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IDC has launched the ZB111 wireless-based barcode scanner, which is designed to provide low-cost inventory management systems in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics and surgeries.

Designed to avoid the expense of full-blown Windows CE handheld terminals, the ZB111 takes the complexity – and the cost – out of the handheld unit and transfers it to a central server, making the system simple to support and upgrade.

The ZB111 is intended for healthcare facilities that need to track the booking in and issuing of stock across many locations.

The simple wireless mesh networking of the ZB111 enables separate stores to be linked via IDC’s ZB104 Ethernet gateway to existing estate PCs that can provide wireless management, web-based access and the management of communications from the scanners to a hosted server – a system configuration that keeps system costs to a minimum.

Designed for wireless mesh operation with licence-free IEEE 802.15.4/Zigbee wireless sensor networks, the ZB111 reads all commonly used barcodes and can be used for a variety of logistics applications.

The unit offers the operational benefit of being highly ruggedised and the cost-saving advantages of not requiring cabling, power supplies or installation, according to the company.

It has low power requirements and is rechargeable from a standard 5VDC mains charger.

The ZB111 is provided with a keypad featuring 10 keys – which can be individually customised if required – and a graphical display, enabling barcode and interactive messages, commands and prompts to be sent to central, server-based systems.

The flexibility of IEEE 802.15.4 wireless networking enables the ZB111 to provide secure, two-way communications over distances of up to 100m between nodes, with routing over multiple nodes for larger networks and longer distances.

Security and redundancy is provided with encryption and the alternative routing of messages in the event of a single node failure.

In addition, the Zigbee network is straightforward to install and extend using routers, and it can be used for other applications for tracking, monitoring and control.

The ZB111 is the latest addition to IDC’s Zigbee range of wireless mesh products for healthcare applications.

The products are designed to bring greater efficiency, accountability and monitoring to any healthcare environment, providing the end-to-end visibility of operations at relatively low cost.

They cater for applications across a broad range, from single-site to multi-site locations, employing enterprise-wide client/server architectures.

The technology offers bidirectional message routing between remote access points and centralised IT facilities and is designed to operate in electrically noisy industrial environments using low-cost, low-power networks.

IDC supports its Zigbee medical range with complementary software applications, including over-the-air programming, data logging and remote control, in addition to positional tracking.

The company also offers the ability to design bespoke hardware and software solutions based on existing site architectures.

IDC is not reliant on third-party software providers; hardware, application firmware, PC-based software and server applications are all designed in house by the company’s software engineers at the IDC headquarters in Derby.

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