Test Before You Stress
By Anthony Ambler | July 20, 2021

Did You Know There’s a Simple “Stoplight” Test That Will Triage Most Zebra Mobile Device Issues on the Spot – Without Having to Call IT or Send It into the Repair Center?

Actually, there are now nine different tests workers can run to instantly self-diagnose everything from connectivity and battery charging errors to SD card issues – if you have a Zebra OneCare™ Maintenance plan.

I was looking at all the apps loaded on my personal smartphone the other day and was truly amazed at how many fantastic tools were hiding in plain sight. Like many people, I tend to lean heavily on the apps pinned to my home screen. Unless I intentionally go into my full apps list on a frequent basis (which I don’t), I quickly forget what else I have available at my fingertips: augmented reality, health and wellness trackers, even device health tools.  

That got me thinking: Are Zebra mobile computer users aware of all the extra Mobility DNA tools they have available to them with a single screen swipe?

Unless they’re used every day, probably not. A great example is the Device Diagnostic Tool, which is included with every Zebra OneCare Maintenance plan for no additional cost.

Most people aren’t in the habit of running a regular device check, especially not corporate-owned Zebra devices they only use while on the clock. If there isn’t any visible physical damage and all systems are a go – the battery is charging (and staying charged), it’s pairing with other Bluetooth® devices without a problem, the Wi-Fi or cellular network signal is strong, and the SD card seems to be storing data as it should – then workers will typically just grab their devices and get to work. But the second they suspect something is wrong, perhaps the touchscreen isn’t as response as usual, or the device stops working completely and their productivity is impacted, they’re going to stop to investigate.

Their inclination may be to reach out to IT if it’s not an obvious fix (i.e., the Wi-Fi button was accidentally switched off or they realized they forgot to put the device back on the cradle overnight). But the thing is, almost every issue that may arise with a Zebra mobile computer can be quickly identified – and fixed even faster – if device users know to scroll to the Device Diagnostic Tool.

You don’t even have to train them on how to triage their devices once in the app. Just show them where to find the Device Diagnostic Tool on their devices and tell them to hit “start” once prompted. Nine system, hardware and battery tests will run automatically, including the recently added SD Card verification:

  1. Touch Panel Test – Confirms that the touch panel of the device is functioning correctly.
  2. Scanner Test (Manual) – Confirms that the device can successfully scan a barcode without error.
  3. Button/Key Tests – Confirms that the scanning, volume up and down buttons work effectively.
  4. Audio Test – Confirms that the device microphone and speaker are functioning correctly
  5. Battery Health Test – Automatically measures and reports the health of the battery,
  6. Wi-Fi/WLAN Test – Automatically measures the signal strength and availability of Wi-Fi.
  7. WWAN Test – Automatically measures the cellular network connection strength.
  8. Bluetooth® Test – Confirms that the Bluetooth connection is functioning correctly.
  9. SD Card Test – Confirms the SD Card is present and the user has read/write access. It also verifies the total space and current free space of the card.

Both the Green Light and Red Light Will Help You Get Where You Need to Go Faster

Once the Device Diagnostic Tool completes each test, device users will know instantly if there is something wrong based on a green light/red light visual indicator. If an issue is detected, the user can either proceed to troubleshoot it themselves or pick up the phone and call Zebra’s technical support for further assistance. Since the issue is already confirmed, the IT team will have the info needed to either help the user resolve the issue or recommend the device be sent into Zebra for repair. The latter is typically only needed if there’s a confirmed hardware issue that can be repaired. In some instances, a replacement may be automatically provided instead (if you have a Zebra OneCare Select plan). Either way, the user, IT and Zebra (if needed) can take immediate action to get the device back in service and the user can get back to work with little time wasted. You will also save a lot of money and frustration.

We recently received a call from a large retailer in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region that was concerned that over 20% of the devices it was sending into the Zebra Service Center were being returned after “no fault” was found. They were incurring a significant device downtime every time a device had to be shipped in and back, so it was frustrating to learn that there was nothing wrong with the devices to begin with. On top of that, every time a device was sent in, that was one less device available to store associates charged with managing inventory demand during peak periods.

Once a Zebra reseller worked with the customer to install the Device Diagnostic Tool on every Zebra Android device in its fleet and establish a well-defined triage process prior to submitting a repair ticket or sending a device in for repair, the retailer saw its “no fault found” (NFF) rate drop by 27%.

Another one of our customers – a European transportation and logistics company with a countrywide delivery presence – was in a similar situation when it reached out to a Zebra reseller in its region for assistance. The customer’s NFF rate was trending over 11%, and every time a device was unnecessarily taken out of service, it had to either find a replacement device or an alternative solution so workflows weren’t disrupted. Its mobility solution was a key factor in workers’ ability to meet target customer satisfaction and service delivery levels.

So, the European reseller established a well-defined triage process with the customer, which included using the Device Diagnostic Tool as an initial testing and troubleshooting mechanism and a way by which to better populate repair tickets when needed. The result? A 91% reduction in its NFF rate.

Both customers valued the tool’s ability to help keep more devices in the hands of their workers — and out of the Zebra Service Center.

One More Tip (and Benefit)

I realize your Zebra devices are configured to run optimally within your work environment and a regular “health check” probably isn’t part of your team’s normal workflow, so they may never need an app like the Device Diagnostic Tool. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pin it to their home screens. In fact, I think they should use it daily, even if the device looks like it’s running just fine.

Prevention is the best medicine for anything that ails you, including a malfunctioning mobility solution. If workers get in the habit of running the tests regularly, they’re more likely to see an issue cropping up and your in-house IT team is better positioned to resolve it before it becomes a disruptive issue. A battery performance error is a prime example of an easy-to-prevent/easy-to-fix issue. The battery may not be holding its charge because it’s reaching end of life, but that’s not something easily decipherable just by looking at the battery icon on the top of the screen. Once the test confirms an issue, the IT team can order a replacement right away or leverage Zebra’s Battery Maintenance Service before the battery completely dies and work comes to a screeching halt.

If you’d like to learn more about what the Device Diagnostic Tool can do and how it can help you keep devices online and maximize device productivity, visit our website or set up a call with your Zebra representative. They can help you install the app on your devices if you don’t have it already and work with you to define a triage and training plan that will make life easier for you and your team.

In the meantime, I encourage you to check out this video. It goes into more depth about how the Device Diagnostic Tool makes it easy for you and your team to “test before you stress”:

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Tony Ambler
Tony Ambler

Tony Ambler is currently a Product Manager at Zebra where he is responsible for the Repair Order Portal and Device Diagnostic Tool. He has more than 15 years of experience within the enterprise mobility industry and has held several roles in the company from services to sales.

Previously, Tony served as a technical support manager and a sales engineer, durinig which time he managed the EMEA technical support team and worked in Eastern Europe to support the sales team. Tony holds a BS degree in computer science from SUNY Binghamton.

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