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IT Challenge: Choosing sensor technology for order management

In this IT Challenge, explore the best options for using sensor technology with an order management system.

The IT Challenge of the Month for October 2012:

My organization is interested in moving to some sort of sensor technology for order management. Ideally, this new system could work with mobile apps. We're considering barcodes, but are afraid that might be a bit out of date. Are there better options?

Do you have a solution to this challenge? Have you encountered a similar issue at your business? If so, please contact the editors and share your suggestions or experiences.

IT Challenge respondents will receive a free copy of a new book from SAP Press.

And be sure to check back here all this month -- we'll be posting solutions from experts and readers as we receive them.

From industry expert and author Steve Phillips:

Today, sensor devices, RFID, barcodes and other wireless technologies round out your choices. However, I would not consider any of these to be the better choice, since it depends on the situation. For example, some warehouse processes that tend to require a high degree of human intervention or involve the use of high-speed conveyors are well suited for barcode readers, wireless or fixed. In addition, barcode technology is still the standard when interacting with external customers and suppliers.

In other processes, such as those using automated guided vehicles or performing very complex operations, sensor technology can make the most sense. The right answer is to match the technology with the business need while considering the cost of the technology.

From industry analyst and CEO of Constellation Research Ray Wang:

Beyond the traditional barcode systems, we're seeing a lot of variety for sensor technology available on the manufacturing shop floor. Examples of sensor technology options include encoders, contrast scanners, luminescence scanners, color sensors, distance sensors, light grids, vision sensors, proximity sensors, inductive and capacitive sensors. Cameras are being used against new visual recognition systems to power augmented reality off of mobile devices, such as the Junaio app from Metaio.

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