There have been about 3. 5 million MC9000 devices old since its inception nearly two decades ago, their pistol-grip handles held tightly by logistics and manufacturing workers everywhere to scan barcodes
in warehouses and plants all over the globe and keep track
“The MC9000 is a staple in any warehouse,” says Mike
Peterson, Zebra Technologies’ head of global product and
solutions marketing. “It’s a little bit like seeing a Ford F-150
on a construction site—it’s the go-to product.”
Being the go-to product for almost two decades is
certainly not a bad thing, but a computerized tool that
old faces a new challenge. Plants and warehouses are
right in the thick of the digital transformation and there’s
no turning back. The bosses want more data and con-
trol, so everything is slowly transforming: clipboards are
turning into tablets, pallet carts and forklifts are yielding
to smart AGVs, and humans are relinquishing palletizing
duty to robots.
High-tech tools loaded with sensors obviously give better
insights as to how the plant is operating and how healthy
it is—and thus if it will survive global competition and mas-
sive fulfillment centers. That at some point will most likely
mean much more automation, such as mobile robots and
drones doing the scanning, and many fewer workers. But
transformations on this level don’t happen overnightt’s a
Zebra’s recent 2024 Warehouse Visioning Study found
that more than three in four organizations surveyed acknowledge that they are “slow to implement” the necessary new devices and technologies to remain competitive.
And by 2024, three in five still expect to rely on partial
automation and tech-augmented humans, while 27% plan
on full-blown automation.
A lot can change by then, of course, but the signs are
pointing to people still being a valued asset, with 77% of
companies agreeing that augmenting their labor with tech
and devices is the best way to transition to automation.
So there needs to be a bridge from here to the future,
and Zebra believes, for many logistical applications, that
bridge may be the MC9300. At first glance, the new device
could easily be confused with the best-selling MC9000 or
MC9200 that followed, due to the pistol-grip and near-iden-
tical keyboard. But it is the first in the line to exclusively
run on an Android operating system, ensuring the device
will stay relevant as businesses make the switch from
Windows. That Zebra study also found 83% of warehouses
will implement Android by 2024.
It also runs a lot faster and longer, too. Powered by an
8-core processor, the ultra-rugged MC9300 has eight times
the RAM and 16 times the Flash memory of the MC9200, and
nearly twice the battery life. And because of algorithms are
“baked right into the processor,” Peterson says the MC9300
can identify every bar code out there in milliseconds, facilitating faster scans and higher productivity. It has different
imaging engine options for standard, omnidirectional, direct
part marking, and extended range.
The 1.6-lb. digital tool also can be used as a walkie-talkie,
has a 4.3-in. Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen, and comes
with a front 5-mp camera (and optional 13-mp rear), so it’s
not much different than the typical smartphones workers have
in their pockets already. More than 20 new features have
been added, from improving ergonomics to data capture.
When making a tool smarter, though, Peterson—who came
to the company in 2014 when Zebra acquired Motorola
Solutions Enterprise—notes that the potential results would
be severely limited if the end product turns out more difficult
to use. The Ford F-150 has undergone its own changes
and advances, Peterson says, but you still step into and
drive them the same way. So the user experience, chiefly
in regards to comfort and operability, were at the heart of
the MC9000 Series transformation.
As such, the computer feels the same and can still work
with the end-of-lifed Windows OS to input into Terminal Emulation apps with the keyboard. When the company switches
from the green screen and old warehouse management
systems to touch screens and AI-powered apps, you don’t
have to learn a new device. If a plant wants to augment
workers even more with smartglasses or a ring scanner, the
MC9300 would still act as the brains of the operation and feed
into the Mobility DNA enterprise mobility software.
Zebra’s LifeGuard for Android solution, available with a Zebra
OneCare active contract, ensures cybersecurity updates are
pushed to the device while also still supporting the legacy OS
so enterprises can migrate when they feel comfortable.
“It really is a blend of the latest and greatest technology that
still allows operators to take advantage of their old legacy stuff
and not forcing them into a much bigger change,” Peterson says.
For the full article, visit: NewEquipment.com/
Mobile Logistics Tool Bridges the
MC9300 MOBILE COMPUTER ZEBRA TECHNOLOGIES
By John Hitch
The Android-enabled MC9300 mobile computer has the latest tech to scan inventory better, while still working
with legacy systems to ensure change happens at your own pace.