Motorola MP6000 Scanner

January 8, 2013

mp6000I never thought I’d make a post about a scanner / scale combo on this blog, let alone two. And here I am, writing about the Motorola MP6000 that was just announced and will be on display at NRF. This bi-optic scanner / scale hybrid grocery store barcode scanner is yet another big move toward making your grocery experience a pleasant one.

As I said before, most grocery stores have in-counter scanner / scale combos, and most of them were built over a decade ago. Technology progresses, but who wants to plop down 30 grand to upgrade 16 checkstand’s worth of scanners when they’re working alright. Maybe now they’ll do it, because the MP6000 comes with not one, not two, but up to three 2D imagers built-in.

The industry is slowly but surely moving toward imagers for data capture. In the past few years image capture technology has improved dramatically while costs have cratered, making them an affordable way to scan barcodes. Also there’s only so much you can do to a laser before you start burning things. Anyway, the three scanners in the MP6000 provide the same scanning capabilities you see in their DS9808 and DS9208, namely super aggressive with superior motion tolerance.

Those bi-optic laser scanners are also ridiculously loud. Like CRAZY loud. We had one in the office as a demo for a bit and the sales guys would routinely unplug it or cover the scanning windows so it’d go into a sleep mode. But once it woke up, two sets of spinning prisms would kick into gear and you’d get a great hum permeating through the office. Thankfully, the MP6000’s imagers have no moving parts, so you get near silent operation. I guess there could be some noise from the general computer hums or something, but nothing like the old scanners.

The third barcode scanner is an optional side-mount imager, so now customers who have mobile coupons or customer loyalty apps can scan their stuff without handing their phone over to someone else. This should make checkout a lot more convenient for customers and faster for everyone involved. I do have an inquiry out on driver’s license parsing but I don’t see why that wouldn’t be built-in.

Motorola tuned the MP6000 to save you on energy bills as well. The imagers are controlled by a series of infrared sensors that only activate the scanning array when a barcode is in range. Once it scans a barcode, it shuts back off. I have been told this cuts the power use tremendously, and Motorola’s fact sheet claims at least 30% energy savings over the competition. That’s a pretty solid cut. Once I get some real actual numbers we’ll get some back of the envelope math on energy consumption/savings.

All in all, this is going to be a pretty significant shift in high volume grocery scanning. I can’t wait for greater detail to come down from the Moto mothership, it’ll be interesting to see what the total cost and return on investment the MP6000 brings to grocers.

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Honeywell Stratos 2700

January 4, 2013

Honeywell Stratos 2700Honeywell has a new scanner / scale combination product coming out, and it’s the first major update to this technology in quite some time. It’s the Honeywell Stratos 2700, and it has some great features that will help businesses of all sizes. All sizes but move enough volume in a day that they need a grocery store barcode scanner.

Also known as bi-optic scanner/scales or in-counter scanners or those things at grocery stores, these are the tanks of data capture. Grocery stores in my area are still using PSC branded scales, even though they’ve been Datalogic for about five years now. They sport two scanning windows, one vertical and one horizontal, so you can scan products from virtually any angle. For bulk items, like produce or nuts or something, the bed of the scanner doubles as a scale.

The Stratos 2700 takes a new approach to high stakes scanning by replacing the vertically oriented laser scanner with their Adaptus 2D imager. So now instead of two remarkably loud spinning laser prism things, you get one and a fancy pants 2D scanner. With the imager, you get all the same functionality as their Xenon, including scanning barcodes on phone screens and parsing driver’s license data. This has tremendous application potential for mobile couponing and customer loyalty applications without needing to buy a secondary scanner.

Driver’s license parsing could be a secondary boon, not only for customer loyalty entry/lookup, but for ID tracking for controlled substances. Proving age to buy booze is important, and I do remember getting my ID scanned when I bought my first six pack. It even said “Happy Birthday, Jonathan” on the receipt. But now with tracking sales of Sudafed and other substances that can be used to make more illicit substances, logging buyers is as simple as swiping their ID across the scale.

Another useful tool in the Stratos 2700’s arsenal is the built-in LCD display and composite video port. Now you can plug in a camera, point it at the customer’s feet, and see if there are items in that lower cart area without really straining or leaving the checkstand. You could probably also hook it into a closed-circuit system that broadcasts Spongebob if you want. You won’t get the audio, unfortunately.

So these scale scanner combo things are already burly. They’re made out of brawn and steel and this shatter/scratch resistant glass called Diamonex* or Sapphire. And weighing in at 20 pounds or so, these things aren’t going anywhere. But Honeywell wanted to up the ante and sealed the Stratos 2700 to IP42 specifications. IP42, keeping dirt globs from harming internal components and blocking out water splashes from certain angles. I assume that angle is “from above.”

Anyway, Honeywell announced the scanner and it should be available for purchase soon, I just wanted to shout about how it’ll be a great tool for grocers looking to consolidate some of the excessive stuff at their checkstand.

*I just checked out that site. Diamonex is used on jet engine components. And it makes it easier to scan a can of corn. Talk about versatile.

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