Integrated solutions enable agencies to quickly add technology

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How new devices and software improve the user experience

In addition to the Zebra handheld devices that help log delivered packages, the postal service has introduced other integrated solutions that are essentially ready to use after purchase. This includes elements of the back office packet processing system such as a Wi-Fi enabled overhead scanner.

The on-site scanner can register a package after it has been unloaded from a truck at a delivery unit.

“When the mail got through, someone just put a package under the scanner,” says Cholkar. “It will look at the information on the packet, decode it and indicate which route that particular packet belongs to. It would be sorted for that particular route and then the carrier can take that package for delivery.”

After distribution, scanning devices are particularly well suited for rapid integration without recipients having to make large adjustments, says Cholkar.

“It’s mostly a small system with software that can be loaded either remotely or before delivery,” he says. “I can’t do that with big machines; It’s a completely different process because you have to install the thing on-site. When we send technology out, we want it to be plug and play as much as possible so websites can start using it right away.”

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This level of convenience can also help facilitate end-user adoption and continued use of new technologies.

“The expectation is that unless something goes wrong in transit, the devices will be in a position where they will work when they are turned on,” says Cholkar. “If we give them technology, it’s good to go. We want to make their job easier so they can focus on our customers.”

Relatively hassle-free implementation isn’t the only benefit of plug-and-play devices, however. According to Wright, ongoing maintenance could potentially be simplified if federal agencies opted for a turnkey product.

“You have a built-in supplier that knows how their system works and works,” he says. “It’s a different approach than going to another company, having something designed specifically for you, and trying to fix all the bugs and problems before you deploy it. They have something that has already been field tested for various customers and the company can help deploy it.”

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