Considerations & Peripherals for Mobile Apps

For successful use of aACE mobile apps, it's vital to envision how your personnel will interact with the app and where they will use it. Work situations can be very different, so each setup requires planning for the optimal solution. In other words, even when the app itself is very usable, if the devices or location are not considered, your personnel may struggle to use the app successfully. Also, please note that warehouse management is a complex field, so while we are happy to assist, we cannot provide detailed recommendations.

For example, when deploying the barcode scanner mobile app, the environment where the scanning will be done affects your choice of device to use:

  • Low-volume, office environments — In these situations, an iPad / iPhone native camera might be effective with the mobile app. This benefit partly arises from the iPhone being small enough for use with one hand. 
  • High-volume, industrial environments — These situations often benefit from a durable, Bluetooth scanner, paired with an iPad. This setup allows you to hold the iPad with one hand and scan with the other. The scanner often runs faster than iPad processing and can be less cumbersome to aim, which brings additional efficiency to your work.
  • Barcodes on the shelf or on product packaging — If the codes that need to be scanned are on the actual products, a scanner that simplifies targeting the barcode can make the work much easier.
  • Mobile or stationary environments — If your personnel will be walking around the facility, then a small, lightweight device may be most effective. In contrast, a stationary scanner can ensure that the device is always on-hand when different people need to access it.

Getting Started with Barcode Scanning Solutions

Scanning technology includes an overwhelming number of solutions; it is impossible to offer specific recommendations for your exact needs. 

To get started, you can print barcodes from aACE, then use an iPad / iPhone camera and FileMaker native scanning — this approach minimizes costs and lets you immediately start working with the aACE mobile apps. You can print barcodes from aACE using CODE 128, a linear barcode that is supported by most scanners. To generate these codes, organize the Line Item Codes module list view to show the items you want barcodes for (e.g. a list of line item codes), click Print > Open Report Selector > Avery or Thermal barcode options. 

By default, the barcode field is populated with the underlying aACE record ID. You can update these barcodes to the numbering system that works best for each item.

This quick-start can also give you a better sense of the scanning equipment your organization will need for an ideal solution.

2. Wasp USB Barcode Scanner

aACE mobile apps have been fully tested using this device.

In order to operate the Wasp USB Barcode Scanner with iPad, an Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit is required. With both devices, the USB scanner can be plugged directly into the iPad and then acts as keyboard entry when items are scanned. The main disadvantage to this method is that when the USB scanner is plugged in, the iPad virtual keyboard is inoperable. To use the virtual keyboard, the USB scanner must be unplugged.

Socket Mobile Bluetooth Scanners

Compatibility with Socket Mobile devices and aACE mobile apps has been thoroughly verified. An outstanding feature they provide is the ability to easily switch between the USB scanner and your device's virtual keyboard. These scanners includes a toggle that turns off the scanner, activating the virtual keyboard so you can key in notes or other details.

Note: Socket Mobile does not offer resources for generating barcodes.

Barcode Options

If you want to print barcodes outside of aACE (e.g. a barcode font, tamper-evident labels, software to generate custom barcodes, or even digital labels that can be used in lieu of printing), make sure that your scanner supports the type of barcode you want to use. For example, QR, datamatrix, PDF417, and Aztec codes are becoming more common; however, these codes often require a scanner specifically designed to read them.

Additional Equipment

Other options for installing a scanning device include:

  • Mounting brackets to fix the device to a wall
  • Modular arms and clamps to secure the device in the best position on a tabletop or mobile workstation
  • Shoulder straps to keep the device easily accessible while moving through a warehouse
  • Hand straps that can also secure the device on a person's forearm (This frees both hands for working with inventory objects, while the scanner is small enough to still use your fingers for working on the app.)
  • Mounting plates, cases, or wire racks to attach the device to transportation tools (e.g. utility carts, hand trucks / dollies, hand pallet jacks, etc)

Data Syncing

aACE mobile apps work offline, not using a real-time connection to your live data. Storing necessary data with the app minimizes data transfer, which enables the app to be more responsive. This is especially true for situations where connectivity is less robust (e.g. using an app in a warehouse or during air travel).