ROI of the Mobile Worker

Over the past several months, I’ve been listening to the way customers describe their return on mobility investments.  The answers are impressive.  Answers range from increases in worker speed of task completion, to task accuracy, to month to recognize complete return on dollar investments, reductions in man-hours for cyclical process completions, reductions in seasonal headcounts, reductions in worker training time, and more.  The measurements of return on mobility investment are impressive percentages and yield significant dollar-value savings to each of the companies I’ve heard from.

What is really interesting is how companies can measure their return on investment in such vast and different ways. In some cases, the measure is dollars saved by reducing errors.  In others, it is increased shipments that yield additional dollars per package shipped.  In still others, the savings is recognized by a reduction in seasonal labor, or less worker hours dedicated to completing a specific task.  Whatever the measurement, there are two things that remain true: Every measurement ties to a dollar-value savings that can prove a mathematical return on investment for the dollars spent enabling mobility.  Even more importantly, the measurement each company used to describe their ROI told far more about the problem each was attempting to solve.

Enterprises deploy mobility to achieve a higher level of productivity, but it is not done just Warehouse worker using mobile devicefor the sake of using mobile technology. There is an underlying pain that the company is trying to address – some way of improving a process to gain efficiency, or to recognize a cost savings.  There is a problem to be solved by deploying mobility – and one recommended approach to begin defining the best mobility solution is to start with an operations audit that can help find the weaknesses and inefficiencies in current processes.  By adding automation and voice-enablement, Speakeasy has consistently shown productivity gains for mobile supply chain workers of over 35%. That’s like getting an extra day of productivity from every worker – for every three days worked. Now that’s a fast ROI!

What problems are you aiming to solve with mobility in your enterprise? What measurements are you tracking to determine ROI?  Email me with your objectives at:

Myths about Voice ROI

For customers who have voice applications from traditional voice vendors, implementation can seem like an odyssey – complete with months of continuous project costs resulting in a start to finish ranging from six months to two years in some cases. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Remember that song that you can’t stand to hear, but you know the words by heart?  Even though you sing it through gritted teeth, you know the song, and it becomes stuck in your head and it just won’t go away.  Frustrating isn’t it?  For companies considering adding voice to their mission-critical mobile applications, the stories from traditional voice vendors are just like that old song: implementation takes several months, and if an ROI can be justified at all, it can only be proven for a single task.  Mythology is best kept for classic literature and not for voice technology.

For customers who have voice applications from traditional voice vendors, implementation can seem like an odyssey – complete with months of continuous project costs resulting in a start to finish ranging from six months to two years in some cases.  Traditional voice providers have established the myth that voice is very specialized technology – difficult to implement and costly to modify.  Their myths also suggest that once you’ve selected a voice provider, it is even more expensive to switch or use another system for a different task.

Voice-enablement can be a very beneficial part of a mission-critical mobility solution, providing task workers with a heads-up and hands-free option for data capture when using a keyboard or holding a barcode scanner is inconvenient or otherwise sub-optimal (many task workers benefit from a solution that uses all these methods where each makes sense).  However, voice-enabled mobile applications are being deployed in 30 days or less – thanks to Wavelink Speakeasy.

For real customers around the world, Speakeasy is breaking down the myths, and proving to be the fastest and most cost-effective way to voice-enable mobile applications.  These customers are witnessing how Wavelink is re-defining voice.  There’s no compromise in the capabilities of Speakeasy – it’s twenty-first Century voice technology, leveraging the capabilities of enterprise mobile devices while reducing the complexity of implementation.  Speakeasy is proof that voice-enabled mobile applications that are fully features, easily deployed, and financially viable with quantifiable ROI are not myths.

If your company in considering voice-enabling mobile applications to increase the productivity of task workers, even if you’ve already deployed traditional voice for specific applications, contact Wavelink – you’ll get facts, not myths.

