Baskets are Good for Business

There’s a reason why baskets have been around for centuries. From babies to bread, our prehistoric ancestors understood how useful baskets are for carrying, storing and transporting just about anything. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. Thousands of years later, we’re still using baskets to transport our groceries and store our laundry. Just as baskets help make chores and shopping faster and more efficient, it turns out baskets are good for business too! Whether you’re offering in-person training, managing a distribution center or facilitating vaccinations, if your operational process includes sharing devices, our Basket system provides multiple benefits. LocknCharge slotted device Baskets enable hand-out and pack-up of devices in less time, giving you more time to focus on operational goals.

Top 5 Ways Baskets Benefit Business

  • Save time: Enable hand-out and pack-up of devices in less time
  • Prevent breakages: Keep devices more secure in public spaces
  • Streamline distribution: Easily carry multiple devices between classrooms, workrooms or buildings
  • Save cash: Reduce money spent on broken or stolen cord replacements
  • Future-proof: Transport a wide variety of devices, including laptops and tablets or devices with extra-thick cases

Distribute Devices in a Matter of Seconds

“We have limited time with the participants, so being able to grab a smart device Basket and placing them on a table give participants immediate access to the devices. I can do that in a matter of seconds which meets our need tremendously.”

- Gene Howell, Manager for Educational Technology at Australian Institute of Management in Western Australia.

The Australian Institute of Management in Western Australia (AIM WA) is dedicated to building leadership and management capability. Their suite of training courses attracts over 20,000 participants each year. Most classes require each participant to have immediate access to technology. There’s no time to waste distributing shared devices.

Slotted device charging Baskets by LocknCharge make device deployments more efficient, allowing for quick distribution and collection by the trainer. At AIM WA, iPads are stored and charged in Carrier 30 Carts in Baskets of five. When it’s time to set up for each class, the trainer slides open the secure Cart lid, takes out a couple of Baskets, and places them on tables for each participant to grab. Participants no longer have to wait in line then take out a device one by one as they would with a traditional cabinet-style laptop cart. When students start learning immediately vs. lining up, 70 hours of class time is saved per year.

Reloading the Cart is a simple three-step process:

Step 1: Put devices back into technology Baskets with their charging ports facing up

Step 2: Place Baskets into the Cart

Step 3: Plug charging cords into the devices

Cords that stay in the Cart dramatically reduces the number of broken, misplaced and stolen cords. In addition, Carts can be easily wheeled between classrooms to safely and quickly distribute devices where they’re needed most.

Facilitate Healthcare on the Go

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving demand for healthcare providers to go on the road to facilitate healthcare. Where there’s a testing and immunization event in the field or a mobile health clinic, there’s a need for devices and a way to charge, store and secure them.

FEMA’s Community Vaccination Centers Playbook recommends 100 iPads for facilities distributing up to 6,000 vaccination doses a day. These devices can be used for patient registration, scheduling and clinical documentation. At COVID-19 testing stations, staff members can also use iPads to scan patients’ insurance information quickly.

Whether sharing a hundred devices or a dozen, Baskets are an efficient method to speed up device deployment. At the start of the day, a worker grabs the Baskets from a secure Carrier Cart and sets them out to be easily accessed by the nursing teams. During their shifts, nurses return devices to the Baskets as a centralized, safe place to store them when not in use. At night, all devices are placed in Baskets which are then placed into Carts for charging.

Because baskets are removable, Carrier Carts offer an open-concept that adapts for healthcare providers on the road—making them the ideal solution for mobile blood banks and clinics. The fleet of vans operated by the Community Blood Center (CBC) travels throughout Kansas and Missouri fully stocked with everything necessary for a blood donation procedure. When each van moves multiple laptops, tablets, keyboards, wireless printers, webcams, and all of their power supplies, the task can be pretty daunting.

The blood bank needed a “mobile device kit” that could easily charge, store, secure and transport a wide variety of mobile devices and all necessary power supplies. They found success in the LocknCharge Carrier 40 Cart. Because of the open-concept design, they removed half of the Baskets and retrofitted their own padding and shelf to accommodate their unique needs.

