibrations."
CV30 users have a choice between Microsoft Windows CE.NET 5.0 or Windows Mobile 5.0 operating systems. They can also leave their cables behind, since wireless inputs are included for use with RFID, scanners, printers and Bluetooth-equipped headsets, freeing up workers' hands and improving efficiency.
Though it was designed with the mobile warehouse worker in mind, the CV30 works equally as well in a cab, mounted on a wall, or sitting on a desk. "It's been very well received in the marketplace," Eckles says. "The ROI here is in efficiencies. It's in the combination of efficiency and durability."