Behind every great piece of hardware is an even better set of software tools. At least here at Zebra.
That's why the average Zebra rugged mobile computer, tablet or scanner will live with its original owner at least five-to-seven years – and why printers tend to hang around for twice that long. (Especially thermal printers.) It’s also why customers have been able to implement new Zebra-powered mobility, scanning or printing solutions in healthcare, retail, supply chain, manufacturing, and field environments in a matter of days – and workers have felt comfortable using them on day one.
They all have Zebra DNA: a set of software applications, utilities and tools that make great mobile devices, printers and scanners best-in-class solutions.
In fact, I don’t know if we would have been able to help our partners and public healthcare officials in Europe set up a 4,000-bed emergency field hospital in just nine days in the first wave of the pandemic last summer without Zebra DNA!
And I know some of Zebra’s legacy Android™ handheld mobile computers are still running strong in warehouses, factories and retail stores around the world today because our customers were able to unlock Zebra DNA as needed to upgrade and secure them time and again. (Yes, I’m talking KitKat’s, Lollipops and Marshmallows that have had their desserts and lifecycles extended and still haven’t reached retirement.)
If it seems hard to fathom that a device’s software “DNA” is the key to prolonged (data) security, continuous (workflow) growth, and a long, productive (device) life, I get it. Many customers will tell us they feel like they’re having to replace devices from other consumer or enterprise device manufacturers every year or two to keep up with business demands – or that it can sometimes take that long to get their core solutions fully onboarded and optimized. Some find that devices are never fully utilized because they’re just too hard to figure out. So, if all of these issues can be averted just by improving the software, you would think they wouldn’t be issues at all.
But it’s not that simple. It takes a lot of time and a strong commitment to fully unlock one’s DNA. It has taken us 50+ years to get Zebra DNA where it is today, and we’re still introducing new tools (and improving upon the existing ones) that will help you get the most out of your device investment through every stage of its lifecycle. But every bit of time and money spent on developing Zebra DNA is worth it because we know it’s this software that makes Zebra devices best in class. If you are looking for a software application you can trust to help you manage your inventory, dispatch service tickets, track pick-up and delivery operations in the field, streamline the collection of specimens in a medical facility, or fulfill online orders from your store, we have an unmatched solution partner and ISV partner ecosystem to meet those needs. But if you are wondering if the hardware you are going to deploy these software applications on is going to be “up to the task” and able to adapt, sustain and evolve as your business grows and your needs evolve in the future, that’s where Zebra DNA has you covered.
The Software Giving Your Hardware a Second (or Third) Life
When we say Zebra rugged mobile computers, tablets, barcode scanners and printers are built to last, we mean it. Not just because the devices are extremely resilient or equipped with features that give your workflows room to grow. The software driving those devices – Zebra DNA – has also been designed to keep them running like they were brand new, throughout every stage of the device’s lifecycle, even as they age or find a new purpose in life.
We have committed decades to researching and developing Zebra DNA. We’ve run thousands of simulations and studied even more real-world use cases to understand the journey each Zebra device will take once it leaves our manufacturing facilities and warehouses. Each time we sit down to create a new piece of hardware, we want to know:
- how it will be integrated and used in your factories or warehouses.
- what its life will look like if spent in the field, an office or a vehicle.
- what it could experience if employed in a retail store or restaurant where several different people will come into contact with it each day.
- how hard it will need to work to be truly valued.
- whether it will need to be good at one thing or many to fulfill its purpose in life.
- how your team’s interactions will change with the hardware over time, and what type of software you might want to add at some point.
- what threats it could face both from a physical and digital perspective.
- how we can better prepare it to adapt to a changing world.
- what it will take to keep it fully energized.
That’s why we’re constantly calling to find out what life is like in your world – why we spend days shadowing your front-line teams (virtually, if we have to). We know the devices we’re building are a lifeline for your business and you’ll increasingly depend on them to keep up with customer demand, especially as your business is pushed past its limits. We believe in our core that every modern hardware purchase is a software decision in disguise.
The mobile device, printer or scanner hardware alone is not the solution to your business challenges. It is part of the solution. A device doesn’t tell you what’s happening in your business and why, or what you need to do about it. Nor does it tell you step-by-step how to fix something. The software running on that device does. It’s how your front-line teams connect to back-end systems to maintain a two-way flow of information. Software is what helps workers be self-sufficient and productive so they can make customers happier and find greater satisfaction in what they do.
That’s where Zebra DNA comes in.
Today, there are more than 50 different Zebra DNA tools and solutions embedded in your Zebra handheld mobile computers, tablets, wearables, scanners and printers – all ready to be unlocked whenever you need them. These tools are what make it easy for you to:
- deploy, recover and update Zebra devices.
- integrate new workflow-related software and apps.
- reconfigure devices for new users and applications.
- monitor devices, manage performance and maintain proper connections.
- identify potential security vulnerabilities and lockdown devices using several different mechanisms.
Each is optimized for the devices in which they support, which is why you might hear them more commonly referred to as part of our Mobility DNA, Print DNA or DataCapture DNA. (And several of them are free!) Though I could probably write a novel about all the cool things you can do with these tools, I’ll keep it simpler today.
How Zebra DNA Makes Your Team’s Life a Lot Easier
App developers love to come up with new software solutions that make workers’ jobs easier. But they are tired of rewriting code for different mobile computing, printing and scanning devices. So, we’ve given them a way to write an app once and apply it across multiple device platforms. We’ve made it just as effortless to customize and integrate print apps.