An Interview with Andreas Binder, Manager of the Development Department at the cologne AutoID manufacturer PANMOBIL, about the possibilities of the EMMware with SCOUTtechnology, the future of the AutoID and the quality brand “Made in Germany”.
The scanner of your company have an unique Middleware. How does that differ from the competition?
The others don’t have one! The general assignment of an AutoID tool is basically: Read a specific transponder or barcode from a distance and send the result back to the device. Mostly the problem and the question are: How do I get the captured results to the location, where the ordering party, like the EPR system, the logistics or distribution systems is located?It means you need to transmit data from transponders to a web platform as a data
file, or as email or simply into an Excel file all over the whole world. This assignment is still been given to the system integrator who writes a software. Collecting data from the system where the reader is connected and to transfer it to the target system. That is a lot of work and by all means an exact system integration which is called proof of concept. It takes time and plenty of tests! And that is where we come in: Our embedded Middleware takes care of this task, which is the most difficult assignment in the whole system. And all of this is prefabricated, so that the commissioning is possible without any problems. You just need to enter an email address or the address of a FTP server once, and soon the data are where your need them to be. That is genius!
What is the playing role of the bidirectional communication between iOS- and Android devices?
Bidirectional means that not only barcode and RFID data are sent from the reading device, after being sent to the mobile device like iOS or Android devices. It also means transferring data back from a mobile end device to the AutoID tool, so that it can be described directly into a transponder, for example. This bidirectional procedure can be used for professional applications of smart phones and tablets in the logistics and the industry. PANMOBILs AutoID tools are certified by Apple, that means a crypto chip from Apple is integrated and makes the data communication 100% save and steady. AutoID data therefore cannot get lost. While you capture data from packages with a PANMOBIL scanner and a smartphone, you are still able to talk on the phone at the same time. No matter what comes up the data always end up in the iPhone. It is the same with Android and Windows devices, the difference these don’t need to be certified. With this function you are able to remote control all mobile and fix barcode and RFID devices. You can also take a barcode reader connect it via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or cable with your computer and operate it from a distance.
Will all PANMOBIL devices be equipped with EMMware and Apple Crypto Chip in the future?
Yes, definitely! Simply because it is the future! There are more and more mobile devices finding their way into our lives no matter if tablets or smartphones especially in the professional logistics. There are more and more rugged devices produced. Let’s forget
about the consumer sector-the market of the rubber overdrawn and water proof tablets is increasing and that is exactly when the bidirectional communication is required. PANMOBIL is already prepared for this outcome. Our devices are already equipped with this technology by default. Not to mention the EMMware also by default. Until today nothing like our powerful automatically processing Middleware exists. To briefly represent it technically, you have to implement three things, which we created: on the one hand starting a data drive via a single USB port, known as a USB stick, on the other hand starting a drive to save the program and last but not least starting an emulated CD drive. This has the essential advantage to enable the auto boot function in all operating systems. This ensures that the data transfer can be performed from any computer. Our embedded Middleware and the bidirectional data transfer are the main technologies on which PANMOBIL counts for the future of AutoID.
How do you see the future development in this field - keyword “Industry 4.0?”
Let’s take a look at our EMMware and the simple connection of PANMOBILs AutoID devices with tablets and smartphones, referring to Industry 4.0, there you can see that the same application scenarios apply. If you want to connect typical AutoID devices directly and without any detours to your control system, such as EPR or Navision, you would also have the possibility to integrate your mobile phone in the Industry 4.0. Therefore PANMOBIL currently researches for a ZIM project, where exactly this procedure will be supported. We are talking about PANMOBILs Industry 4.0 server, to which mobile data capturing devices can be directly connected, as well as tablets or smartphones. The integration of classical AutoID tools and smart technologies can be both connected via PANMOBILs industry server to superior manufacturing systems.
Isn’t it possible to completely disclaim reading devices at some point?
Is it generally possible to disclaim reading devices? It is not going to be the case! Because in production processes you cannot determine if on the conveyor line the correct engines are produced without them having RFID tags or barcodes for identification, which can only be identified with reading devices. Therefore: reading devices will always exist. No matter if this reading devices are the classical RFID-Reader like we have them today, named classical MDE’s, or smartphone in the future. If you take a look at the industrial data
capturing field, where you talk about IP64, IP68 and previous safety devices, you talk about devices, which don’t fall down by accident, but been thrown to the corner, because something is not working as it is supposed to. That means you are not talking about devices in the classical field which are not only used for communication but also glow perfectly in your hands, you are talking about real tools. The difference: you can buy a Black & Decker drill in a tool shop for 99 Euro. With which you can drill a hole in your wall at home, but in an industrial establishment you will never find this drill at the work bench or construction site. There we have proper equipment from Hilti, proper devices from Bosch. The classification between professional reading devices and "just for fun tools" will always exist. In this respect I don’t see the danger that reading devices will disappear for good in the everyday life of industry and logistic.
In long term is it possible to persist on the market with the quality “Made in Germany”, or is the economic competition from the Far East too superior?
There I can just answer, what Israelis would say. “Why should I buy German? If I buy two Chinese ones, one will always brake, but there is still the other one which will work.” This thought works, but it doesn’t work if I need to keep my production processes tight and calculated. If I want these production processes in future to work out 100% accurate and reliable, I would not bet on random products from China. Made in Germany still stands for profound quality and that is highly appreciated especially in those countries, where cheap products are manufactured. The question is why don’t they buy their own devices, which are much cheaper – but no – they know exactly their own production is not as powerful, instead they buy German quality. Even in the future “Made in Germany” will be a big guarantor for the German economy.
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