What is Session Persistence?

Warehouse workers using a rugged mobile device that is connected to your warehouse management system (WMS) rely on session persistence to keep working without device-related interruptions. Session persistence keeps your warehouse moving. Session persistence means your workers are productive and therefore profitable.

Why is Session Persistence Important?

Ultimately, session persistence ensures that your warehouse doesn’t suffer from dropped sessions.

A dropped session happens when your warehouse worker loses access to the workflow task they were engaged in because the connection was lost to the WMS. Connection issues can happen all the time and for a variety of different reasons – and can be especially prevalent on sites that need to move from network to network or have outdoor yards. Dropped sessions are a hidden productivity killer and cost warehouses hundreds of thousands of dollars every year due to lost data and lost time. Data can get lost when the session drops and workers often restart their devices or swap them for a new device in an effort to resolve the issue, impacting productivity.

Session persistence ensures that if connectivity is lost, the user will be able to seamlessly continue with their task, completely unaware of the problem. It creates sticky sessions for warehouse workers and eliminates the chances of a session timeout.

Lost connections should not result in lost session data and shouldn't affect warehouse efficiency. Session persistence ensures that in the event of a connectivity issue there isn't a session crash and all the session information is retained on the device.

How Often do Warehouse Workers Experience a Dropped Session?

We recently surveyed warehouse workers to ask them this very question. We believed that the prevalence of dropped sessions, resulting in warehouse interruptions, was not understood by warehouse managers. We wanted to understand the user experience of the workers themselves.

The results surprised even us. Warehouse workers told us that they experience a dropped session, on average, every 107 minutes. Or more often than once every two hours.

The frequency of dropped sessions is one factor, how long the worker takes to resolve the problem is another key stat we discovered, thanks to our survey. For 46% of warehouse workers, it takes at least 20 minutes to resolve a dropped session. Warehouse worker productivity can be improved by as much as 50 minutes, on average, per worker per working day, as a result of resolving dropped sessions.

How Much do Dropped Sessions Cost?

As part of our recent report – "Dropped Sessions: The Hidden Productivity Killer" – we calculated the cost of lost warehouse productivity caused by dropped sessions.

The results were staggering. An average warehouse can lose as much as $400,000 per year. And this figure doesn’t include any financial penalties for delayed shipments or missed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) / deadlines.

How Will 5G Affect Session Persistence?

The increased use of 5G networks in warehouses will dramatically increase the likelihood and frequency of dropped sessions.

Terminal emulation (TE) software, which is used by over 60% of warehouses, is based on a protocol that is over 50 years old. It was designed for wired connections and for static terminals, hence the name, and it relies on the WMS creating and maintaining a session with a terminal.

Modern warehouse devices are anything but static – that is one of their many advantages. However, as they move around the warehouse they need to stay connected to the WMS to maintain the session because if anything interrupts that session, such as a lack of connectivity, the WMS ends the session (the session is dropped).

Unlike Wi-Fi, cellular networks are designed to stop and start connections, making multiple requests but providing devices with a different ‘address’ on the network each time they do. This already creates issues for warehouses and distribution centers that need to use devices both inside the four walls of the warehouse and outside, where they’ll be outside the range of a Wi-Fi network. Ports are a perfect example of this.

As private-5G networks start to be installed instead of traditional Wi-Fi in some warehouses this will increase the likelihood of dropped sessions and therefore lost productivity and reduced profitability.

How Do I Ensure Session Persistence in My Warehouse?

Session Persistence can be ensured by using the right kind of TE software. Software that was designed to counter the inherent issue of dropped sessions.

Through a host-resident server, StayLinked’s SmartTE terminal emulation solution effortlessly communicates with the device ensuring all terminal sessions and application data remain securely anchored on the host. This ensures our customers have an enterprise-grade solution that delivers true session persistence, eliminating the risk and disruption of dropped sessions. SmartTE is offered through a fair licensing policy that allows for increased flexibility, improves cost-effectiveness, and provides freedom from rigid contractual obligations.

Find out more about Session Persistence, or read our Dropped Sessions Report.