Lincolnshire, Ill. April 25, 2013 – Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), a global leader in products and services that provide visibility into organizations' assets, people and transactions, today announced innovations designed to help accelerate the adoption of IoT solutions, including the release of Zebra Link-OS™, an innovative operating system that pairs a powerful software development kit and software apps with smart Zebra devices. The operating system allows users to easily integrate, manage and maintain Zebra's suite of printers from multiple locations.
"We are committed to providing innovative technologies from smart printers to real-time tracking technologies to help organizations gain better visibility into their operations," said Keith LeFebvre, VP of product management at Zebra. "Through Link-OS, we are introducing the means to integrate our printers into a rapidly evolving cloud-based wireless world with an ever increasing number of smart devices."
An operating system designed to easily facilitate cloud-based applications, Link-OS™ supports the four essential components that Zebra recommends for a successful implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. In broad terms, IoT refers to smart interconnected devices that provide more visibility into organizations' operational events. For example, IoT technologies and applications can be used to identify, locate or measure the condition of assets, people or transactions within an organization. In gathering this information, organizations can gain real-time visibility into their operations to inform business decisions.
Through its Link-OS operating system, Zebra offers a core set of apps that are supported across a wide range of smart phones, tablets and other computer systems to help customers manage printers in a building or across the globe. Additionally, the Link-OS open platform software development kit makes it simple to build powerful apps for multiple platforms and create new user experiences. Customers can use the operating system to convert enterprise data into informative output to guide their business operations. Looking ahead, Link-OS will enable an easy transition to cloud-based applications when customers are ready.
In order for organizations to see the gained benefits of IoT, such as increased visibility and efficiency, Zebra has identified four essentials for organizations to consider when choosing IoT-enabling technology solutions. These essentials are:
- Connected Devices – There is a proliferation of devices and technologies being used by organizations to digitally capture movement of objects, including identity, location and condition. These devices are increasingly capable of network connectivity and provide the data that is needed to implement an IoT solution. Systems should be capable of supporting both legacy and new smart devices.
- Internet Access Everywhere – True to its name, IoT is dependent on Internet connectivity. There is a tangible need to seamlessly support multiple connectivity options, such as wired, wireless and increasingly 4G wide area connectivity.
- Easy Remote Device Management – Organizations may have hundreds or thousands of devices to set up and manage. These devices should be managed centrally utilizing easy to use tools. Current status, updates and alerts are essential components.
- Application Connectivity – Devices need to send and receive data to a broad range of applications. In the past, a device might have been connected to only one local application. Now, there will be a broad range of local, remote and cloud based applications that need to connect to distributed devices. Consistent, open application programming interfaces (API's) between a broad range of devices and applications will be critical to enable successful IoT adoption.
To support customers as they adopt IoT, Zebra is developing hardware and software solutions that are foundational to the Internet of Things. Even the ubiquitous barcode, which has been around for decades, will continue to play an important role in a connected world. The key is establishing the necessary connections and then harnessing the information. As organizations implement IoT technologies, it is imperative to have an infrastructure and framework that is flexible and scalable, and can support a wide range of technologies.
From standard barcode printers to the precision of real-time locating systems, Zebra is committed to advancing the connectivity technologies that enable organizations to harness information to make smarter decisions.