“EAI IS NOT JUST A SMALL SECTION OF OUR BUSINESS, IT IS NOW A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF OUR COMPANY STRATEGY.”
EAI: FUTURE OF ZEBRA
WHAT IS EAI?
DO WE NEED IT? Another business acronym that you hear around the ofďŹ ce and disregard? We encounter it almost every day and yet many Zebra employees struggle to deďŹ ne it. This magazine is designed to give you a quick insight into the world of Enterprise Asset Intelligence and its impact on your role.
HOW DOES EAI AFFECTS US? Louis Kos: EMEA Pricing
Daniel Kiteley: Supplies quality intern
Alex Holdsworth: Regional Product Manager
How EAI affects my Role: Although EAI does not currently affect my role, I am using aspects of cloud computing every day and am always looking for system improvements and develops that could ease my manual workload and reduce room for human error. Researching over the last 6 months has made me realize the vast increase in productivity and speed I could have in my role if EAI were present within not only my role, but throughout my whole Pricing team globally.
For me, I think the aspect of EAI that I am involved in is Barcode printing. I think of this as the ﬁrst stage the process of EAI the harvesting of the data. When issues arise, it is stopping anyone from being able to collect the data, I prevent this from occurring and provide solutions to issues.
EAI is a cloud service that allows us at Zebra to deliver on data driven business models. It is a platform that collects data at the edge of the network. This data is analysed in the Cloud with external information sources also available to look at. The net result of all of this is a pro-active data set which is utilised by partner and Zebra applications. A good example of an application like this is Savanna.
Samantha Burt: Quality Intern EAI to my role is somewhat limited, but I am aware that with the emergence of more users, there may be some quality issues!! It is an interesting concept that since researching I have been aware of using in my daily life.
Anna Carruthers: Learning Events
Alex Hudson: Channel and Field Marketing
Blixa Aguerreberry: UX Designer
As EAI is becoming more prevalent in Zebra, it is increasingly important to ensure colleagues and partners are trained on the concept. The wider Zebra Knowledge Centre team require a focus on EAI in 2018 and are in the process of creating imaginative EAI content that can be used on different platforms. The Design and Deploy RFID Solutions partner training touches on the concept of EAI but it is likely that this will have a bigger importance in the future.
A major concern of EAI is that it is not fully understood therefore a requirement of my role is to communicate this message in the most understandable and clear way possible.
As the company moves further into the ﬁeld of EAI and intergrates it’s structure into our products, it will be evermore essential for the design team to drive for solution and services as opposed to physical products. The hardware Zebra’s bread and butter but EAI is the thing that will drive it into the future. Collecting data is important but using the data is where the real interest lies.
Corina Sehmar: Digital Marketing My role involves a lot of social media therefore it’s important to understand the foundations of EAI. This allows me to create messaging that isn’t just focused on the hardware products but goes into detail about the solutions involved with these. This will help to get the message and awareness of EAI out there externally.
CHANGING THE WAY INDUSTRIE How does SmartPack tie in with EAI?
SmartPack Trailer was unveiled by Zebra on the 3rd April 2017. This represented a ne transport and logistics (T&L) operators full visibility of their operations. SmartPack Tr uses 3D sensors and camera technology along with smart hardware, software and ana and on lifting techniques/ productivity of employees.
FedEx are a multinational T&L company founded in the US. Their air, ground and sea n worldwide. FedEx were one of the ﬁrst customers to show interest and begin trials usi by Operation Managers. Zebra and FedEx together approved a Proof of Concept (POC), designed to greater explore and develop the SmartPack technology. Zebra created a research project to look at: •
The integration of SmartPack and Heads Up Displays (HUD)
The option of Voice Assistance being used with SmartPack and HUD
The role of Operation Manager’s, and their needs.
ew solution in a portfolio of solutions offered by Zebra speciﬁcally designed to give railer aims to optimize speed, accuracy and efﬁciency of the loading process. The system alytics to provide information on load factors, the most efﬁcient freight loading options
networks cover more than 220 countries and more than 400,000 people work for FedEx ing Zebra’s Trailer Load Analytics. FedEx wish to expand the use of Smart Pack analytics Hardware was delivered, with an on-site deployment taking place in September 2017 and testing commenced in September – October. However, this is only Phase 1 of a Next Generation T&L Program that Zebra and FedEx Ground have together. This technology is still very new, and its full capabilities are still being researched and tested. This is just one example of a large proﬁle T&L operator who is currently using and helping to develop SmartPack with Zebra. It is fair to say that this technology will only continue to grow, and Zebra should look forward to new opportunities that could develop.
EAI IN THE NEWS Can the IoT transform loading operations? Zebra created a solution ﬁt for the T&L sector. It’s called ‘SmartPack’ and designed to use the internet of things (IoT) to give public and private freight time parcel carriers real-time visibility into their operations, helping them to improve the efﬁciency of loading trailers, load quality and staff training/safety.
This solution received a lot of media attention and articles can be found on ‘Yahoo Finance!’ and ‘CIO.com’ * https:// ﬁnance.yahoo.com/ news/zebra-unveilssmartpack-solutionbring-120000518.html * https://www.cio.com/ article/3186703/ internet-of-things/canthe-iot-transformloading-operations.html.
What is the role of IoT in retail digital formation? Zebra’s collaboration with IoT is also present in the retail vertical. This is through ‘SmartLens’ the solution that collects data on merchandise, shoppers, store associates and assets as they move into and out the store. This data gives realtime visibility with what’s happening on the retail shop ﬂoor and the SmartLens application presents insights through easy-to-read dashboards and real-time alerts.
