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Many companies have deployed mobile printers in the field with only Bluetooth connections, and to manage or monitor them remotely is a challenge. However, with Bluetooth Printer Management(BPM) we have solved this issue. Now, printers can connect through these new two Android Utility Apps(Bluetooth Connector & Connection Manager) available for downloading from Google Play Store. Once the printer is connected to BPM, a gateway will be enabled between the printer(s) and Profile Manager Enterprise(PME) or SOTI MobiControl.

 

Main Features Include:

 

      • Easy Tap and Pair Connection
        • Simple Bluetooth pairing
        • Enable the user to quickly connect to any printer
      • Visibility to Your Bluetooth Connected Printers
        • See Alerts indicating printer status, including media out, head open, battery low
        • Proactively prevent issues that cause downtime
        • Monitor and troubleshoot printer issues
      • Manage Bluetooth Devices in the Field
        • Transfer objects to printers in the field
        • Fast deployment direct from your MDM
        • Keep your entire printer fleet at the latest software level

 

How it works:

 

BTManagement.png

Additional information can be found here:

Bluetooth Printer Management Product Page, Bluetooth Connector & Connection Manager

Profile Manager Enterprise

SOTI MobiControl & SOTI MobiControl Connector

We heard our customers and partners, and we’re excited to announce the new Zebra ZQ320 series Mobile Printer. This powerful, efficient, fast and recharged Link-OS mobile printer, includes exciting new features for a competitive price. The new ZQ320 series will replace the IMZ320 series and comes in two models for 3” – ZQ320(Indoors & Outdoors).

New features include:

  • Support now all media types: Receipt, Labels, Linerless.
  • Printers can awake from WIFI. They include the latest wireless connectivity (802.11ac and BT 4.0 (BR, EDR) LE, as well as keeping our Print-Touch (NFC) quick connection capability and MFI support.
  • Charging via USB (Type C connector).
  • Heavier Duty Design, IP54, 5ft drop and 500 tumbles.
  • Printer is wider to support metric media widths in both models: ZQ320 3.15” (80mm)
  • New ergonomic and functional design with new buttons, and led indicators for WIFI/BT connectivity, and for warning/errors.

 

The new Zebra ZQ320 Series Mobile printer is built with our powerful Link-OS Operating system and is fully compatible with our Print DNA Environment for the development and integration of your applications. Review the links below for more detail.

 

Print DNA

Link-OS SDK

Link-OS Tools and Utilities

Zebra wants to anticipate the market needs and respond accordingly to latest technology trends by developing solutions that can support and anticipate customers’ demands. IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Robotics and Data analytics are a few of the most important trends that we will be seeing in the market in the next few years. Many of these technologies want to optimize processes and activities, increasing productivity for end-users and companies.

 

Link-OS is the operating system of the new Zebra printers; this smart OS supports many of these new trends.  The question that arises is how to be more Productive with Link-OS? Let’s try to respond this question with one of the uses cases that explain this new concept.

 

One of the more important variables that you can use to predict trends or to be more productive are the odometers. The odometers help to control the media consumption and print head lifetime.

 

The link-OS printers come with sixteen (16) odometer variables. Let’s review some of them.

“odometer.cut_marker_count” returns the number of cuts incurred.

“odometer.headclean” counts how many inches and centimeters have passed through the Printhead of the printer.

“odometer.headnew” counts how many inches and centimeters have passed since the head was last replaced. 

“odometer.media_marker_count” counts how many labels have passed through the printer by counting the bar sense marks.

“odometer.media_marker_count(1)(2)” are two resettable counters. each one counts how much media has passed through the printer in both inches and centimeters.

“odometer.total_print_length” returns the total length of all media over the life of the printer.

 

You can review the details of the utility of each odometer in the ZPL Programming Guide. The interesting point here is that by using a combination of them, you can define how much media you spend every day/week/month or year.  For example, with the media marker count, you can set up daily counters for media, so you can capture this information on a regular basis, and define some predictable behaviors of the customers. Also, with the odometer.headclean and headnew, you can predict when the printhead needs to be replaced. With the odometers.rfid.void  and rfid.valid, you could define how many tags are being printing correctly, and how many are lost because of a bad calibration or bad quality of the tag. Depending on the numbers obtained, it can tell you when the printer needs a new calibration or when to change the tags.

 

I hope this blog has been useful to define how to work with odometers. It is only an introduction to the topic. You will need to play several times to define the best way to use these variables. Also, you will need to define triggers based on your previous experience of the processes. There is not a precise way to suggest when you need to activate the triggers, but it should give you that tool that maybe you were seeking to predict behaviors of your customers, set up actions, and improve productivity. The odometers can be used with our Cloud Connect Link-OS Technology through web-sockets, so it makes easy IoT implementation.  Feel free to ask questions about this amazing topic, we will be here to try to answer them.

