The future of barcode scanning is wearable. Why? Because scanning becomes more efficient overall, is safer for workers, and reduces disruptions to workflows. There is a lot of agreement among competing producers on the topic of wearables. Ultimately, the only question is: Ring scanner on the fingers or glove scanner on the back of the hand? Where does the wearable scanner belong?? These are the two basic alternatives for higher volume scanning situations. (For lower volume, look to the Reel for a wearable scanner on a lanyard or belt clip.)
Ring scanner – the potentially awkward option
Ring scanner sounds nice – it evokes in the mind something small and minimalist. The reality, however, is different. Because you don’t actually wear this wearable scanner like a ring. Rather, you have to buckle this comparatively bulky device on to one or two fingers. The feeling can be akin to a medical splint that immobilizes the fingers. Accordingly, users will complain about the lack of comfort with this device.
However, criticism by users goes even further. Another weakness often cited, especially in older models: The ring scanner must be connected to another component via a cable in order to establish the connection to the company network. This cable is not only unpleasant, the tethering also restricts the freedom of movement. Newer models now support Bluetooth which addresses this issue.
A final challenge: short battery life. With a ring scanner the wearer will likely need to swap batteries in the middle of a shift at least once, perhaps twice, per shift. This increases the bulk of materials that must be tracked or carried. This affects workplace inventory, the user experience and, worse still, the disruption to workflows to change batteries which will interrupt or delay essential processes.
Glove scanner – the smarter option
Compared to the immobilized fingers of the ring scanner, the back of the hand is an ideal place for the wearable scanner. This surface is rarely used for most manual activities. With the ProGlove Index Trigger hand wrap, the hands and fingers remain free and unimpeded. Further, the wrap may be worn over any kind of work glove to provide proper hand protection for the day’s work. The worker can use hands easily for grabbing items, gripping boxes, driving a forklift, handling frozen goods, moving a ladder or even breaking a fall. This is not really the case with a ring scanner or a traditional handheld scanner.
The back of the hand is the perfect platform for the scanning device. ProGlove has become the preferred standard for this wearable option. There are a number of advantages to ProGlove’s patented configuration which places the scan engine at the back of the hand and the trigger for scanning right by the thumb. The design engineers created this design in consideration of every aspect of the human worker and common logistics and industrial workflows. There is attention to detail in the design of the entire ProGlove MARK family of wearable scanners.
Lightweight wireless wearable workhorse
The matchbox-sized ProGlove devices are the slimmest and lightest barcode scanners on the market. At about 40 grams, they are significantly lighter than most scanners including some ring scanners. Only in this way, however, do the ergonomic advantages of the wearable scanners fully unfold. Compared to a traditional handheld scanner, which can be 10x the weight, in the course of a regular shift a worker could be lifting the equivalent weight of a small car. Day after day this can take a toll on the body.
There is also a clear advantage to the built-in rechargeable battery of the ProGlove scanner. When new, the ProGlove MARK 2 scanner can handle 10,000 scans per charge. This corresponds to about three entire shifts in a row, depending on location and usage patterns. A shift never needs never to be interrupted again in the hunt for a battery replacement on a spent ring scanner. MARK wearable scanners fully recharge in 2 hours which is sufficiently fast for an overnight recharge. ProGlove’s wearable scanners work wirelessly, connecting to networks either via RF or Bluetooth Low Energy. There are now awkward cables to connect to the network.
Users appreciate the approach of ProGlove’s wearable barcode scanner vs the ring scanner. More than 95 percent of those who’ve tried on the MARK recommend it. This was the case, for example, at Intersport. During the pilot phase to test the device, employees argued over the one wearable scanner until everyone got their own. It was obvious to everyone at that moment that it was the right solution for comfort and productivity.
To test one with your team to optimize your own operations, schedule a demo.