Leeds hospitals choose Zebra for smart patient wristbands

Leeds hospitals choose Zebra for smart patient wristbands

Leeds Teaching Hospitals National Health Service (NHS) Trust (LTHT) is using technology from Zebra Technologies to help it better track patient journeys using wristbands.

Wristbands have long been worn by patients as identification devices, and used to help staff track patients’ needs and their routes around a hospital. But on its own, a wristband can be an imperfect solution.

Zebra Technologies’ Scan4Safety programme uses a special wristband printer, the Zebra HC100 printer, along with Z-Band Ultrasoft wristbands as the core of a system which provides enhanced patient tracking services.

The printer produces a wristband that’s compatible with the Scan4Safety barcode identification programme, which allows a hospital to track a patient all the way through their hospital journey, from admission to discharge. Wristbands are printed for Accident and Emergency admissions, for example, and for newborns.

Speaking to Internet of Business, Zebra’s EMEA healthcare director Wayne Miller explained: “The new wristband enables a digital voice for the patient, taking the patient’s ID data placed into a barcode – name, date of birth and NHS number. This digital voice becomes the password to the patient’s electric file. Scan4Safety records the ‘who, what, when, where’ for patient care, allowing an accurate record for both safety and accountancy.”

Read more: Healthcare applications to drive wearable device boom

Safety at scale

Scanning wristbands at each point of care, the hospital can better ensure patients receive the right treatment, reducing errors and delays. Leeds Teaching Hospitals National Health Service (NHS) Trust (LTHT) is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe, with more than 17,000 staff across seven hospitals. It uses in excess of 250,000 wristbands per year.

The Scan4Health system uses GS1 global standards for capturing and sharing information. This is the standard that the Department of Health has set as the standard for care in the UK by 2019, so the system is helping Leeds Teaching Hospitals National Health Service (NHS) Trust (LTHT) move towards compliance.

The system has been well-received by clinical staff. The Zebra HC100 printers are small, reliable and easy to use. Wristbands are printed from fast-load cartridges that remove the complexity of media loading associated with traditional barcode printers. Moreover, the wristbands are made of healthcare plastics that support LTHT’s infection control regime.

Other Trusts including Plymouth Hospital NHS Trust, North Tees and Salisbury have either deployed or are trialling the Zebra solution, and early results from six pilot projects suggest that Scan4Safety has the potential to save lives, as well as potentially save the NHS up to £1 billion over seven years.

Miller says that the technology also has applications outside of hospital environments, in other healthcare situations. “Can we extend the use of the digital voice outside the hospital? Yes we can,” he told Internet of Business. “It may not be in the form of a wristband, but we can use other methods, such as ID cards, prescriptions with a barcode and, in the coming years, personal electronic devices such as smartphones with biometric readers.”

Read more: Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to deploy sensors in intensive care units

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SOTI extends Android Enterprise on Zebra devices

Over the past decade, SOTI and Zebra have had a long partnership working together to meet the enterprise mobility needs of organisations worldwide.

In 2013, Motorola Solutions announced the end of development of their Mobility Services Platforms (MSP) management solution, and selected SOTI MobiControl as the approved EMM solution for their devices. Why? Because SOTI’s industry-leading ability to manage Windows Mobile/CE and Android devices is unmatched; and as Motorola Solutions introduced their first Android devices, SOTI MobiControl naturally was the first EMM solution to support them as their partner of choice, says Shash Anand, vice president, Strategic Alliances at SOTI.

When Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise Business was acquired by Zebra Technologies in 2014, SOTI continued this strong partnership with Zebra—and SOTI MobiControl is still the only EMM solution that Zebra officially resells.

Today, SOTI once again solidifies this decade-long partnership through the release of an update to the SOTI MobiControl Android Enterprise agent that includes support for Zebra management capabilities including:

Provisioning of Mobility Extensions (Mx) to manage Zebra device-specific settings
Over-the-air (OTA) deployment of Zebra operating system (OS) updates
SOTI MobiControl agent persistence when a Zebra device is enterprise reset

For any IT Director/Manager tasked with the responsibility to maintain Android devices across the enterprise, this release is game-changing: it marks the first time any Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution is able to support OS updates and agent persistence on Zebra Android devices managed using Android Enterprise capabilities.

