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Bill Campbell, Chairman of the Intuit board, has been a member of Apple’s board of directors since Steve Jobs’s return in 1997. Simply known as the “coach,” Campbell sat down with the Intuit CEO and dropped a few notable hints regarding Apple’s direction in the post-Jobs Tim Cook era. Although he wouldn’t discuss specifics of Apple’s pipeline, reading between the lines subtly suggests that something incorporating wearable technology might soon become Apple’s latest and greatest creation. We have a vide right past the fold…

Ashlee Vance, writing for Bloomberg Businessweek:

The conversation started with a look ahead toward future products. Noting that he was not at liberty to give away specific details on future Apple gizmos, Campbell did tell the audience to expect to see “a lot of things going on with the application of technology to really intimate things.”

He was also honest about Google’s Glass, saying:

It’s a phenomenal breakthrough. When you start to think about glasses or watches, they become as intimate as the cell phone was.

Isn’t it great when for a change a tech giant exec discusses competition with appreciation?

@dujkan I agree and completion is great but appreciation between competing Tech giants is refreshing… #apple #Google #innovation

— Brian Fanzo (@iSocial_Fanz) April 12, 2013

And here’s the clip.

And where former Apple ad man Ken Segall sees ousted JC Penney CEO and former Apple Retail whiz Ron Johnson failing “because he changed the prices before long before he could visibly change the stores,” coach Campbell doesn’t mince words:

A lot of people in the industry were really concerned about him being successful. They didn’t want him to be successful. It would have changed a lot of metaphors in the industry.

You have to keep your current business going while you experiment with a new one.

He didn’t do that. He just put a bullet hole in his current business. Twenty-five percent? I mean, Jiminy. It’s a disastrous thing.

The board fired Johnson after the company reported a huge 25 percent drop in sales.

I also like how he likens CEOs to editors:

They should work in close concert with the engineers and act more or less as editors, guiding features along the way.

He pointed to Jobs and Jack Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Square, as two of the top such editors of their day.

Today, a French publication suggested that Adobe’s former Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch – now an Apple vice president – could in fact be working alongside Apple’s Technologies boss Bob Mansfield and a team of 100+ engineers on wearable projects.

Here is Campbell delivering his segment at Apple’s corporate event celebrating Steve Jobs life, which took place outside the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters on October 19, 2011.

Campbell was hired away from Kodak in 1983 – where he ran the company’s European film biz – by John Sculley who appointed him Apple’s VP of Marketing. He would go on to lead Apple’s Claris software division until quitting after Sculley refused to spin off Claris into an independent company.

He also ran Intuit from 1994 to 1998 and was one of the first former Apple execs Jobs brought back on board upon his return from exile in 1997. He’s served as a corporate director on Apple’s board of directors ever since.

According to a CNN Money profile, Campbell was worth $200 million in 2008.

Last, but not the least, Campbell was a close friend of Jobs.

You're reading Corporate Coach Alludes To Apple’s Next Breakthrough: Wearable

Phil Svitek, 360 Creative Coach


Today’s lesson will teach you to be more effective. Both personally and professionally. First, let me ask you a question. I promise there’s a point to it.

Imagine an assistant tasked with reaching out to someone to get an answer for an important question. The assistant first emails the person directly because he has that person’s contact info. But no answer comes. So then instead he calls that person’s office. Have they done their job?

Got it?

If you said that it was a trick question, then you’re correct. The answer of whether or not the assistant did his job depends solely on if the call the person made allowed him to speak to the person he was reaching out to in the first place. That, AND if the assistant got the answer to the question needed.

I see this sort of thing happen a lot. And not just with assistants. An employee gets tasked with something, does it to “the best of his abilities” but comes back empty handed. In my experience, employees get scolded for this and wonder why. Wonder why? Really? Stop and think about it. The why is quite simple. They get scolded because they didn’t accomplish the tasks. Millennials especially have been praised solely on the basis of their participation effort. We receive participation awards. How nice for us. You might have heard it once, you might have heard it twice, but here it is again. In the real world, work and otherwise, participation isn’t the primary metric. Successfully completing tasks is the primary metric.

In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss writes that, “Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default of the universe.”