 

We will be reviewing additional use cases to be more productive with Link-OS in our APPFORUM event series. You’re invited to Zebra’s APPFORUM 2017; a forum where tech leaders and developers focused on building and deploying enterprise solutions, build knowledge, exchange ideas and network with peers. Please, join us to our next event at Prague from Jun 14th through Jun 16th followed by Shanghai, China and Asia – Melbourne, Australia. For more info, please, click here.

It’s been a long journey since Zebra launched ISV PartnerConnect last April, promoting a new integrated program that includes many new benefits for our ISV Partners.

 

The App Locator tool allows Zebra ISV partners to register their applications directly in our new Enterprise Ecosystem for Zebra Apps.  The tool was launched this past November. In this blog, we’ll review how to use the new App Locator tool for validation. The app notifies us when a new ISV partner app has been registered and when it needs to be certificated.

 

Not a registered partner? We want to you to be part of our Zebra PartnerConnect program! The registration is a free fee process and you’ll need only 10 to 15 minutes of your time to complete the registration. All ISVs are welcome to participate.

 

Being part of our Zebra Partner Connect program enhances your possibilities to promote your apps and solutions to customers. You can grow with a closer relationship, and with powerful financial benefits that recognize your valuable collaboration with Zebra. We have developed tools that enhance the visibility of your applications such as App Locator and AppGallery, connecting you with new customers and augmenting marketing efforts.  You’ll have priority access to our team of developers, software architects and ISV technical support for any new software project that you want to integrate and validate with our products.

 

You can review our PartnerConnect program in more detail here, and, if you are interested in registering you can do it here.

 

If you are already one of our ISV partners, you are invited to use App Locator tool to register all your apps. You are also invited to achieve additional milestones with Zebra, such as how to get your app tested and validated, resulting in an increased visibility for your apps and your company.

 

You will need to register your app in App Locator. New changes were integrated into the ISV partner profile account, so you will need to log into your PartnerConnect account.

 

Congratulations!! You have achieved the first milestone with App Locator and have successfully registered your app in our new Enterprise Ecosystem for Zebra Apps.

Fig 1.

 

The second step is to have your app validated by Zebra.

 

During this process, we’ll evaluate your App against Zebra’s best practices, and compatibility with Zebra devices. We’ll provide a simple test template to follow and complete.  We’ll test your App in our Zebra Lab directly or virtually. Once the App passes all tests, you’ll receive a Zebra validation certificate (Fig 1). The final step is to update the App status in our App Locator as the Fig 2 shows, signifying your second milestone achievement.

 

Fig 2.

 

We are excited to share with you these new tools that make easy you interact with us. We want you to increase visibility and enjoy of the benefits by validating your app. Please, follow this link, and complete the Nomination Form request for starting the certification of your app. A Zebra Engineer will contact you and guide you through this process.  The app does not need to be completed to request validation. The Zebra Engineer will work with you directly advising you on a better way of getting your app fully integrated with Zebra products and finally certificated. When you are filling out the form, please, add all Zebra devices you are using with your app; Scanners, Mobile Computers or Printers.

 

Don’t miss the chance to get free visibility on Zebra.com, which attracts more than 20,000 visitors each day. Start tapping the power of the Partner and Application Locator to boost visibility and drive more leads today! To learn more—including how to update your listings—review our Frequently Asked Questions.

 

As ISV partner or non ISV partner, you’re invited to Zebra’s APPFORUM 2017; a forum where tech leaders and developers focused on building and deploying enterprise solutions, build knowledge, exchange ideas and network with peers. We’ll host four events, kicking off with our AMERICAS event at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas from May 9th through May 11th, 2017., followed by Europe – Prague, Czech Republic, Asia – Shanghai, China, and Asia – Melbourne, Australia.    Registration is now open for the AMERICAS event. For more info, please, click here.

Continuing the conversation on Link-OS 4.0 updates, let’s review Security, Connectivity, and Flexibility features included with this release, to ensure we provide the best in class experience to our partners and end-users.

 

First up are the security options that were launched with Link 4.0. With the goal to meet privacy best practices, we added a new capability of our Link-OS printers to support SHA2 certificates. SHA1 certificates will be supported until Zebra releases Link-OS 5.0.

 

Within Connectivity several changes and improvements were made to WLAN, Bluetooth, Mirror and ZBI. Under wireless network connectivity, WI-FI roaming and protected management Frames (PMF) were improved to provide a more robust data transmission capability.

 

For Bluetooth connectivity, the printer is capable of avoiding Bluetooth’s interruptions during network reset. In Dual Radio printers, the Bluetooth radio is activated by default or when the WLAN has been turned off.

 

The Mirror system of the Link-OS printers also was updated in this release with new features supporting IIS7 and FileZilla servers. The first capability returns codes 125 and 150, including Time and Date stamping, which is normally required for the mentioned servers.  Also, optimization was completed to thefirmware updating” feature through these servers to avoid conflicts, and to speed up the data transference.

