How SATO ensured a smooth update of
an existing product
with Zato Source's integrations support
SATO Vicinity develops and sells products that use its global-standard
PJM RFID (Phase Jitter Modulation Radio Frequency
Identification) technology to track and identify tagged items.
Uniquely, PJM RFID can quickly identify large amounts of tagged
items with 100% accuracy, even when randomly or tightly packed.
A subsidiary of electronics manufacturer SATO Global, SATO
Vicinity builds high-end, customized applications for customers
worldwide from industries including healthcare, blood and
pathology, and wholesale diamonds.
Updating a product to replace legacy technology,
including Microsoft SQL and Oracle integrations.
In 2013, SATO Vicinity developed Orbit, an application to help
orthopedic implant suppliers work more efficiently when checking
and logging unused items returned to them.
Orthopedic suppliers provide hospitals with loan sets which
each contain up to 12,000 implants, screws, and related items.
After surgery, the hospital returns unused items to the supplier,
who checks them so they can correctly bill the hospital for items used.
Previously, companies had to painstakingly sort and check items
manually - often hundreds per day. It was slow, time consuming,
and carried the risk of human errors.
Orbit uses PJM RFID tags and readers to significantly speed up
this process while ensuring 100% accuracy.
This helps orthopedic implant suppliers operate more efficiently
when booking loan sets, dispatching items, reconciling returned
items, and billing. Turnaround times up to 75% faster mean com-
panies can fulfill more orders in less time.
SATO Vicinity initially developed Orbit using Adobe Flex for the
front end, and Adobe ColdFusion and a Microsoft SQL database
for the back end. When Adobe discontinued the use of Flash,
SATO Vicinity faced the challenge of needing to rebuild Orbit
using different technology.
Because Orbit was developed specifically to meet the needs of
orthopedic implant companies, it was crucial it continued to
function in the same way from the customers' perspective.
Any disruptions to their day-to-day operations caused by the tech-
nology change could have serious implications for their productivity,
and ultimately their bottom line.
SATO Vicinity needed a flexible, powerful solution that would
provide the same functionality as already existed in Orbit's back
end, and would integrate with Microsoft SQL and Oracle.
The company also wanted to update Orbit's user interface to make
it more user friendly.
Building Orbit 2 in Zato to take advantage of its
integrations capabilities and ease of use.
SATO Vicinity decided to rebuild Orbit using the open source,
Python-based Zato platform. Flexible, powerful, and capable of complex integrations, Zato had
already proved its value in developing other key SATO Vicinity
products requiring multiple integrations. The Zato Source team's
deep expertise and superior service also influenced their decision.
SATO Vicinity and Zato Source worked together to develop Orbit 2.
Zato Source ensured smooth integrations with the Microsoft SQL
and Oracle databases necessary for Orbit to function. Ensuring
Orbit can communicate with the RFID readers via SATO's application PJM Global was straightforward, as PJM Global was also
built in Zato.
The team also developed a more streamlined and intuitive user
interface, again using Zato. "The functionality of Orbit remains
the same in terms of the reverse logistics. But because we needed
to update the product anyway, we wanted to make it as seamless
as possible for the end user," explains Daryl Dusheiko, Chief
Solutions Architect at SATO Vicinity.
A seamless switch to Orbit 2 and further integrations planned.
When Orbit 2 rolled out, how much difference did existing Orbit
users notice? Very little - which in this instance, was a marker of success.
Everything is working smoothly, meaning no disruption to Orbit
users' business operations.
Working with Zato Source to develop Orbit 2 has provided some
significant differences to the experience of developing the original
"Previously, when we had problems with ColdFusion while developing
Orbit 1, there wasn't anyone we could easily get in contact
with. So we had to do a lot of fault-finding and diagnosis
by reading forums. It was very slow and often it wasn't easy
to get a solution. Whereas now with Zato Source, if we have
a question they'll deal with it within a few days, or even less."
— Daryl Dusheiko, Chief Solutions Architect at SATO Vicinity