What does this mean for organisations?

Since Google first introduced Android Enterprise (formerly known as Android for Work) in February of 2015 as a framework for standardizing the management of Android devices, it has quickly become the preferred method for many organizations to manage their Android devices.

Android Enterprise’s broad management capabilities, including the ability to separate personal and work data on personally-enabled devices and integration with Google Play services for app distribution, were able to address the majority of the management and security requirements of organizations. But for many organisations, the majority was not enough.

Organizations that rely on business-critical mobility have business-critical line-of-business (LOB) apps running on work devices such as those offered by Zebra. Imagine being a retailer who uses an app on a handheld that scans for prices. What if that app stopped working after an update to the device’s OS? The downtime and loss of business could be significant.

When many of your core business tasks are dependent on mobile technology, the ability to control OS updates and automatically retain management of all devices (some possibly unmanned) after OS updates becomes paramount.

Currently, such capabilities are not available through Android Enterprise. With the latest update to its Android Enterprise agent, SOTI MobiControl becomes the first EMM solution in the industry to bridge this gap on Zebra Android devices.

Which Zebra devices can take advantage of the new enhancements to the SOTI MobiControl Android Enterprise agent?

Most Zebra devices outfitted with Android N or greater running the SOTI MobiControl Android Enterprise agent 13.4, build 1485 or higher will support the new features. The agent is available on Google Play and can be download from SOTI’s OEM downloads page by selecting “Android Enterprise” in the Manufacturer drop-down list.

To […]

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Zebra: European firms lack solid plans to achieve IoT goals

Zebra: Many European firms lack solid plan to achieve IoT goals

Spending on IoT set to rise in Europe, but do companies have the right strategies in place to achieve their goals? 

Research published this week has found that more than half (53 percent) of companies based in Western Europe lack a solid strategy to turn their IoT goals into reality, according to Zebra Technologies’ Intelligent Enterprise Index, which surveyed over 900 IT decision makers worldwide about IoT vision, investment and strategies.

According to Zebra, this suggests that Europe is lagging behind the rest of the world, where it found that only 39 percent said they lack a solid IoT strategy. 

The good news from the study, however, is that IoT is evolving quickly in Europe, with 25 percent of companies planning to invest $ 5m (£3.4m) or more in connected technologies.

On top of this, 66 percent of respondents said they have plans to increase that investment within two years and 83 percent believe that their deployments are more than half complete.

Three quarters (74 percent) of respondents expect that their IoT deployments will be completed by the summer of 2019.

Read more: Business leaders find IoT economics “increasingly compelling”, says Verizon

Struggles ahead

There seems to be a big issue, however, around planning. Instead, businesses seem to be focusing more on the opportunities and benefits that IoT presents, and less drawing up  rock-solid implementation plans to help them achieve their goals.

For example, around a third of European firms said they have no plans to address the cultural changes posed by IoT. Six out of ten, meanwhile, don’t have plans to address internal resistance to adopting IoT solutions, which could potentially throw a further spanner into the works.

Although 65 percent of European firms are actively educating their staff about IoT technologies, only 18 per cent are offering them incentives in a bid to encourage their use.

European firms lack proactive security methods, too, with almost every respondent (98 percent) saying they regularly monitor IoT security, but almost half admitting they rely on limited, reactive measures.

Read more: IoT projects driving IT budget decisions, 451 Research finds

Real-time intelligence boom

That said, real-time analytics is creating new opportunities and a sense of hope for firms in Europe. Over three-quarters (79 percent) of respondents said this technology is extremely important, and 59 percent aim to use IoT data to increase revenues.

“The ability to sense, analyze and act in real-time on insights generated by IoT technology is one the of the most significant advantages businesses can claim in an increasingly competitive, global market,” said Richard Hudson, vice president and general manager for EMEA at Zebra.

“Our research shows how enthusiastic European businesses are to gather actionable insights and become what we call ‘Intelligent Enterprises’.”

Enthusiasm is great, of course – but many business leaders could find that their goals out of reach without a clear strategy for achieving them.