Read the Mobile Blood Bank Case Study

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Webinar: How to Integrate Break/Fix Workflow with FUYL Tower API

Originally Aired: 1/28/21

In this webinar, Jon Harrer, Technical Sales Rep at LocknCharge, covers how to integrate our FUYL Tower Smart Locker and LocknCharge Cloud software into an existing IT infrastructure.

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Reach out to Jon directly or "Contact Us" for a 60-day trial of FUYL Tower and the LocknCharge Cloud software.

Jon Harrer, Technical Sales Rep at LocknCharge
[email protected]  |  (920) 342-4258

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For more information, check out this article about streamlining and simplifying device exchange.

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How Much Does Your Device Repair and Replacement Process Really Cost?

As more employees shift to working partly in person and partly remote, technology mishaps are bound to happen. At home, kids spill drinks on laptops, pets step on keyboards and food crumbs damage circuitry. Then there’s the accidental damage that goes along with lugging your devices to and from the office, not to mention the increase in forgotten charging cords, power supplies and other vital equipment. Word to the wise, don’t set your laptop and coffee on top of your car while fumbling to open the door. Those are essential tools to getting work done that shouldn’t be left on the road behind you!

One of the top complaints by IT staff is that they don’t have enough time to complete their current workload. Despite that, when nearly 20% of mobile devices break or go missing each year, the burden usually falls on them. Not only is this a drain on your tech team’s time, but it also adds a significant amount of downtime for employees who are unable to work. When devices are lost or damaged, all productivity and communication come to a screeching halt.

Have you ever asked yourself just how much time your IT department wastes on workforce technology deployment? Physically running around gathering and replacing broken devices or supplying cables? Consider this:

  • The average fully-burdened labor cost for IT technical work ranges between $75 and $150 per hour  
  • When working in an office, it takes about an hour to exchange a device manually
  • The average number of laptop and devices exchanges per week per location is around 5

That’s over 250 hours and nearly $25k spent annually by your IT Team just exchanging devices! While it may not be possible to eradicate all system and equipment issues, there’s a better solution to decrease device downtime and reduce workloads. One that doesn’t include hiring more people, creating more manual workarounds or spending even more money outsourcing the issue altogether.

Streamline and Simplify Laptop Exchange Workflow

By deploying a cloud-based smart locker such as a FUYL Tower 5 or 15, you can eliminate many of the manual workflow processes of IT break/fix programs and simplify replacing damaged, lost or forgotten devices, tools, accessories and more.

Automate Your Break/Fix Program

Looking for an IT cost savings idea? Centralize and automate your time-wasting manual IT break/fix program more easily than you think with a smart charging locker. A FUYL Tower 5 or 15 allows you to keep several devices charged, secure and connected in a location in your building that can be accessed by onsite workers or nearby remote workers.

With FUYL Towers, a manual process that once took an hour to complete now takes less than a minute.

When a staff member breaks a device, simply send them to the locker to get a replacement. Not only does this solution save time and money, but it can also make your team’s lives easier. Employees can simply swap their broken device for a new one and be on their way with a new device for the day. With FUYL Towers, a manual process that once took an hour to complete now takes less than a minute!

To automate this process even further, FUYL Towers can be integrated with your current IT ticketing system, such as ServiceNow, Remedy or another ITSM platform with API integration, to automatically find a Tower bay that is suitable for the user and notify the user with directions to collect their device.

Simplify Replacement of Devices, Tools and More

FUYL Towers accommodate and charge almost any device, with or without cases. But what happens when your employee needs a different piece of equipment, such as a lost cable? Or when HR has paperwork to be signed? We recognize that employees often need more than just a laptop to perform their jobs. With a FUYL Tower, simplify the distribution of any item that fits a 14” (W) x 17” (L) x 3” (H) slot. Grant specific users access to individual bays by using their RFID badge or assigned PIN code. Employees can then easily access supplies, and you can view a detailed event log to know who accessed bays and when.

Read more tips to better manage remote workers, including the steps to deploy a zero-touch model for maintaining devices and equipment.

