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How to keep Zebra and Motorola barcode scanners up to date

If your business extensively uses barcode scanners, you shouldn’t be too surprised to see either a Zebra or Motorola logo feature on any of these devices you wield. That’s because, in recent years, both brands have been prominent in making barcode scanners.

In 2014, Zebra Technologies announced it was buying Motorola Solutions’ handheld unit, as TechCrunch reported at the time. So, some of your older scanners could be Motorola-branded — but this doesn’t necessarily mean that software updates will no longer be available for them.

How can you keep on top of software updates for Zebra scanners?

Here, the term ‘Zebra scanners’ can include Motorola scanners, too — as, today, those devices still in line for software updates will be supported by Zebra. Even if any particular Zebra or Motorola barcode scanner you own has been discontinued, it might still be supported today.

How can you find out either way? Simple — through using the Zebra website to subscribe to the Zebra Evolution Update for Scanners. For compatible devices, this delivers quarterly updates so that businesses can especially time-efficiently keep Zebra barcode scanners updated.

As a result of subscribing to the Zebra Evolution Update, you can receive quarterly notifications on firmware updates as well as bug fixes. However, there are two different means through which you can have software tweaks delivered to your scanners.


You could update barcode scanners via your PC 

Enhancements to your scanners’ onboard software can be made available through two distinct routes. One is Zebra’s 123Scan utility, the PC-based configuration tool that enables Zebra scanners to be set up quickly and easily.

You might be long past the setup stage for your own Zebra scanners, but also not have realised how much 123Scan simplifies the process of updating their firmware, too. From the Zebra website, 123Scan can be downloaded for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 10.

Another advantage of having this application installed is that it would be able to show you release notes for the latest updates supporting Zebra scanners.


Zebra barcode scanners can also be updated remotely 

It goes without saying that updating multiple barcode scanners over a wired connection to a PC could feel somewhat time-consuming. If your business has many different Zebra scanners in use, it would be convenient if you were able to update their firmware remotely.

Fortunately, you could do exactly that by drawing upon either Scanner Management Service (SMS) for Windows or Scanner Management Solution (SMS) for Linux.

The Zebra website explains how either version of SMS works: “A wizard helps you generate an SMS package. No need to learn any new network management tools. Simply use the ones you already have and know.”

For a computer running either Windows or Linux, the relevant SMS version can be downloaded via the Zebra website. Both SMS tools are examples of the various remote management applications that can be used for managing Zebra barcode scanners from a distance.


What if you are still struggling to update your Zebra scanners?

Have you found yourself repeatedly trying and failing to get the latest updates onto a Zebra scanner, even though you can’t figure out what you are doing wrong? The real culprit could potentially be some kind of fault deep within the unit’s enclosure.

If this does turn out to be the problem, you obviously wouldn’t want that scanner to be out of action for too long. Fortunately, the right Zebra scanner repair service could get your device fixed and then back to you within days — enabling you to limit the impact to your workforce and return to the job of installing a steady stream of software updates.


Lisa Baker is Group Editor for the Need to See IT Publishing Group. Lisa writes about HR, Technology, Health, the Environment and Business.
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