Small Devices in Big Data
Embedded systems have been used in industries for decades, but with the recent progress in ubiquitous computing, some more general purpose devices are able to fill these roles. Now, instead of having a single device to scan a barcode, one to accept payment, and another to display information to a user, it is possible to have a single device perform all of these functions and much more.
I recently had the opportunity to help develop such an application as part of a larger enterprise resource planning system called Kosmas. Kosmas allows it’s users to easily manage large amounts of data related to their business through the use of the FileMaker Platform and a cloud data storage system. The FileMaker Platform runs on Windows desktops and iOS devices. This allowed us to create a barcode/QR scanning system that uses the Apple iPad and iPhone to not only scan a barcode, but also instantly display any data related to that barcode and allow the user to modify that data.
The variety of tasks that the iPad/iPhone can now perform using only this simple barcode system interfacing with Kosmas is huge. Imagine a distribution center scheduled to receive a large shipment from another warehouse. Typically the driver arrives with a full truck and a long list of what is on that truck. That list then goes to someone who takes inventory and consolidates what they have with what they have received. Alternatively, with the barcode/QR scanning system in place, the distribution center could simply scan the code at the top of the truck’s manifest with the device already in their pocket and immediately know exactly what is on the truck. Moreover, they could then access the records of the trucks contents via Kosmas and dynamically assign them to locations, people, or other trucks. This is just one of many examples of how an everyday task can be streamlined using the devices that we already carry around in our pockets.