‘CentricDigital’ mentioned SmartLens in one of their blogs to help explain how retail is moving towards ‘smart stores’.
Can tracking chips inside football phase out the need for an index card? Zebra implanted ‘RFID’ chips inside every NFL football, right under the league logo. The RFID chips send out electromagnetic waves to a nearby antenna, which are then converted into digital data. The chip in the football ‘blinks’ 25 times a second and there are receivers in the stadium to capture this data. How is this data used? This data allows NFL ofﬁcials, players, coaches and fans to understand how much a team has advanced the football on parts of the game, including a crucial third-down or goal-line play. Yahoo sports reported on this advancement and queried what this could mean for the future of NFL! * https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/tracking-chips-inside-footballs-phase-need-indexcard-162835737.html
How did Zebra and IMCO team up for supply chain solutions? Data capture is also making its way around the supply chain. Integrated Manufacturing and Supply Chain Solutions (IMCO) partnered with Zebra to begin the data capture process. Zebra barcode labels and RFID tags are printed and applied to all materials, component and products. Once this happens, IMCO use this data on various solutions programmes.
â€˜Modern Metalsâ€™ (a magazine for metal service centers) reported on this collaboration and explained each software solution.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? We asked the interviewees to brieﬂy summarise EAI in their own way and saw each took a slightly different stance on what they believed EAI to be about. As expected, a few responses were somewhat short...
"I just know what EAI stands for”. Luckily this was not the whole consensus. Many interviewees mentioned EAI being used to be able to track assets, with 4 out of 9 referring to asset tracking as the purpose behind EAI. 3 out of our 9 interviewees also mentioned sense, analyse, act within their summary. Dean Porter for example stated "EAI is about giving organisations visibility into their operations and helping them use technology to sense, analyse and act on the data captured from their activities." Many of the interviewees with a deeper knowledge agreed that EAI is a new 'vision' or 'initiative' that Zebra are actively pursuing. As Ozgur, UX Manager, stated "Zebras vision is to position ourselves as a solutions provider rather than a hardware manufacturer." One interviewee described EAI as Zebra creating a new ‘business category’ for business solutions while another described it as "a company deﬁnition that we have applied to a group of technologies".
How does this play into your role? We found it can be quite hard to apply EAI currently to some non-sales or marketing roles. Kathryn Mccarthy said she encounters EAI 'everyday' but that is mainly due to her creating the PR directive for EAI. Ozgur epitomised this by stating that he doesn’t often consider EAI directly despite his position in Zebra being in the UX team. 'What I do may contribute to EAI, but I don’t feel like a key contributor' is a continued feeling through the people we spoke to. Jack from channel ops and Anna from training, stated thoughts that they knew EAI was going to be a bigger focus for Zebra but didn’t personally encounter it very frequently. Both of our respondents from the customer quality team in the US knew the impact of EAI on their roles, and both noted that they met EAI when it had broken and was causing a critical issue to the end user. 'when you have very critical issues, that’s when my team and I come in'. The examples of EAI from those we spoke to were mainly highlighting the usage of EAI in T&L. Mark noted the 'Vagueness' of the applications of EAI that he knew of but spoke about smartlense. This tended to be the theme throughout those we spoke to, that there is an idea of what EAI is as a concept, but little knowledge on where these solutions are being used. Of those who we spoke to, many found it hard to name a speciﬁc EAI solution. But knew the importance of EAI to partners and end users by the metrics EAI systems can produce.
5 of our participants could not name an example of EAI.
How do we communicate this? Out of the 9 interviewees asked, 7 of them highlighted that EAI had not been effectively communicated to them. A new marketing starter said, 'I don’t think it's been communicated well to me, the stuff I know is what I researched before joining Zebra'. This could suggest that the EAI messaging has not been communicated well internally, however externally there are useful resources available. This was furthered by a member of the training department, who felt EAI had not directly been communicated to her department, she noted how 'there is speaking of EAI just no training on what this concept is or how we can use it'. Therefore, perhaps the messaging had been better understood or communicated to certain departments more than others. A channel ops colleague agreed with this and proposed that 'unless you were in Sales, Marketing or Product roles, the concept could be confusing.' Alternatively, Michael Lee believes EAI to be communicated well on a global level. He mentioned how 'execs make this open and discuss it in town hall meetings' and that on a macro level 'the management team have done a pretty good job'. This is also mentioned by a customer experience manager who stated, 'the concept was introduced in a global town hall meeting' and she noted 'I have a good memory and take an interest in these things, but not everyone will know what it is'. This suggests that maybe for people to understand and take in the messaging there needs to be an initial interest. All nine interviewees stated they would like to learn more about EAI, including those with sound knowledge such as Kathryn McCarthy who stated she is 'always interested in learning more'. The reasoning’s for wanting to learn more varied. For example, a member of the design team wanted to learn more because they interact with it, whereas the customer experience manager wanted to learn it's potentials to a business rather than the ins and outs from a technology and software perspective. Furthermore, a marketing employee highlighted their interest in wanting to see EAI in action, 'I would like to see how customers have adopted solutions in EAI'. Therefore, perhaps a 'show not tell' approach could be adopted for future communication of EAI.
“THIS WILL DRIVE US INTO THE FUTURE.”
Published on Mar 9, 2018