A door to door salesman nowadays may be efficient at selling magazines, but is it indeed the most effective way of going about selling the highest volume of magazines? Probably not. Then again, you can do something effectively and be inefficient. This often times ends up costing you or the company money and lots of time. Therefore the last part of Ferriss’ quote is key. In an ideal scenario you want to be both effective and efficient.

Here are the four quadrants available to us when we look at efficiency and effectiveness.

In the worst quadrant we’re both ineffective and inefficient. We’re not only pursuing the wrong goals, but we suck at going about them. It’s as if you were in a race but were walking at snail’s pace in the WRONG direction.

The next worst quadrant is being efficient at something without effectiveness. It’s #3 on the list because you’re not getting anything done. You’re pursuing the wrong goals.

The #2 quadrant is doing something effectively but not being as efficient about it. If you can’t do things as both effectively and efficiently as possible, then at least do them effectively with inefficiencies. This way you ensure the right tasks do indeed get done. The holy grail however is the best quadrant – it’s where you’re both effective AND efficient at tasks.

Here’s another scenario for you taken from Tim’s book. A person who checks emails 30 times a day and has an organized folder system isn’t as effective as someone who knocks out his or her emails fast and is able to get back to his or her work projects. Now this is not a license to be sloppy or disorganized. As mentioned, you should be effective and efficient. In this case the person who is able to respond to emails fast probably does have a system to ensure nothing is lost in the shuffle, whether now or in the future.

I feel like the reason why people and companies become ineffective is because goals are either too poorly defined or are lost in a sea of other metrics and goals. Ever hear the term KPI? It stands for key performance indicator. The metric above all else that showcases the health of a venture. Quite literally, the goal. Let me use sports as an analogy. Specifically soccer. This past World Cup in Russia, the previous two World Cup winners Spain and Germany absolutely dominated possession and passing percentages. Spain averaged close to 70% possession with a 91% passing completion rate. Germany had slightly less than Spain with 65% in possession and 89% in passing. On paper, two great stats in two great categories. But the only metric that truly matters in soccer is goals scored against your opponents. That’s where both Spain and Germany failed, while France succeeded. Congrats to France by the way for winning the tournament. I had an instinct about them and they didn’t disappoint.

Anyways, the point is that to be effective, which, like Tim Ferriss, I urge you to let that become your first goal in anything you do, you must define for yourself and others what it is that matters most. What is the thing above all things that will propel you or the business forward best? It can alter, and it should. No business should be overly rigid. But you should know it clearly. Be able to write it down or explain it to others. Because if you can’t, you don’t truly know it. What you do is much more important than how you do it.

This is actually a lesson Christopher Robin, who ironically is an efficiency expert for his company, learns from Winnie the Pooh in the latest Disney movie. I recommend you check it out because it’s a wonderfully magical film. If you want move of my thoughts on this movie, check out Anatomy of a Movie, another weekly series I host.

Now, I could go on and on with other examples. But I won’t.

I feel by this point you have a good grasp of what is effective and what is efficient. Remember, if push comes to shove, be effective with poor efficiency. But let’s talk about how to truly achieve the end goal – the goal of being both effective and efficient.

The lesson there is, start with becoming effective and then tinker until you become efficient with what you’re being effective towards. That is how you achieve the holy grail of the best quadrant. That is how you become effective AND efficient.

Moving forward, please be mindful of this fact. People default to ineffective efficiencies because they don’t ever stop and think about why they’re doing something. I don’t knock them. That can be tough. Who has time for this, especially at a job where you’re told by your superiors to do something? In fact, some bosses even despise it when you suggest something different. Luckily, that doesn’t happen here at AfterBuzz TV. However, there’s a story I heard about someone who did an internship. The interns at his company had to input data into a system. Scut work really. The person came up with a code that allowed the data to be input lightning fast. What would have taken an entire summer with a team of 10 interns to do could in essence be accomplished in two days. There was a problem though. The superiors said no. They said that’s not how we do it here. So the summer of 10 people was wasted that year.

I wish I had suggestions on how to really deal with those types of situations. The best I can offer is if you can, find another job that will value your passion towards improvement or if the timing isn’t right and you can’t afford to look for a job in that particular moment, then suck it up until you can switch.

