Article Published: August 20, 2014
Article Published: August 20, 2014
Lucas Systems continues to up the innovation ante with the release of its Jennifer VoicePlus application on the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. So one could say the world’s go-to productivity solution for distribution center/warehouse workers just got a little smarter.
Jennifer VoicePlus is recognized as a top solution with its seamless use of voice direction, speech recognition, visual user interfaces and barcode scanning -- similar to smartphone applications, but delivered to-date only on industrial mobile computers.
“This new Jennifer VoicePlus solution for smartphones represents the next logical step in the evolution of our offering and in the continuation of our leadership in application innovation for the mobile worker in the warehouse,” says Jennifer Lachenman, VP of Product Strategy at Lucas Systems. “Smartphones are designed to support the use of voice, screen, and imaging, so they are a natural fit for Jennifer VoicePlus.”
Jennifer VoicePlus solutions support end-to-end warehouse processes, not just voice picking, and include the Serenade Speech Recognition Platform, which provides industrial-grade recognition quality across languages, diverse users and accents, and noisy industrial environments. Unlike consumer speech recognition products typically used on smartphones – which are prone to misrecognizing what people say, Serenade is specially designed to work in a noisy warehouse environment so that it recognizes users, even with loud conveyors and lift trucks in the background.
Lachenman says Lucas chose the Samsung Galaxy S4 as it is the world’s best-selling smartphone and includes a robust array of third-party accessories, support for Bluetooth headsets and barcode scanners, and enterprise security protocols that enable the device to be locked down.
Turning Jennifer VoicePlus into a smartphone app was no easy task. Matt Evans, Senior Software Engineer, says the work took more than a year. Evans and team started with the Jennifer VoicePlus core software and built the Android functionalities around it. For customers, the same Jennifer application can run on a Samsung smartphone or a traditional industrial mobile computer. Field testing began this spring and the solution will be generally available this summer.
Lucas will continue to deliver Jennifer voice applications on the widest possible range of industrial hardware platforms in addition to smartphones and other new mobile and wearable devices, says Evans.
Lachenman notes that the smartphone ecosystem is driving mobile technology innovation and new types of smart and durable wearable devices that create the possibility of even more powerful, productive warehouse applications in the future. As an example, at a recent industry tradeshow, Evans was demonstrating a prototype of a smart watch application that would give users visual tips as they work. Lucas will look at other smartphone platforms in the future, according Lachenman.
“Our goal, from the day we were founded, is to leverage the best-available technology to deliver application innovations that enable our customers to be as competitive as they can in their marketplaces, today and in the future,” says Lachenman.
Since 1998, Lucas Systems has pioneered warehouse productivity solutions for mobile workers and distribution center managers and boasts customers like Cardinal Health, the Container Store, C&S Wholesale Grocers, HD Supply, OfficeMax, Mondelez (formerly Kraft Nabisco) and Rust-Oleum to name a few.
The company is growing at a fast clip. It announced the expansion of its European operations to better support existing partners and customers, and to grow its install base of Jennifer VoicePlus users throughout Europe. Jeff Slevin, Chief Operating Officer, is heading up the expansion of Lucas Systems EMEA, with offices in High Wycombe, UK.
To fuel expansion in Pittsburgh and abroad, Lucas is always hiring engineering, software and related talent.
“I like working for a smaller company,” says Evans, who has been with Lucas for more than three years, after working at Motorola Mobility, the smartphone maker. “Every name has a face here. And you can make a really big impact, like leading up the smartphone project.”