Businesses demonstrate their integrity and industry leadership through actions, not with words. That is why our mission statement includes the directive to “take smarter actions through innovative products and solutions”. It drives us to prove our worth through the products and services that we offer. And our solution offerings are much more than items in a catalog.
Which brings me to Zebra Technologies’ acquisition of Xplore Technologies. Zebra has been the leader in the handheld space for many years now; our market share dominates and continues to grow. This can be credited to our dedication to build what customers really need, not sell them what we have. It is also the result of our front-line interaction and collaboration with customers. At Zebra, we focus on “Intensifying innovation throughout our organization by delivering unsurpassed quality and performance in our products and solutions.” We understand that to “intensify innovation”, we have to address the increased reliance on mobile technologies and rapid expansion of mobile workflows, some of which now require larger screens. That is why we recently sought out tablets designed for the demanding needs of front-line personnel in challenging environments – those who need rugged devices, with IO, wireless connectivity, security, and accessories tailored to the market. Specifically, we sought out enterprise-grade tablet platforms that were engineered with an emphasis on durability, ruggedness, performance, and longevity. Qualities that are consistent with our handheld device portfolio strategy. We found that in Xplore Technologies. But that’s not all we found.
Xplore was more than a tablet company. They have long been a trusted mobility advisor. Through their frequent interactions with customers, their solution architects, sales team, and leadership team understood the bigger set of issues facing each vertical industry and each individual customer. In turn, Xplore designed every one of its rugged mobile computing technologies to meet – actually surpass – mobility requirements. For some accounts, they even custom-designed innovative solutions. Perhaps the most impressive was the HDMI-in feature that they integrated into their rugged tablets to enable telcos’ set-top box testing in customers’ homes. HDMI-out is common, but many believed that HDMI-in connection (to a computing device) wasn’t possible – until Xplore found a way.
Like Zebra, Xplore also focused on helping customers understand and manage the costs of mobility, specifically the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This is a lot harder to design for than purchase price. A discounted product that fails and leaves end-customers unsatisfied is only going to increase costs. But engineering a tablet, 2-in-1, or handheld that is always available to the end user, always connected to a mobile network, always useable outside in the elements, and always equipped with enough battery power and durability to survive the workday is invaluable to customers. These traits are what minimizes TCO.
Xplore, like Zebra, has been in the business of mobilizing enterprise workflows for both private and public sector organizations for decades. Neither of us are new entrants, testing the waters. Xplore’s products have been developed with customers’ individualized mobility requirements in mind – and with customers’ direct feedback – for over 20 years. Xplore’s products were solving field service needs and empowering business mobility long before any consumer tablets existed. And Xplore’s focus on customer needs resulted in the engineering of unique, industry-first products that proved to have staying power, such as the integrated hard handle that debuted with the C5/F5 series and has now carried over to the next-generation L10 rugged mobility platform. Plus, neither Xplore nor Zebra has ever believed that consumer devices “re-purposed” for mobile workers are the answer. Failure rates are too high, durability levels are different, they lack productivity-delivering accessories and service offerings.
In short, acquiring Xplore enables us to better serve customers that need rugged-to-the-core, Zebra-type devices, but with larger screens and expanded industry-specific capabilities (like HDMI-In). Together, we will continue to:
- Focus on the needs of mobile workers in global industrial, enterprise, and field-service industries
- Develop devices that survive the day – measured in ruggedness, wireless performance, battery runtimes and more
- Tailor mobile computing devices to specific field service needs while considering (and fulfilling) the “total solution” requirements for each individual customer: IO, accessories, vehicle mounts, software, etc.
This acquisition does not change the core purpose of Zebra or Xplore. Rather, merging our highly-experienced teams and field-proven technologies gives us the resource breadth and depth we need to deliver on our vision: To “create a smarter, more connected global business community”. We are committed to empowering customers with innovative products and solutions that enable productivity. We will continue to make ourselves available to our partners and customers to identify, customize and deliver the precise rugged mobility solutions they need to meet and exceed their product and service needs. Now, we will be able to offer a wider set of solutions and that is just one way that being true to our values benefits our customers.