Fred Meyers needed an RF data collection system for use in their main warehouse and retail stores. They needed host computer to directly control the prompting on RF handheld terminals. Fred Meyer was on the verge of implemented a solution offered by a competitor. Telxon had an existing system but it was too slow and it was implemented in a proprietary programming language. Fred Meyer needed a faster system implemented in an standard programming language.
Telxon Corporation (Anaheim, CA)
Implemented an interactive RF system that allowed the host computer to dynamically control the prompting on the remote RF terminals. This system allowed Fred Meyer to write controlling software on the host system and not on the end devices. The system was modeled on the Telxon TRIPS (Telxon RF Interactive Prompting System) and was called C-TRIPS. The TRIPS system was implemented in a proprietary programming language and was too slow. The C-TRIPS version cut the response times by about 70% and offered more functionality.
The system worked like a very simple web server. C-TRIPS ran on the client RF terminal and interpreted and executed the host commands. The C-TRIPS client supported operations such as clearing lines/screen, prompting, edit masks and checks, audio/visual signals, data validation, bar code scanning operations, performing check digit validations (CDV), batch command download and execution, and device configuration.
Fred Meyer used the system for their warehouse operations as well as in-store price verification. The system was later adopted corporate-wide by Telxon and renamed “RF Express” (standard product offering). This system was responsible for a $3.5M initial order and was the first RF application installed in Fred Meyer. It was initially used in the warehouse and later used in the retail stores for Shelf Price Audit and other applications.
- Much faster and more functionality than the Telxon TRIPS system
- Used DOS and C programming language instead of proprietary platform
- No programming on the terminal – all programming on the host
- Very low overhead on the terminal
- Application cross-compiled for use on handheld and PC
- PC could run as an RF terminal in serial mode for development and debugging
- Telxon PTC-750 handheld terminal with narrowband radio (400 mHz range)
- Telxon DOS and with RAMSaver BIOS
- System included full user manual, code examples, and installation guide