Now, shall we make a pact to stop being ineffective and also to stop preaching efficiency for the sake of efficiency. Just because someone tries hard at something in no reason to heap praise upon them. If they get it done, then great. If they get it done in the best possible way then that’s truly cause for applause.

As a side note before I wrap out, part of the reason why I love what I do, here at AfterBuzz TV and with this podcast, is because podcasting has proven to be a very effective means of connecting and communicating with audiences. There’s a deeper bond. More than TV. More than radio. I sincerely thank you for tuning in.

So now, move forth and be the most effective and efficient person that you can be. To help you some more, here’s some quotes to inspire you.

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” – Stephen Covey

“It’s 5 P.M. at the office. Working fast, you’ve finished your tasks for the day and want to go home. But none of your colleagues have left yet, so you stay another hour or two, surfing the Web and reading your e-mails again, so you don’t come off as a slacker. It’s an unfortunate reality that efficiency often goes unrewarded in the workplace.” – Robert Pozen

“As a leader, you must consistently drive effective communication. Meetings must be deliberate and intentional – your organizational rhythm should value purpose over habit and effectiveness over efficiency.” – Chris Fussell

“Calm, open debate, and logical thought drive strength to its maximum effectiveness.” – Billy Corgan

“Teaching is hard. It takes a lot of skill. Not everyone who tries can do it well. We need to admit that and act accordingly. We should reward and respect great teachers by paying them more, and we should stop rewarding seniority over effectiveness.” – Betsy DeVos

Where Is Wearable Computing Ware Going?

Suddenly everybody’s talking about wearable computing. Two Silicon Valley giants are reportedly working on wearable computing devices, which appears to validate a fringe area of research that’s been around for decades.

But is a new era of wearable computing about to dawn?

The answer is yes — and no. Here’s where wearable ware is going.

My friend Seth Weintraub, writing on his blog 9to5Google, reported this week that Google is working on “wearable computer glasses.”

Google apparently hired MIT wearable computing expert Richard DuVal to work on the project.

Apple is also rumored to have created prototypes of a wearable device, which has been described as a curved-glass wristwatch. The device enables the user to give commands via Siri, the personal assistant software built into the latest iPhone.

Rumors that Apple and Google are working on wearable computing products triggered chatter expressing the flawed assumption that the whole category of wearable computing will suddenly go mainstream.

One such project involves a display built into a contact lens that communicates wirelessly to a smart phone. In fact, an International Symposium on Wearable Computers has taken place every year since the late 1990s to discuss various technologies and issues related to wearables.

Scientists, inventors and hobbyists have been working on a spectacular range of wearable computing devices for many years.

But just because experimental concepts fall into the “wearable” category with what two Silicon Valley giants are working on doesn’t mean they’re all validated. The technologies behind these far-flung ideas are all over the map, and the acceptance of each idea depends upon the readiness and user friendliness of each technology.

In other words, that Apple comes out with a wristwatch doesn’t mean augmented-reality contact lenses are going to be showing up as an option at your optometrist’s office any time soon. The technologies are unrelated.

It’s tempting to think of the wearable-computing revolution as one in which full-power computers are made so small they can be built into anything and everything. Although that’s reasonable and coming soon enough, the first wave of mainstream wearables will be less ambitious.

For example, I predict that Apple’s first major wearable will be a Bluetooth-connected iPod nano that takes Siri commands.

The first generations of this ‘iWatch’ will almost certainly require another Apple product nearby — say, an iPhone or Mac. You’ll touch the watch to wake up Siri and get it listening, then talk to it like Dick Tracey would.

As is Apple’s fashion, I suspect the iWatch will be limited in features to only those that are pretty solid. It will download music from iCloud, store them locally on the watch and play them through earbuds or on any nearby device that supports the technology, for example.

You’ll be able to do just about everything Siri now does on the iPhone — because it will use the iPhone to execute. So with the iPhone in your pocket or purse, you’ll be able to say: “How does my day look?” Siri will reply by speaking: “You’ve got a planning meeting at 2pm.” That sort of thing.

I believe that Bluetooth will transmit the noise your voice makes to the phone, which will upload it to Siri servers for the data crunching. The response will be sent back to the phone, then relayed to the watch and played. The illusion will be, however, that you talk to the watch and the watch talks back or displays the requested information.

