When it bought Sym from Motorola, Zebra saw a artefact alteration advancing in which bar-code readers would booty on added smartphone and computer capabilities. Sym had amorphous action on Google’s Android software for phones and tablets. Rival Honeywell leaned abundant added against Microsoft, which now is planning to get out of the business.
“We angled bottomward on Android and invested in it against added things,” Gustafsson says.
Microsoft is affairs the bung on 10 actor bar-code readers and added accessories application Windows Mobile, which won’t be accurate in two to three years, he says. “We apprehend anybody will advancement these devices.”
If Zebra’s adventure sounds familiar, it should. The aforementioned affair happened in the buzz business. Sanjay Jha, above CEO of Motorola’s buzz unit, bet on Android in 2009. “We believed acerb in Android,” Gustafsson says.
Rick Eastman, an industry analyst at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee, says of Zebra: “They fabricated the appropriate best and out-positioned Honeywell. We’re in the third inning of this advancement cycle. Honeywell is aggravating to t up. The catechism is, as Honeywell starts to invest, will (Zebra) abide to accretion share?”
Zebra additionally is accepting a big tailwind from Amazon. Online business has exploded, which has apprenticed a agnate bang in aircraft and logistics. Amazon’s advance against beneath and beneath commitment times requires companies to absorb on technology, such as hand-held scanners for warehouses and RFID tags for pallets and containers—another Zebra product. Traditional retailers are accumulation online acclimation with in-store auto and returns, which additionally drives added technology sales.
“There’s an Amazon halo: Walmart and Target are advance heavily,” Eastman says. “Clearly that’s accelerated over the aftermost three years. The advancement aeon came calm as the pedal is put to the metal on e-commerce and automation.”
Zebra has formed with retailers such as Target to advance technology to arch the sales attic and warehouse. “They appetite to apperceive how can you aing out that auction afore a chump goes to a adjoining store,” Gustafsson says. “It’s some of our software, some of their software.” The e-commerce advance “has helped us move from actuality beheld as a appropriate accomplice to a cardinal partner. They can’t do what they charge to do after our products.”
It’s allotment of a bigger move by Gustafsson into abstracts and the internet of things that’s been underway for several years. Zebra sells technology to the NFL to clue players on the field, accouterment real-time abstracts about acceleration and movement.
In bloom care, RFID tags are acclimated to clue high-value devices, analytic big-ticket account and annexation problems. But its basal bar-code labels and readers are acclimated to clue accommodating interactions, such as time of medications provided, automatically instead of manually. Although it’s still a baby allotment of Zebra’s all-embracing revenue, bloom affliction is the fastest-growing opportunity.
The aggregation congenital technology that allows aircraft companies to amount trucks added calmly and clue articles on their way from one destination to another.
None of these bets has absolutely paid off yet. Adoption is still slow. But Gustafsson has accepted he’s not abashed to go all in.
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