Warehouse WiFi & IOT Solutions
Warehouses have very special requirements when it comes to providing WiFi coverage, for a whole host of reasons.
They are a challenging environment in RF terms – there’s often high ceilings, lots and lots of metal racking, RF attenuation is constantly changing (shelves filling and emptying, forklifts moving loads around and so on) and small devices which need good coverage.
The devices themselves are varied, but are used to provide high efficiency for staff in their work. From devices which provide an audio stream to detail what should be collected from the shelves to the workhorse barcode scanner, there’s an array of devices in use. Some use 2.4GHz, some use 5GHz and some may have small antennas or old chipsets. Devices are often used in real time in the warehouse environment, with staff receiving details of the items to pick over the WiFi network and using scanners to record as the items are selected.
Any issues with transmission can mean staff are standing around waiting for the network to recover. The cumulative effect across a shift is less stock passing through the warehouse and a frustrating time for employees.
Benefits of Wi-Fi in the warehouse
Wireless and mobile technologies have revolutionized the efficiency and productivity of warehouse operations. Wireless network connections give retailers a clear, real-time view of all activities happening in the warehouse and enable them to efficiently count and track inventory, improve order fulfillment accuracy, and provide workers with real-time communication. Here are some reasons why.
Asset tracking – Through wireless network connectivity, organizations can automatically track all warehouse assets in real time, enhancing both worker and machine productivity. By outfitting each item with RFID tags in constant communication with a system’s network, organizations have a way to track the whereabouts of each item at all times. This aids not only in loss prevention, but in the rapid fulfillment of orders.
Inventory counts – No retailer wants to be without the most popular products, but neither do they want to overstock. Excess inventory creates unwanted expenses. Accurate inventory counts provide retailers the data they need to precisely predict product demands and stock inventory accordingly. Accurate inventory counts also allow retailers to provide up-to-the-minute information to customers, particularly important when a specific product is no longer available or is in short supply.
Voice and data communications – Real-time voice and data communications enhance workers’ task and project management. Mobile communication devices give supervisors a way to see what is happening on the warehouse floor while receiving real-time project updates from the network. Wireless voice communications have proven particularly useful to big-box, warehouse-style stores like Costco and Home Depot. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi-based VoIP systems, as opposed to cellular-based systems, provide sales associates in warehouse stores with strong, clear signals for incoming calls, allowing associates to answer telephone queries from anywhere in the store, even deep within the racks, closing more sales and maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.