Around the house, the fun really begins. I believe you’ll be able to use the iWatch to control your TV, Mac, iPad, iPhone or supported peripherals.

The reason I believe this is that it’s a continuation of current trends.

Corporate Social Responsibility Tips From Paypal

PayPal is one prominent example of a company that practices corporate social responsibility, and there are practical ways for even much smaller businesses to follow its lead.

More and more customers are saying that they are more likely to support businesses that align with their values.

If you’d like your business to support a cause, keep up with the news and read articles from various sources to find something that strikes a chord.

This article is for business owners interested in incorporating social responsibility into their business plans.

When it comes to corporate social responsibility, small businesses could learn a lot from PayPal. The credit card processing giant facilitates charitable giving in several ways, including its PayPal Giving Fund, which allows nonprofits to process donations without fees or deductions – and PayPal adds an extra 1% to Giving Fund donations made during the holiday season.

According to Sean Milliken, PayPal’s head of global social innovation, promoting social responsibility is part of the company’s broader business plan.

“People want to do business with companies that are aligned with a cause,” said Milliken in an interview with Business News Daily. “Giving back, contributing to society, [and] being a good corporate citizen is not only the right thing to do – it’s good for business.”

Even if your company doesn’t have the resources to embrace social responsibility on PayPal’s scale, there are good reasons to integrate some form of charitable giving into your business plan.


To learn more about PayPal’s offerings, read our guide to PayPal’s mobile card reader.

What is social responsibility?

In business terms, social responsibility is when companies take action to benefit society while increasing value for shareholders. To achieve social responsibility, corporations and the people who work for them must act in the best interest of society and the environment.

A business can achieve sustainability by holding itself accountable and being transparent about how it operates. Adopting these social responsibility principles in your business can help your employees and customers feel more fulfilled and positive toward your organization.

To become socially responsible, your business should enact policies that strive to benefit society. Some companies enact “green” policies focused on creating a more sustainable environment, while others establish moral responsibility and workplace ethics policies to ensure they act within their shareholders’ best interests.

Key Takeaway

Socially responsible businesses prioritize working for social good, weaving social responsibility into their business models.

2. Social responsibility helps align you with your customers.

While employee engagement is vital, your social responsibility efforts should also encourage customers to support charities your business supports. While charitable giving is built directly into some business plans, other companies find opportunities to give back that align with their business purposes, even if they aren’t necessarily written into the company’s founding principles.

Free download

If you’re still developing your business plan, you can use our business plan template to craft one that incorporates social responsibility right from the beginning.

Milliken said there are various ways to connect customers to a cause. Customers are likely to rally around an immediate need, such as after a natural disaster. They are also likely to participate in giving that ties a social purpose to the product or service they’re buying. For example, TOMS Shoes has a “buy one, donate one” model.

Milliken said either approach could work for businesses that know their customers. “You can align yourself with a cause that is close to who you are as a business that will resonate with people and make natural sense. One way is not better than the other. [Social responsibility] does not have to be part of the business model from the start.”

3. Social responsibility can drive innovation.

While businesses giving back to their communities isn’t a new idea, integrating social corporate responsibility into a business’s very foundation is a relatively novel concept.

“Businesses have a long history of giving back, but I think the models for doing so have evolved,” said Milliken, who adds that the word “innovation” in his job title reflects PayPal’s commitment to changing the way the company thinks about social responsibility. “No longer will companies have a corporate social responsibility department where one or two people sit in an office writing checks to nonprofits.” [Read related article: Creativity Is Not Innovation (But You Need Both)]

Part of integrating giving into a company’s overall mission is responding to how technology is rapidly changing the way people donate money and support charities. Milliken said mobile technology and social media are drastically impacting how customers give and how businesses will reach those customers.

“We’re seeing a huge move toward mobile,” he said. “And that trend will continue to grow.

To the extent that we can embed ways for people to give anytime, anywhere, we have a real shot at increasing the level of charitable giving.”

Social media is also creating more opportunities for people to give. PayPal makes a point of providing the technology and tools to make this happen, according to Milliken. The key to leveraging social channels for charitable giving is to ensure the messaging is contextual and relevant to what the customer is doing at that moment, he said. “Social media can help us find people in these moments, giving us a better shot to get them to give.”