Automate the Check-in/Check-out Process Ready-to-go Devices

With a FUYL Tower filled with ready-to-go devices, you’ll reduce in-person interactions and speed up the check-in/check-out process. Just ask the IT team of one of the largest energy companies in the U.S. who recently automated their device check-in/check-out process. They deployed a fleet of mobile devices for their customer-facing departments to achieve greater operating efficiencies, adapt to evolving regulatory requirements, provide complete and accurate information to field employees and better communicate with the field. With the addition of mobile devices, they needed to implement a system to help manage this technology. The solution was to utilize FUYL Towers to help manage their devices. With the FUYL Tower, the IT team can assign specific lockers and devices to employees and restrict and monitor access to these devices. This process added another layer of accountability for employee devices and streamlined IT’s ability to manage thousands of devices remotely. The FUYL Towers have helped automate a manual process of managing devices and ensure that field technicians have the information they need to do their jobs effectively.  

Top 5 Benefits of a Secure Charging Tower for Business

By automating the clunky manual device replacement process, LocknCharge FUYL Tower 5 or 15 charging lockers allow organizations to save a considerable amount of time, not to mention reduce staff frustration caused by frequent interruptions.

Get a return on investment between 10 to 16 weeks.
  1. Get a return on investment between 10 to 16 weeks. Whether your associates are checking out devices daily or you’re seeking to automate your loaner program, the average ROI is no more than four months.
  2. Leverage in device check-in and check-out environments. Easily store fully-charged, ready-to-use devices inside the locker bay until the administrator provides access to a user. Administrators can also assign a specific compartment to a single user.
  3. Address safety concerns and reduce risk. The system offers self-service with the swipe of an RFID badge, eliminating the need for human intervention to check out a device or pick up a loaner.
  4. Easily scale as your business grows. The LocknCharge Cloud allows you to manage thousands of users and shave time off tasks you once had to do manually. These minutes gained by everyone involved help to increase ROI.
  5. Rely on us for peace of mind. Our customer support has a world-class Net Promoter Score (NPS), and our products come with a lifetime warranty to ensure peace of mind.

Schedule a Live Product Demo

If you’re curious how FUYL Tower could integrate into your operational workflow, we’re here to help. LocknCharge exists to make life easier for mobile technology users by creating solutions that ensure accessibility and usability of devices at all times. Get in touch with LocknCharge today!

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Navigating CARES Funding for Educational Technology and Sanitization

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Keeping students learning and safe in the midst of a pandemic doesn’t come cheap. Alabama has allocated $100 million for a public-private partnership to increase internet access for K-12 students who may need internet service for distance learning. Tennessee has provided $50 million to support technology grants for Wi-Fi devices, laptops, or any other devices required to support reopening. To protect the health and safety of students, Dearborn Schools spent almost $40,000 deep cleaning a single elementary school where a staffer tested positive for COVID-19, reports the Detroit Free Press.

To cover the costs to overcome barriers created by the pandemic, schools across the U.S. have started to tap into the funding set aside by the federal government in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. However, in several states, CARES funds are being used to make up for state cuts in education due to tax revenue loss. Schools are now facing a funding crisis with significant budget shortfalls exacerbated by increased pandemic-related costs. Because 15% - 25% budget shortfalls are expected for districts in 2020-21, it’s more critical than ever to make strategic funding decisions and find innovative ways to get more out of stretched budgets. 

What is ESSER?

The CARES Act created the $30.75 billion Education Stabilization fund for State educational agencies (SEAs) to spend on education and education technology. Of which $13.5 billion went to The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds to provide local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools that are LEAs, with emergency relief to address the impact that COVID-19 has had and continues to have on schools across the nation. According to FutureEd, “Another $3 billion goes to the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER), which governors can use for ‘significantly impacted’ school districts or higher education institutions.”

The deadline for LEAs to apply for funds is dependent on your state. Note that SEAs can use ESSER funds for allowable expenditures incurred on or after March 13, 2020. Reach out to the federal programs officer in your district to discuss your school’s specific funding allotment. Communication is key to the strategic procurement of edTech solutions.

Leveraging ESSER Allocations to Support Students

District administrators across the country, like Oklahoma’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, are preparing for options to bridge the digital divide. “Recognizing the significant learning loss that has resulted from the pandemic, it will be important that districts leverage their ESSER allocations to support students in regaining lost academic ground,” Hofmeister said.