 

Two additional updates were applied and implemented to ZBI and RFID. The former, socket connections, were improved to avoid endless connection when running ZBI programs. The latter, RFID printers, now, support Monza 6 tags. Also, "RFID avoid" was removed to be used again during lower-than-configured darkness set up.

 

For flexibility, Zebra is trying to build the Link-OS printers more friendly, useful and accessible to end-users.  Zebra engineers looked for ways to provide a better UX experience. A Front-Panel Counter will display the number of labels printed. This new feature can be enabled through of one of the new SGD commands.

 

! U1 setvar "display.batch_counter" "enabled"

To respond and meet partner and customer requirements, Zebra Included 20 new SGD commands in the new firmware. The most important commands included are:  retrieve print head dpi, keeping the Clock and certificates aligned, Data capture and visibility agent control.  For the full list of commands and implementation, please refer to release notes of the firmware on each Web-Link-OS printer-page.

 

In future blogs, we’ll review all these new features in detail to share the best practices during implementation. Feel free to contact us for more information.

Zebra has designed a set of tools to help partners, developers and end users take advantage of the features that each Zebra printer has to offer. These tools are downloaded for free and commonly used during the integration process, or during daily tasks.

 

Tools, such as ZebraDesigner or Zebra Setup utilities (ZSU), do an automatic installation of the driver when the printer is connected to the computer and the printer is detected. When the driver is installed in the PC, the driver normally does a quick check of the printer and it determines the installation of the default driver based on the default control language of the printer. Depending on the type of printer, these languages can be defaulted to ZPL, CPCL, LINE_PRINT, EPL, etc.   

 

The purpose of this blog is to let our audience know how important it is to match the languages in the app with the driver and the printer.

 

When a user connects the ZQ510/520 printer to the computer, ZebraDesigner or ZSU will install the driver of this printer to work with CPCL, which also supports the LINE_PRINT mode.  This scenario determines that when a user is working with ZebraDesigner, the tool will generate labels based on CPCL. In addition, if a user needs to download a font, the tool will work in CPCL. Fonts downloaded in CPCL have extensions in CPF.

 

If, for example, a user needs to print in ZPL and the driver is in CPCL, the driver will not recognize the fonts. The same situation occurs if a user wants to download CPCL fonts with a ZPL driver; the fonts will be not recognized. ZPL fonts usually have extensions in TTF.

 

In graphics 1 and 2, the screenshots depict how a user can select the print control language of the driver for a printer like ZQ510 (CPCL) or ZQ510 (ZPL).

 

It is important to highlight here that the Zebra Link-OS SDK does not allow doing the same selection mentioned above. When an instance of communication with the printer is initiated, it will be capturing the default language of the printer. In the case of the ZQ510, it should always be defaulted to LINE_PRINT.  If a developer is sending commands in ZPL, the commands will not be executed by the printer. To avoid this type of confusion, we recommend that our developers to set up the language to ZPL or LINE_PRINT before sending print jobs in order to assure the correct functionality of the printer. Developers can make this type of configuration by using SGD commands.

 

The new Zebra mobile printers (except ZQ110) allow two language configuration options. These options, explained below, can be set up through a direct SGD command or the SDK’s libraries methods.

 

hybrid_xml_zpl: When the printer is configured with this option, it supports both types of control printing language CPCL and ZPL.

 

LINE_PRINT: When the printer is configured with this option, it supports only LINE_PRINT and CPCL.

 

ZPL – Printing Language set up:

 

! U1 setvar "device.languages" "zpl"

 

Same command in Android:

 

SGD.SET("device.languages", "zpl", connection);

or

SGD.SET("device.languages", "hybrid_xml_zpl", connection);

 

In Legacy printers like RW420 – ZPL is in uppercase.

 

! U1 setvar "device.languages" "ZPL"

 

Same command in Android:

 

SGD.SET("device.languages", "ZPL", connection);

 

CPCL  - Printing language set up:

 

In Legacy printers like RW420 – CPCL is in uppercase.

 

! U1 setvar "device.languages" "CPCL"

 

Same Command in Android:

 

SGD.SET("device.languages", "CPCL", connection);

 

Line_print – Printing language set up:

 

! U1 setvar "device.languages" "line_print"

 

Same Command in Android:

 

SGD.SET("device.languages", "line_print", connection);

 

Graphic1.jpg

Graphic 1.

Graphic2.jpg

Graphic 2.

 

Note 1: Use of TrueType or other non-Zebra purchased fonts require licensing and it is the responsibility of the user to acquire permission for use in the printer.

 

Note 2: The ZT/ZD/ZQ printers do not support .FNT font files. Use the Zebra Setup Utilities or ZebraNet Bridge to convert and upload the proper fonts (TTF) to the printer.

 

We recommend the Zebra Setup Utility as an option for converting and downloading Fonts.

 

Download the Zebra Setup Utility. Read More>>

 

Converting a font using the Zebra Setup Utility Read More>>

 

MC

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