Ways your business can be socially responsible

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to social responsibility initiatives, but here are some straightforward ways to get started.

1. Clearly state your company values.

Some entrepreneurs and small business owners are so focused on starting their business and launching their product or service that they don’t take the time to define their company’s values clearly.

Take a step back and reflect on what social good your company can support. Discuss this with your executive team and conduct employee surveys to learn what’s important to the company as a whole. Once you have a clear sense of your team’s values, you can look for projects and foundations to match.


If you feel stuck or uncertain about what cause you’d like to support, keep up with the news and read articles from various sources to note what sticks out to you.

2. Create realistic goals.

After establishing your values, think about how those values can inform your business goals. Brainstorm a list of actionable items you and your team want to achieve within a specific time frame.

Since it takes time to establish a process and routine, keep your early goals small and manageable. That way, you can achieve your goals more easily and won’t get discouraged. As you continue to connect responsibility policies and projects, you can expand and grow your goals.

3. Educate your employees and customers.

Once you create a plan, state your intentions to your employees. Let them know you value their insight when it comes to establishing your company values, and discuss the goals you’ve developed with their input. Clearly outline the social initiatives you’re focusing on and how you’ll make impactful change.

Include your social responsibility goals in your employee handbook and company policies. Some policies, such as paid time off (PTO) policies for volunteering, encourage employees to make a difference and demonstrate that your company looks beyond the financial bottom line.

Key Takeaway

When you establish your company as an ethical organization that cares about social issues, you’re more likely to retain top talent and attract high-level applicants in your hiring process.

After getting your employees up to speed, let your customers know about your new social responsibility goals. Your customers will feel that you’re engaging them on a human level and not just trying to sell to them.

Most customers like to know that the businesses they support align with their values. For this reason, launching a social responsibility initiative and sharing it with your customers is an excellent customer retention strategy and a way to interest new clients.

Sean Peek contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Hoops Coach: “I’m Glad I Was Stabbed”

Hoops Coach: “I’m Glad I Was Stabbed” Chambers’ can-do attitude formed by a dark night in Philly

Patrick Chambers keeps a bag of bloody clothes and shoes in a cabinet in his home office. He was wearing them the night he was jumped and stabbed in the neck.

The BU men’s head basketball coach, then a successful 31-year-old salesman, had been out one night in Philadelphia. In his hotel lobby he bumped into a woman he went to high school with, along with her girlfriend and the girlfriend’s husband, who was at the bar. Chambers chatted casually with the two women, and the next thing he knew he was grabbing his neck in pain and being thrown to the ground, taking punches to the mouth.

“The friend’s husband was out of his mind drunk, on drugs, too, I think,” Chambers recalls. “He thought I was hitting on his wife. He stabbed me twice with a broken vodka glass. I was in the hospital for four or five days. I was a centimeter away from death. It took me a long time to recover mentally.”

Now 40, Chambers pulls out that bag whenever he hits a rough patch to remind himself of his good fortune and what’s important in life. And at the start of the current basketball season, his second as Terrier head coach, he showed that bag of bloody clothes to his new squad, this year comprising mostly freshmen and transfer students. A scar running several inches down the side of his neck animates the story.

“You want to know why I have so much energy, why I act the way I act, why I embrace life, why I love this job, this is why,” he says, running his hand over his close-cropped silver hair. “Maybe the guys didn’t know why I was doing it. I was just trying to reveal who I was, to open up. If they don’t know who you are, they won’t be able to trust you.”

But the high-octane Chambers is about more than motivating athletes on the hardwood and racking up victories. His work at BU is as much about turning boys into men, about preparing them for life.

“I’m glad I was stabbed,” he says. “It was totally a defining moment. It changed my career, changed the way I looked at things. I had a big house, fancy car, was making really good money, flying to Miami or Saint Martin on a whim, doing whatever I wanted. All these materialistic things that at the time you think are important—they’re not important at all. Life is all about relationships, about your faith, your family. I’m a better person today: a better man, a better leader, a better father, a better brother, and a better husband. I’m thankful it happened.”

Terrier guard Matt Griffin (SMG’12) remembers the moment Chambers pulled out the bag.