The law allows districts to spend CARES Act ESSER funds on a broad range of activities, as long as they fall within the dozen allowable uses related to COVID-19. As school districts continue to determine the best way to spend their money, many are focusing on these two allowable uses:

  • Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of a local educational agency, including buildings operated by such agency.
  • Purchasing CARES Act specific educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors.

How Innovative LocknCharge Solutions Can Help

LocknCharge solutions help in two areas of activity that are eligible for ESSER funds and emergency education grants, distance learning technology and sanitizing equipment.

1. Distance Learning: Funds can be used to cover technology costs related to distance/remote learning.

Automate device management for break/fix programs: From cracked screens to malfunctioning cameras, device damage is common. Retrieving those broken devices and providing replacements quickly and safely is a challenge all school IT teams face whether learning is remote or in-person. The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) faced this break/fix obstacle head-on earlier this year. Previously, each time device support was needed, a team member had to be physically onsite. Triaging the issue would gobble up a minimum of 15 minutes from the Help Desk’s schedule–not to mention the growing wait time for a tech person to become available.

SFUSD strategically placed four LocknCharge FUYL Tower Smart Lockers at a central location where they could be accessed beyond regular office hours and even on weekends. Each bay is equipped with one ready-to-go device, simplifying the process of distributing and maintaining devices without the need for any face-to-face interaction or Help Desk interruption. Device deployment was shortened from as many as five days to as little as one day for an 80% reduction in device downtime.

Zero human interaction device management: Managing the distribution of mobile devices without human interaction is a new requirement as part of social distancing. LocknCharge can help facilitate a zero-touch model for deploying and maintaining mobile devices for your students and faculty, ensuring continual access to a ready-to-go device. One way to eliminate in-person contact is to set up pickup/drop-off IT exchange hubs with secure smart lockers. With our robust online management portal for FUYL Tower, IT Admins can manage smart lockers remotely. Teachers, students and parents place devices in a compartment at a scheduled time; staff then tracks the activity to see when the compartment was accessed, reset PINs, open doors or quarantine doors.

Whether the students in your district are learning online, in-person or a combination of both, learn how to best navigate educational technology for each option.

2. Equipment: Funds can be used to cover costs of sanitizing buildings and equipment.

Managing classroom bacteria can be a challenge for teachers and administrators focused on back-to-school safety. Devices can be sanitized using UVone UV-C disinfection to prevent the spread of bacteria. Decrease time spent by teachers sanitizing devices because UVone devices work in just 30 seconds, making them six times quicker than traditional wipes.

Save Time and Money with Future-Proof Technology Solutions

Despite the ESSER allocations, limited resources will likely challenge every school for many years to come. So it may seem logical to evaluate technology based on price alone. However, by thinking bigger upfront and investing for years to come, you can save significant time and money in the long run.

Your chosen products must combine universal charging, open-concept designs and durability, to implement a future-proof charging program successfully. If the product claims to flex with your tech plans but isn’t durable enough to last, you will fall short of your goals. On the flip side, if a charging solution is so durable that it lasts a lifetime but no longer suits your needs, that product cannot be part of your long-term strategy.

Ready to Learn More?

As your partner, we’re standing by to help you navigate ESSER funding for educational technology and sanitization and ensure your investment will be a good one for many years to come. Schedule a live video demo with a LocknCharge Customer Success Manager to see our products in action and find the right solution for managing your mobile devices.

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7 Ways Schools Bridge the Distance Learning Digital Divide

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Schools have handed out millions of devices since the beginning of the pandemic. But devices are only one side of the remote learning equation. Even if they’re given a learning device, many students still face barriers to connectivity. Unicef reports that worldwide, at least 463 million students have no access to digital or broadcast lessons. Innovative educators and community partners are hard at work to improve that statistic and ensure no child misses out on learning. From Wi-Fi-enabled school buses in California to SIM-enabled internet dongles in Victoria, check out these seven strategies schools have implemented to bridge the distance learning digital divide.

1. School Bus Wi-Fi Helps Students Get to Class

For several years now, districts have been equipping school buses with Wi-Fi so students can complete online assignments while traveling to and from school. Why let the vital internet access provided by these portable hotspots go to waste during school closures? Districts are now re-purposing their Wi-Fi buses to help students “get to class” in places where connectivity is an issue. Buses park where internet connections are needed most, such as local neighborhoods and community center parking lots.

