For some time we have been planning and developing an improved Remote Operation feature for 4.X that matched the dramatic improvements 4.X has over our classic 3.5 version. 4.4 is now ready with this exciting and revolutionary feature. Remote Operation combines the convenience of Cloud with the speed and reliability of local data. Remote Operation allows you to have an Artisan station that is disconnected from your main network and is only connected to an Internet connection, even from a hotspot from your phone. Even if that Internet connection is temporarily unavailable there is no worries and no actions needed on your behalf. Once reconnected to the Internet, Artisan will automatically catch up.
With sophisticated merging technology, your data is merged between disconnected Artisan stations. Your data is NOT hosted in the cloud and there is no switching between modes when you do and don’t have Internet. With Remote Operation, it always operates the same, except that information stops flowing, but you constantly have access to your local data. That data can even be shared between other stations when combined with our Multi-Store feature.
Common Use Cases
- Multi-Stores or Warehouse
- Working from Home or Offsite Office
- Physical Inventory Counting
- Use in Storage Buildings, Lockers, and Bunkers without Internet
- Sidewalk Sales
- Traveling on Planes, Trains, or Automobiles
- Trade Shows
- Easy syncing of data between Artisan stations.
- Robust design guards against data loss.
- Data sending and receiving happens behind the scenes without interrupting your sales or work.
- Each remote station has its own set of number blocks for Sales Slip numbers, PO numbers, etc.
- Smart merging technology allows for changes to the same records and fields at the same time.
- Handles duplicates.
- A dedicated team to assist with setup and maintenance.
- At the end of the day, your data is still in multiple locations and although there are safeguards, the loss of information is technically possible. In our opinion, this risk is less than the risk of losing your data due to viruses, and hardware failures. Backups are always a good idea.
- Your data is not in the cloud and there needs to be a local backup plan. We still like a nightly backup to DropBox for example.
- Best Practice Procedures adds robustness to the system.
- A setup process is required to get up and running. We will assist or provide step by step instructions.
- We offer different solutions for different situations. Our CerTek Cloud may be better under some use cases.
How Does it Work?
We start with a copy of your current data from your main location. Then we track each and every change to your database. We track everything when we are saving any information, so missing a bit of information really isn’t possible. This is an improvement over 3.5. Once operational, changes are collected in a queue and we periodically transmit those changes to the other remote stations. We call remote stations “nodes” to make it sound more technical and to differentiate between the 2nd station on a remote site and remote station. Node is simply a station that has local data that is being synchronized with the rest of the group.
There is a transmission for each and every other node on your network. Transmissions are tracked to make sure that they are received and they are processed in the proper order because you can’t receive an item if it hasn’t been created yet, right?
If two similar changes happen at the same time, as in Sally at Store A changes my phone number at the exact same time as Joe at Store B, then what happens? If they are changing it to the same number, then nobody notices anything. But what if one uses my cell phone and one uses my work phone? Well, in this case, it would be whichever one had the most recent timestamp. We have rules for each scenario and data type. So a customer’s sales total may get added rather than replaced.
A Best Practice example would be to have coordinated efforts when creating a large set of new inventory items. So you should assign that task to just one site at a time and not have two sites working on the same list at the same time… just like you would do if you have just one location or if you were working in the cloud. Ok, but what would happen if you were entering the same item at two different locations at the same time? Of course, we had to plan for that case. We have to assume that you are not deliberately entering the same item at two locations because they are synching so fast it shouldn’t be necessary so we can assume that you really meant this to be two different items, but they just happen to have the same item code. Since Artisan won’t allow multiple items with the same item code, then we rename one of your items with an obvious and annoying code so you can rename it whenever you are ready. Actually, the new code just adds an identifier to the item code from the number of the node. If they really are the same item, then you could merge them together by renaming one of them to the same item code as the other; Artisan will offer you a merging choice.
Each transmission is received and processed by every other node and magically you end up with the exact same information everywhere.
When Does This Happen?
There is a configuration choice on the frequency depending on your needs, but it always happens behind the scenes while you are continuing your sales or work. There is NO interruption during the synching processes. Normally we set the frequency between every 2 minutes and 60 minutes, but it can be changed at any time.