To support more innovation and improved mobility, Duke upgraded from its legacy mobile computers and printers to new models with Bluetooth connectivity and other helpful new features. Duke worked with its retail and mobile application software provider, Sequoia Retail Systems, to specify and evaluate options for its next-generation systems. By switching to Microsoft® Windows® Mobile-based MC70 handheld computers from Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Business, Duke could take advantage of new software applications from Sequoia.
Zebra's MZ 220 was the ideal mobile printer to pair with the new computers. It is smaller and lighter than the legacy Zebra mobile printers in use, while meeting Duke's high standard for reliability. Duke also considered the MZ 220 printer's secure Bluetooth connection to the handheld computer a major upgrade over its previous cabled configuration.
"We like the MZ 220 because it's sleek and durable, but not heavy," says Drummond. "Plus, all the mobile and barcode printers we've had from Zebra have been reliable."
Duke began using its new mobile system for event concessions, special events, yearbook distribution, and for various retail inventory and point-of-sale operations throughout the Duke retail system. Future plans call for drivers of a contracted shuttle service to use the mobile computers and printers to record their activity, issue passenger receipts, and print end-of-shift summary reports.
Duke plans to take advantage of the increased mobility it has gained from its new Bluetooth equipment to streamline book buyback operations. The end of the term is an extremely busy time for campus bookstores as students attempt to resell thousands of used textbooks during the final few days of each semester. University bookstores can set up mobile and temporary transaction processing stations to alleviate congestion, reduce waiting times, serve more students, and quickly build an accurate record of used books available in inventory.
"Our mobile solution is used for a lot of different activities," says Drummond. "We were constantly configuring them to be used with different peripheral devices. Bluetooth simplifies that.We don't have to set the connection every time the computer is changed. That makes it a lot easier for us in the office to manage."
Drummond also expects the MZ 220's compact size and Bluetooth connectivity to lead to noticeable improvements in concession stand operations. "If a concession worker wants to grab the customer a popcorn or a drink, it can be hard to set down or manage the devices if they are tangled up with a cable.With Bluetooth, you can set the printer on the counter and use both hands, which actually helps us serve the customer faster," he said. "Concessions can get pretty hectic. There's a lot of reaching and passing, and people are working quickly. The cable is just one more thing that can get in the way, so it's good not to have to worry about it."