Finding Your Voice

We’ve been using key-based commands to operate technology for several decades. However, in the past few years, we’ve finally been able to make commands to some technologies with just the sound of our on voices

The human voice is a powerful thing.  Sure, the spoken word is our most common means of communication, but these days it’s giving us a bit more.  Think about your daily routine, and the tasks you ask of others – straightforward, clear commands (we politely call them “requests”).  Now think about how we speak with the technology that surrounds us.  That’s right. How do you speak with technology?

We’ve been using key-based commands to operate technology for several decades.  However, in the past few years, we’ve finally been able to make commands to some technologies with just the sound of our on voices.  For me, the most common experience sounds like this:

Me: “Dial by number.”

Car: “Say the number.”

Me:  “631-555-1212.”

Car: “631-555-1212.”

Me: “Dial.”

Car: “Dialing.”

I couldn’t wait to finally get a car that could connect with my phone so I could get high-quality, hands-free voice.  I had been the route of using my phone in speakerphone mode and then tried the Bluetooth speakerphone, but neither delivered what I had hoped.  Finally, when I was selecting a new car, I not only was able to use voice commands to place the call, but to configure the system.  It took me a few steps to get through the hurdles of an evolving technology, but it eventually became easy to use, inexpensive to implement, and high quality.

In the consumer world, voice is showing up in more ways – especially in our mobile phones.  What have you asked Siri to do?  Apple’s well-marketed voice command utility for the iPhone demonstrates some of the potential.  Even beyond Siri, voice solutions abound on the device.  My preference is to use the microphone button on the iPhone’s keyboard to dictate my responses to the texts I receive.  This gets me out of trying to thumb type and is a quick, convenient way to respond.  It’s speech to text in a basic, consumer application.

In the enterprise, voice is enabling employees in a mission-critical work environment to expedite data capture while ensuring both worker safety and information accuracy.  Just like my quest for an optimal hands-free system in my car, businesses have had to work through the evolutionary stages of voice solutions.  There was the early stage where voice recognition engines weren’t very robust and often struggled with various accents.  That phase was replaced by a longer period where voice recognition engines began to improve, but deploying a voice solution required expensive, proprietary hardware and middleware integration.

During this phase of the evolution, voice system providers were forced into the role of application developer.  Their middleware was so intertwined with the operation of the overall application (WMS, etc.) that whenever the business needed to change their operations process or make any other changes to their application, they’d need the involvement of their voice solution provider.  According to a study by the Aberdeen Group released in early 2012, having to engage the voice provider in these modifications would cause delays in the implementation of changes.  A combined 79% of Aberdeen’s voice user respondents indicated that they would either delay changes until a sizable batch could be implemented at once to justify the ROI (42%), or they would ultimately decide not to make any changes because the cost to have the vendor make the changes was too high (37%).  To summarize, these businesses were either delaying or outright declining improvements to day-to-day operations because of a single provider in their solution.  Each day, they were losing efficiency because their voice solution was inflexible.  Clearly, there has to be further evolution in this market.

Incorporating voice technology into mission-critical applications is becoming easier.  Thirty-five percent of the respondents in Aberdeen’s study expressed their desire to get away from expensive, proprietary voice devices.  Voice is entering the next generation, where it can simply sit atop of an existing application – disengaging the voice provider from application changes.  No longer is expensive middleware and proprietary hardware required.  Businesses can now adopt voice the way they imagined:

  • Simple to use
  • Easy to deploy
  • Great performance
  • Available on a wide variety of mobile computing devices

Like the voice commands I can use to setup and dial my phone from my car, voice-enabling mission-critical business application has finally become a satisfying experience.   If your company is ready to get out of a proprietary voice solution, or if you’ve looked at voice in the past and found it to be too expensive, we encourage you to look again.  Our Wavelink Speakeasy voice technology is all about removing the complexity from voice applications.  Best of all, many customers are able to have their Speakeasy systems up and running in 30-days.

Learn more about Speakeasy technology and learn how voice technology can benefit your organization.