Read more: Six out of ten IoT projects fail at trial stage, says survey

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Survey shows IIoT has “crossed the chasm”, claims Zebra

Zebra Technologies study reveals IIoT has "crossed the chasm"

Zebra Technologies, manufacturer of mobile computers, scanners, and barcode printers, has released the findings from its annual Manufacturing Vision Study.

The global study of 1,100 executives from automotive, high tech, food, beverage, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, conducted on Zebra’s behalf by Peerless Insights, sought to uncover trends emerging within the industrial manufacturing space.

Central to the findings is evidence of a concerted push towards Industry 4.0 and the smart factory vision. Manufacturers are increasingly looking to achieve intelligent exchange of information between sensors, devices and machines in factories, in order to achieve more with less. Zebra’s study supports this view, suggesting that by 2022, 64 percent of manufacturers expect to be fully connected, compared with just 43 percent today.

Wearables and voice

The company believes technology such as radio frequency identification (RFID), automated systems and other emerging technologies will be used more frequently to monitor the physical processes of a plant and enable better informed decisions in areas such as predictive maintenance.

Zebra also found that over half (55 percent) of manufacturers plan to adopt wearable technologies by 2022. In its report, the company suggests that, “while still a relatively young technology, wearables offer a plethora of opportunities to improve safety and increase productivity on the plant floor. For example, some solutions can monitor a worker’s physical condition and alert supervisors if issues arise that could be considered a health hazard.”

Likewise, there will be a boom in the adoption of voice technologies in the coming five years. Zebra believes that 51 percent of manufacturers are planning to expand their use of voice technology in the years between now and 2022, with the most significant growth reportedly coming from those with annual revenues in excess of $ 1 billion. Adoption among these manufacturers is anticipated to come in at 55 percent by 2022.

“As manufacturers seek to eliminate the need to store excessive inventory, voice technologies will play a key role in just in time (JIT) manufacturing and automating processes,” the company said.

Consequently, there will be a decline in the use of manual processes, such as pen and paper, which is currently used by a surprisingly high 62 percent of manufacturers to track vital steps in the production cycle. Given how inefficient this is, it it may only be used by one in five manufacturers by 2022.

Read more: TestPlant CEO: IoT has broken the established IT testing model

“IIoT has crossed the chasm”

Commenting on the findings, Jeff Schmitz, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Zebra said: “Manufacturers are entering a new era in which producing high-quality products is paramount to retaining and acquiring customers as well as capturing significant cost savings that impact the bottom line. The results of Zebra’s 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study prove that IIoT has crossed the chasm, and savvy manufacturers are investing aggressively in technologies that will create a smarter, more connected plant floor to achieve greater operational visibility and enhance quality.”

Smart factories are surely coming, but with the advent of increased efficiency and greater productivity levels, chief executives fear a backlash from employees. An automation survey released in January by accountancy firm, PwC, found that around half of executives worry that the fourth industrial revolution, where robots and sensors work alongside people in factories, will be met with distrust by workers.

Speaking about these findings, Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner of PwC, said that “With the current pace of technological change, it is hard to predict what jobs will look like in the future, so as well as developing digital skills, it is important that employees are adaptive and able to respond to the next skills challenge. Those that can will be in high demand.”

“Emerging technology development will require diverse thinking to ensure the fourth industrial revolution is representative of the population and doesn’t leave anybody behind as we reshape our economy,” he added.

Read more: Brewing company draughts in Rockwell Automation to boost production

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Zebra CTO: Rethinking innovation in the age of IoT

Zebra CTO Rethinking innovation in the age of IoT

It’s time for business leaders to rethink false assumptions about innovation, says Zebra Technologies CTO Tom Bianculli, in an exclusive article for Internet of Business. 

How can business leaders drive innovation in today’s digital age? After all, the word innovation itself is one of the most overused words in business circles today.

Tom Bianculli, CTO of Zebra Technologies

Simply put, innovation in the twenty-first century is about having the ability to see and deliver value to your stakeholders – and to do so ever closer to the point of demand. That “ability to see” is key, because today, we have the technology capabilities to sense data from any device, analyze it to provide actionable insights and act on it in real-time.