“I was very taken aback,” he says. “It was a very emotional thing for him to talk about, a tough time in his life. I appreciate that he opened up to us. It really showed what he’s been through, and that really meant a lot to us. He was trying to tell us to not take for granted every day that we put on this Boston University uniform, to really cherish every day. You never know what’s going to happen in your life.”

A college player himself, Chambers was a walk-on at Philadelphia University in 1990, leaving the team four years later as starting point guard and the school’s record-holder for assists. After almost 10 years in sales, first for a pharmaceutical company and later for his family’s print and copy business, Chambers turned his extracurricular coaching stints into a steady paycheck, ending up as associate head coach at Villanova for five years. He saw the Wildcats make the NCAA tournament four times, including a spot in the Final Four. In his first year with the Terriers last year, Chambers propelled the squad to the America East finals for the first time since 2003, stamping their season with a 21-14 record, BU’s first 20-win season since 2004.

Chambers’ players also know that their coach has an eye on qualities that can’t be numbered or parsed into columns.

“If you fly home for a couple of days, he’s calling to make sure that you’re spending time with your family,” says guard Darryl Partin (MET’12). “That’s what really surprised me about Coach Chambers. He called my mother when I went home for Christmas break and made sure that I was staying in the house with my mother and father.”

Family is a driving force in Chambers’ life. He hails from a robust clan, to say the least. He is the youngest of 12 brothers and sisters.

“To be part of a large family is the most amazing thing ever,” he says. “I couldn’t imagine not being a part of it. I get emotional thinking about it because I miss them. They’re just great people.”

Most of the Chambers siblings still live in the Philadelphia area, where they grew up. They keep in close touch and always gather for the Christmas holidays, along with a burgeoning brood of nieces and nephews, more than 25 at last count. Many of the siblings still work for the family business, Chambers & Sons. “I broke away from the family,” Chambers says with a smile. But his upbringing has come in handy on the basketball court.

“I’m able to deal with different personalities and able to feel comfortable in front of people,” he says. “What my brothers and family have passed down is leadership. And this is a job that demands leadership.”

Another Chambers sibling is in construction, putting in basketball gym floors among other things, and took on his kid brother during the summers, starting when Patrick was eight years old. “That part taught me my work ethic, getting down on my hands and knees and swinging the hammer with grown men and feeling the calluses and the knees and the bad back.”

Today, Chambers and his wife, Courtney, have a seven-month-old and a two-year-old and are considering a few more—but no, not a dozen, he says with a laugh. The family lives in Brookline, which allows Chambers to sneak home for lunch and spend more time with his kids in the mornings and evenings.

“If I didn’t live close that might be a major problem,” he says. “I don’t know that I could do this job at a higher level. I like to think I work very hard, but I want to be a great father.”

Chambers learned that lesson the hard way last year. As the rookie coach of a veteran squad, he felt he had a lot to prove—and to deliver—his first season and admits he was holding both ends of the candle in one hand and a blowtorch in the other.

“I got the most amazing email from Valdas,” Chambers recalls. “He’s in the hospital and he wrote, ‘Everyone around me is so upset and thinks it’s the end of the world. But they don’t know the power of attitude, the power of my attitude. It’s not the end of the world, everything is going to be fine. I know I can be successful at other things. Because you taught me what attitude is, and that I’m in control of my attitude.’”

It’s those kind of stories that has Chambers still shaking his head that he’s at BU, not only among the school’s deep traditions and history, but with its everyday human narrative and quiet achievements.

“BU has an unbelievable academic reputation, it’s in this amazing city, has a great basketball program,” he says. “All these buildings are great—Agganis, FitRec, StuVi2—but it doesn’t touch the people.”

Watch the video above for a behind-the-scenes look at Chambers on game day. Courtesy of BU Athletics.

The Terriers begin a three-game home stand tomorrow, February 12, against Hartford at Case Gym. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. They face UMBC on Monday, February 15, at 7:30 p.m. and Canisius College on Saturday, February 19, at 2 p.m., both at Agganis Arena.

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at [email protected].

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Procensis Simplifies Warehouse Logistics With Wearable Scanning

Beyond its devastating health impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic’s social effects — including social distancing and stay-at-home orders — have thrown a wrench into millions of people’s daily lives.

