Mobile RF warehouse hardware-Software requirement
I have the following question with regards to WM-RF setup.
Reading from some source on the website, I understand the following device items are essential for setting up the RF device.
We are contemplating to use either character-based or GUI-based.
May I know where to get it and how much it cost?
- RF RF terminal (aka. Mobile terminal) which is the Telnet client. This is the SAPConsole.
- RF Access Point, which allows for Wireless Ethernet.
- Telnet Server (aka. SAPConsole Terminal) which allows each RF terminal to connect to the Windows machine in the character-based mode.
Note: when you explain to me the hardware device, appreciate if you can tell me what it is and what it’s usage as I am not really an IT person.
Matthias Bucher replied
as you said, the first thing you need are the end users devices (mobile terminals). There a distributors of these devices (like Intermec, Datalogic, Symbol and many others).
These devices mostly run a windows mobile / windows phone operating system. More or less, these devices are regular computers on a specialized hardware including barcode scanner, WLAN, speaker, microphone,..... Cost of these devices starts at ~400€ onwards. Keep in mind that buying devices are at most 5% of a mobile project.
Now the devices needs a network connection to a SAP system. As a normal computer, you can provide WLAN by one ore many access points in your warehouse. The number and positions of the access points should be obtained by a professional WLAN expert to ensure you have good quality all over the complete warehouse.
The 3rd thing you need is a SAP application which you want to use.
This is the biggest point for misunderstandings.
1st you need to distinguish between online and offline solutions. Online means that all devices have 100% network connection all the time and each action on the device is instantly transmitted to SAP processed there and the result is shown instantly.
This "online" solution behaves like a thin client with no own application logic, just like a screen to display data.
Technically, in the past it was a telnet client (which is a character based "remote desktop") and SAPConsole on the SAP site. Today it's a browser running on these devices like internet explorer (or a specialized browser (with extra costs ;-) provided by device manufactor) with enhanced capabilities to protect device access & configure behaviour).
To imagine what online means, think about a remote desktop connection from this device to a regular windows driven PC where SAPGUI is running. Now you can work in SAPGUI on the device via remote desktop in your SAP system without additional work. If connection is lost, no work is possible any more. BUT: is this a good solutions for end users? Is the design of the SAP transactions good for the small device screens & keyboards ? (we'll come to that later)
To get a feeling of offline, think about your PDA/smartphone. 1st you need a application installed locally on the device like MS outlook. Then you need to synchronize your server data (contacts, appointments,...) (e.g. from exchange server) with the device. After that, you can disconnect the device from network and ... you can still read emalis, check & create appointments, browse contacts.
So a offline solution has a "fat" application installed and running on device itself. Mostly this is also tied together with a database on the device. A online solution should never use a local database on the device.
You can switch over to SAP again. If you think at people running around in warehouses picking goods, you can provide online access to SAP. The people get the next pick position shown and they confirm it online in SAP.
At an offline solution, people synchronizes a complete picklist, walk around and confirm the picks locally in the device only. After that, they return to dropoff point and synchronizes the confirmed picklist with SAP where the picks are also confirmed now.
Offline solutions are much more complex (at least today) , I'll skip it here. Buzzwords here are "SAP Mobile Platform (Sybase Unwired)", "HTML5", "SAP NetWeaver Mobile"
You mentioned SAPConsole. This is a deprecated scenario (including software) provided by SAP to work with character based telnet clients online in SAP. This telnet client can run on the device in full screen mode, connects to a telnet sever (which is tecnically a additional windows only hardware = middleware) where SAPConsole software is installed. SAPConsole is a protocoll converter from character based side (telnet) to SAPGUI protocoll (named DIAG). Due to technical restrictions, not all GUI controls are supported in that scenario. e.g. if you call MIGO transaction in a telnet client, it will not work. Also the main SAP menu will not work because tree controls and menu bars are not supported by SAPConsole.
There was also a SAPWebConsole in the past, which replaces the telnet (character based) by a browser client. But this is also deprecated if your SAP system runs on NetWeaver 7 onwards.
Today the most common solution without 3rd party solutions is using a browser on the device, connect to SAP Internet Transaction Server (ITS) directly via http and start a transaction which is designed for the screen solution and capabilities of your device. ITS is included in all NetWeaver ABAP 7 systems (e.g. SAP ERP,SCM,...) without any extra costs.
The only thing you still need is a set of transactions (the business application itself) in SAP which works smothly on your device in a browser. Buzzwords to continue your search here are "ITSmobile", LM00, LP00, /SCWM/RFUI
There are many 3rd party solutions on the market which provides tools to convert and reformat existing SAP transactions and "make them mobile". This reformatting is done often outside SAP in 3rd party software so you don't need ABAP developers/knowledge or inside SAP whre you need to install aditional ABAP software and need knowledge of that product. But: this is not for free
A final hint: always check the technical architecture of the solutions in detail shown to you by sales guys. Always keep in mind that SAP provides all components in the scenario online (above) for free, you don't need any 3rd party product (no extra browser, no middleware, no converter) to establish a online mobility solution.