We have the ability to identify the gap between what we think is happening and what is truly happening and then take necessary action. And, as venture capitalist JB Pritzer puts it, “If you are not [acting like a technology company], you’re dying or you’re dead.” IoT will transform the world around us in a way that will impact all our daily lives. That shift is already happening.

Will you get innovation right all the time? Probably not. But there is a lot we can learn from our collective failures – probably more than what we can learn from our successes. And what is your greatest asset? People. The majority of executives agree that the workforce, not technology, is crucial in effectively managing digital disruption. The new reality is that access to real-time data – from people, processes and devices through sensors connected to the internet – will revolutionize the way we interact with each other and our world.

Tackling false assumptions

It is often assumed that technology is the key factor in managing digital transformation. False. It is the people. Technology is integral in facilitating the process, but the success or failure lies with the workforce.

Yes, I am a CTO. I do believe technology is instrumental in transforming the workforce in the digital era. By augmenting the workforce with data driven intelligence companies can release human capital and redirect resources to value-added jobs, while reducing errors, improving productivity and increasing job satisfaction. Not to mention that technology itself can be used to retain the workforce in engaging new ways. When all is said and done, people make it happen, they embrace the change and adapt new ways of working and collaborating.

There is a myth that customer expectations differ based on the product or service. Again, false. Using Uber sets your expectations as a shopper, as a patient, as a citizen. So the high expectations set by best-of-breed providers in one industry set the norm across all industries. To meet these expectations, brands will double down on creating lasting, immersive experiences for their customers.  

In line with this trend, a recent study released by Zebra Technologies, revealed that nearly 80 percent of retailers will be able to customize the store visit for customers by 2021, as a majority of them will know when a specific customer is in the store. This will set the foundation for the retailers as well as financial services, healthcare and other industries.

Some people think creative breakthroughs result from in-depth, industry-specific analysis. That’s partially true, but executives can find commonalities and inspiration across industry sectors. Before recreating the wheel, executives should review best-in-class examples and benchmarks regardless of sector. “Agriculture is like baseball. It is rich in data. The challenge is how to turn it into insight,” said Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto. And that’s just one common challenge across different sectors.

For example, as the Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider of the NFL, Zebra enables leagues and teams to gain real-time insight into the action happening on the field. Imagine what possibilities the industrial operations director of a warehouse can uncover if he or she starts thinking how to apply this real-time operational visibility in the warehouse.

Even one percent improvement in the supply chain can create huge cost savings and generate green opportunities. For example, today, thirty percent of trailer cargo is air. Yes, air – or in other words, empty space. Eliminating inefficiencies in trailer loading density and synchronizing the digital supply chain can significantly impact the bottom line and the environment. Using data collected right at the dock door together with mobile devices and trailer load analytics software, warehouses and dock managers are now receiving a real-time view of each trailer to ensure their cargo loads reach their full potential.

No company is an island

Your organization is are not in this alone: not as a company going through a digital transformation, nor as a vendor consulting with companies on their transformation journeys, nor as an executive making investment decisions. It certainly shouldn’t feel this way. Methods, processes and strategic engagements that embrace open innovation and B2B collaboration are the new competitive advantage. As one of the panelists at the recent Economist Innovation Summit 2017 put it, “The twenty-first century is a really bad time to be a control freak.” It’s not about controlling information and secrets; it is about sharing data and leveraging the combined intelligence of partners and customers.

Consumers are poised and ready for IoT – eagerly buying smart and connected products like washing machines and thermostats. However, what many don’t realize is that IoT is already impacting and reshaping the enterprise landscape, forming more intelligent enterprises across industries and markets regardless of their size.

The prevalence of the IoT and adoption of the everything-as-a-service mentality has given rise to new data-driven possibilities. Today, we have the capabilities to understand the well-being of a city by tracking its residents’ biological and chemical waste.

At the same time, digital disruption is challenging the status quo. Silicon Valley is becoming the center of the auto industry. Who would have thought that just 10 years ago? The winners in this digital era will be those who can see how to move their value ever closer to the point of demand and consumption, put their strategies in that context to address the expectations of their workforce and customers, and take data-driven actions.

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