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By Dan Baldwin | June 15, 2020

This is Why More Businesses Should Give Workers a Ring (Scanner or Wrist-Mounted Device) Right Now

By issuing easily-sanitized wearable data capture solutions to each individual, shift workers can avoid using shared devices to do their jobs. This can help reduce cross-contamination and, thus, the spread of infectious diseases.

Worker safety is on every company’s mind right now, especially in warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities and retail stores where team members traditionally work in close proximity to one another.

Though there are many different methods by which organizations can help mitigate the spread of contagions such as COVID-19, the flu or even the common cold, one that warrants closer attention is the increased use of “personally issued” devices.

Three Reasons Why Wearable Technologies May be Favored Over Handheld Devices for Certain Workers for a While

Those responsible for assembling, picking, packing, putting away, counting and even delivering items are often scanning barcodes. And though a handheld barcode scanner or mobile computer with a built-in barcode scanner could be used to get the job done, a hands-free “personal” scanning solution such as a rugged Bluetooth® ring scanner or a wrist-mounted industrial Android™ computer can deliver greater speed and safety benefits when completing these types of tasks, especially in the current environment. Here are three reasons why:

1. Wearable scanning devices reduce the need to touch a separate handheld computer or scanner. Ring scanners are typically low profile and can be worn on a single finger, the back of the hand or on a lanyard. Similarly, there are lightweight Android wearable computers that can be worn on the wrist or forearm. Both automatically free up workers’ hands for sorting, packing, lifting and carrying items. They also eliminate the need for workers to constantly put down and pick up handheld scanning devices, which tends to slow down processes and can increase the risk of cross-contamination since multiple workers may pick up and use the same device.

While wearable computers and ring scanners are typically a “pooled” asset shared by multiple workers, the hardware can be thoroughly disinfected between shifts and are only touched by a single worker through an entire shift. As a result, wearable scanners can be more effective at reducing the spread of germs in comparison to shared scanning devices that are touched by multiple workers each shift.

2. Many wearable scanners and computers have removable mounts that can be issued as personal items for the duration of workers’ employment with your company, much like a uniform or name tag. To minimize human touches even further, Zebra actually designed the RS5100 ring scanner and WT6000 Android wearable computer with modular trigger and wrist mounts that can be issued to each worker for reuse each day. Since this personal trigger or wrist mount assembly is the only part of the device that actually touches the skin, the number of potentially-contaminating touches for each ring scanner or wrist terminal is reduced dramatically.

3.  Wearable scanners and computers can be thoroughly sanitized during and between shifts. Since ring scanners are typically worn on workers’ hands – hands that are still touching multiple different hard surfaces, products, packages and possibly patients in the course of a shift – it is imperative that the scanners or wearable terminals are able to be cleaned during the shift and/or between shifts, even if they are worn on gloved hands or on the wrist. Both are just as prone to coming into contact with other surfaces in the course of picking, packing and put away actions.

Fortunately, rugged ring scanners and industrial wearable computers are designed to be disinfected by wiping down with isopropyl alcohol or soap and water. So, even if workers come in contact with germs, they are able to protect themselves and others by properly sanitizing the equipment they are using.

In other words, the flexibility and durability of rugged Bluetooth ring scanners and wrist-worn Android computers make them highly valuable tools for hospitality, retail, field service, warehousing and even healthcare organizations whose operations are dependent on the accurate management of frequently-handled, barcoded inventory.

Watch this video and check out this webpage to discover the many different ways in which ring scanners could be used within your four walls as well as in field service environments to enhance worker safety, efficiency and productivity. Inventory management is just one of many processes in which hygiene – and outcomes – can be instantly improved by keeping more ring scanners on hand.

If you’re looking for an industrial-grade wearable scanner that can also be used in more computing-intensive workflows, you will want to take a look at this video and check out this wearable terminal device.


Editor’s Note:

Curious about how other common workplace technologies can be used to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases in your facilities or field-based work environments? Check out these recent blog posts or the Zebra COVID-19 resource page:

You can also find additional guidance on how to disinfect your Zebra devices and ensure worker compliance with cleaning policies here.

Manufacturing, Retail, Transportation and Logistics, Warehouse and Distribution,
Dan Baldwin
Dan Baldwin

Dan Baldwin is the Senior Product Manager for the Wearable category at Zebra Technologies. In this role, he is responsible for new product development and management of the wearable solutions portfolio, which includes wrist mounted mobile computers, ring scanners and rugged headsets.  Zebra’s wearable solutions are utilized by a wide range of industries, including Retail, Transportation & Logistics and Manufacturing, to maximize worker productivity by enabling hands-free operations.  

Since joining Zebra in 2015, Mr. Baldwin has engaged with customers’ operations and technology teams, as well as solution partners, to translate their needs into innovative, next generation wearable platforms.

Mr. Baldwin has more than 20 years of experience in information technology, including positions in Product Management, Business Development, Operations and Strategy at a number of Fortune 500 companies, including Symbol Technologies, Motorola Solutions and IBM.

Mr. Baldwin holds an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business and a Bachelor of Science from Harvard University.

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