Read how Coachella Valley Unified School District in California has been providing connectivity in this way to the district’s most underserved communities, long before the transition to remote learning.

2. Tech Team Cranks it Up to Boost School Wi-Fi

When schools across the Charleston County School District closed in April, the tech team sprang into action to help the roughly 4,000 kids without internet at home. Thomas Nawrocki, executive director of IT, explains to U.S. News how to boost connectivity with existing infrastructure. “Nawrocki and his team cranked the WiFi output signal inside schools so that those living in close proximity can use it, and also so that people can drive or bike to the school parking lots and tap into it there. The district also has 10 schools with powerful antennas that are helping provide access to the internet to neighborhoods in the immediate area.”

Other schools use their closed campuses to get devices in teachers' and students' hands safely. By rolling a FUYL Tower out to a publicly-accessible location on a school site or district office, devices can be left securely in a designated locker, ready for no-contact pickup during a scheduled time. These locations can even be a covered area outdoors, so no building access is necessary.

3. Companies Provide Take-home Hotspots for Greater Equity for Students

Take-home hotspots are a popular solution because they don’t require installation and help close the connectivity gap to give students the technology to succeed. Thanks to generous donations from companies and philanthropies, hundreds of thousands have been distributed to kids in recent months. In Washington, Northshore School District was one of the first to switch to what they call “classroom in the cloud.” EdSurge reports that “before putting its emergency instruction on hold, Northshore had already distributed 4,000 devices and around 600 mobile hotspots to families.”

Partnering with school districts across the country, T-Mobile has launched a program to deliver internet connectivity to millions of underserved student households at no cost to them. Interested schools or school districts can fill out a program request form.

4. An Unexpected Tool for Remote Learning—Public Television

Public TV and radio have emerged as unexpected remote learning tools to prevent the education gap from getting wider. According to UNICEF, TV-based remote learning has the potential to reach the majority of students globally. World Bank’s Edtech team documented initiatives in Austria, where the public T.V. station ORF 1 has offered a special education program for students at all school levels. Similarly, Spanish public television, RTVE, launched an educational tool for students and families called Educlan. In Mexico, the government has “planned to have 640 programs, across 18 radio stations in 15 states of the country.”

5. “Lift Zones” Provide Safe Spaces for Low-Income Students

Working with a network of nonprofit partners, Comcast is launching more than 1,000 WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” in community centers throughout the U.S. to provide safe spaces for low-income students to participate in distance learning. “The initiative will provide not only free Internet connectivity, but also access to hundreds of hours of educational and digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning.”

Distance learning is impossible without access to power. Deploying LocknCharge FUYL Towers in community centers is a creative way to provide secure charging for students facing housing insecurity. When an IT team member assigns individual FUYL Tower slots to students, the district can be assured that the students have a designated place to keep their devices safe and secure while charging.  

6. 4G Wireless Routers Distributed to Children Facing Disruption to Face-to-Face Education

When schools closed during the initial lockdown in England, the Department of Education realized it was essential to recognize how many families lack up-to-date computers and struggle to pay for broadband. “Being able to keep up with classes should not depend on broadband status,” said one educational expert to the BBC. To date, over 100,000 laptops and tablets have been delivered and 51,000 4G routers to secondary school pupils with a social worker as well as disadvantaged students.

7. Internet Dongles Prevent Students from Falling Behind

Internet dongles use a SIM card to generate a portable WiFi network. Because they’re small, easy to use and affordable, it’s understandable that they’re a popular choice to try to ensure equal access to online learning. “Only 68% of Australian children aged 5 to 14 living in disadvantaged communities have internet access at home, compared to 91% of students living in advantaged communities,” reports The Conversation. To prevent students in bushfire affected areas and families who can’t afford an internet connection from falling behind, Australia’s Victorian government has distributed thousands of Telstra internet dongles.

The only certainty about the future of education is that it’s uncertain. The trick is to be ready for whatever scenario comes your way—including developing an EdTech plan that empowers students and teachers to focus on the task of learning. Learn how best to navigate educational technology in an ever-changing landscape.

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