Integrity Drives Our Business Growth and Defines Our Core Mission

Investing in company and technology acquisitions is just one way to improve your business

Zebra and Xplore logos
by Tom McNeela
March 05, 2019

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 a leader in the handheld space for many years now. 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 input/output (I/O), 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.

The Zebra XSLATE L10 rugged slate tablet, XPAD L10 rugged tablet with a top handle and XBOOK L10 2-in-1 rugged tablet

Xplore was more than a tablet company. It has long been a trusted mobility advisor. Through its frequent interactions with customers, its 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, it even custom-designed innovative solutions. Perhaps the most impressive was the HDMI-in feature that Xplore integrated into its 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: I/O, accessories, vehicle mounts, software, etc.

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 offer a wider set of solutions and that is just one way that being true to our values benefits our customers.

Tom McNeela
Tom McNeela brings over 25 years of experience in mobile technologies and solutions to Zebra. In his current role, Mr. McNeela is responsible for managing the Enterprise Tablet portfolio within Zebra’s Enterprise Mobile Computing business.
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