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In the 1990s, when voice applications really arrived in the enterprise, it was about freeing up operators' hands and making those employees faster, Reichert says. "But that took away the eyes and some of the visual cues. In the 2000s, we became multimodal, meaning we had the ability to use barcode scanners and RFID readers to input data that was difficult to input in a voice-only environment. But that still wasn't a visual context for operators even though it was hands-free."
Enter the world of textual information on the operator's screen. It's a huge leap forward, Reichert says, to have this visual graphical world. You can display images, even animated ones, so the operator can accomplish so much more and still remain hands-free.
The latest technology includes Bluetooth headsets and barcode scanners, which allows terminals to be remotely located.
Locating lot ID or serial numbers is a classic example of the difficulty faced by operators equipped only with traditional barcode scanners, Reichert says. Often, operators have no idea where the data to be scanned is to be found. The situation is further complicated as the number of items, often varying in size and configuration, is multiplied. A device enabled with graphical displays can quickly point the operator to the precise area where the number is to be found.
"Visual images don't slow things down," Reichert says. "It's quite the opposite. You can present images very rapidly to the operator without having to have them stored on the device in a static format."
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Keywords: supply chain management IT, logistics & supply chain, logistics IT solutions, inventory management systems, warehouse management systems, wms warehouse management, wms warehouse management systems
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