Package delivery giant United Parcel Service has partnered with Motorola Solutions to enhance its arsenal of tracking technology. The new wearable scanning system consists of a Bluetooth-enabled hands-free barcode scanner and a small terminal. The scans are key to providing the tracking data that feeds the more than 32 million tracking requests viewed daily. The wearable scanning system consists of a “ring” that fits over the driver’s two fingers and automatically scans the barcode, either traditional one dimensional or two dimensional, on the package to be delivered. The 2D imager is designed to improve the tracking number “read rate,” reducing the need for key entry by employees. This information is sent to the transmitter, worn on the hip or forearm, which then instantly sends the scanned info over WiFi to the UPS facility. From there, the information is sent to UPS’ global data centers where customers can access tracking information in real time on www.UPS.com. The result is increased speed and reliability of tracked information.
Besides identifying the destination and service level of the package to be delivered, the system can also verify whether the package is being loaded into the proper trailer or air container. An audible and visible alert identifies any package that is about to be loaded incorrectly to help UPS avoid routing errors.
According to a company statement, UPS began using the new system based on Motorola’s Bluetooth ring imager last year. The roll-out began about nine months ago in UPS’ major markets, and has gradually moved to its secondary markets. Currently, 28,000 ring imager and terminal devises are in use at 480 facilities. By the fourth quarter of 2013 all of its 1,383 facilities will be equipped with more than 38,000 such devices.
In a recent interview with Point of Sale News, Jerry McNerney, Senior Director of Enterprise Marketing for Motorola Solutions, explained that UPS wanted a technology that responded to the increased adoption of 2D barcodes. “Because of the emphasis UPS has always placed on productivity, the codes need be read fast, well and reliably, and the hardware must be able withstand the rugged UPS environment. Carrier response has been very positive, as the device and technology are intuitive.”
“Motorola Solutions has been working on wearable technology for a long time,” he added, “and we’ve enjoyed a long-term relationship with UPS. We’re obviously delighted to have been chosen to partner with them in this initiative.”