It has also accelerated consumers’ transition to shopping online rather than in person. Consumers forced to stay at home or limit their in-store purchases to essential items rapidly increased their adoption of e-commerce, ordering a plethora of goods online for home delivery. It’s a trend that isn’t likely to reverse once the pandemic subsides and we emerge into whatever the “new normal” will be.

How warehouse operations weather COVID-19

Retailers and their warehousing and fulfillment operations are caught in the crosshairs of this dramatic shift, as are the technologies, labor and work site procedures for stocking goods, managing inventories and fulfilling orders.

“Prior to e-commerce, warehouses for the most part dealt with products in bulk, building pallets and moving cases of goods to retail locations,” explains Ed Kennedy, founder and chief executive of Procensis, which for nearly six years has provided innovative enterprise mobility solutions combining the latest devices and collaboration tools for distribution centers. “The rise in e-commerce has changed that. Workers today are picking far more ‘eaches,’ or much smaller, individual orders, often one or two items to a box.”

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The explosion in online ordering during the pandemic has accelerated that trend, says Kennedy. “It’s dramatically changed the layout of warehouse workflows, how pickers perform their tasks, and the devices and technologies which support them. Then you have to account for the virus, which has brought new challenges and responsibilities to keep workers safe.”

Maintaining high-velocity, high-turn e-commerce

Procensis has stepped up to the challenge, partnering with Samsung, ProGlove and Ivanti Wavelink to deliver a new bundled solution for warehouse picking operations and management. The solution combines technologies and devices uniquely suited for today’s high-velocity e-commerce environment — and supports the heightened health and safety needs of essential warehouse workers.

The bundle includes two hardware components: the durable Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone, and the ProGlove MARK Display wearable scanner.

The units are integrated together through Ivanti Velocity software, which also provides the connecting interface through the wireless network to the warehouse management system (WMS).

Kennedy says the solution can be implemented remotely, putting the devices in workers’ hands — ready to use — in as little as five days.

The necessary volumes and fulfillment velocity of e-commerce orders demand devices that are wearable and durable and workflows that allow totally hands-free operations.

“Everyone wants hands-free wearable technology in the warehouse,” explains Kennedy. “It enables higher pick productivity and safety. The worker has both hands free for tasks such as climbing a ladder or operating a forklift.”

The ProGlove scanner, combined with the ProGlove Connect Proximity app running on the Samsung smartphone, can also help operations adhere to their new safety protocols, Kennedy adds. If an employee gets within approximately 6-ft. of another worker, they receive an alert reminding them to follow social distancing guidelines.

How it works

The Galaxy XCover Pro is mounted onto a cart or forklift. The ProGlove scanner, which also has a small display, is mounted on back of the worker’s hand through an ergonomic wrap with a thumb-operated trigger. The ProGlove device continually communicates with the Samsung smartphone via Bluetooth, receiving pick instructions displayed on the screen, transmitting pick completion when the trigger is engaged and then directing the worker to the next pick bin and item. The scanner unit is detachable and can be sanitized at the end of each shift.

The Ivanti Velocity software, powered by Wavelink, serves as the solution’s convergence point, as well as supporting overarching operations, providing a unified HTML user interface, worker feedback integration and device-side business process extensions, all without requiring WMS modification.

“The ProGlove displays on its screen the specific task at that moment,” says Kennedy. “The worker’s eyes are kept forward, both hands are free. It’s not too much different than wearing a watch.”

It’s a far superior tool, faster and safer than the old “brick on a stick” RF scanner and keyboard — which, Kennedy notes, requires the user to repeatedly pick up and put down the hand-held scanner and enter information on a small keypad.

Staying ahead of the wave

E-commerce volumes are only going to increase. As operators are dealing with COVID-19 health protection needs and a shortage of warehouse workers, keeping the workers they do have productive, efficient and safe is paramount. Today’s solutions demand fast installation, intuitive training, quick ramp-up and seamless operations. Collaborative bundles that combine proven, durable devices, enabling technology and process intelligence — like that provided by Procensis, Ivanti Wavelink, Samsung and ProGlove — will keep warehouses and their employees ahead of the e-commerce wave.

Find out more about the Procensis integrated warehouse solution, and learn how to build a more efficient warehouse with this free guide.

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