zebra logo

The Visible Value Blog


Posted by John Wyer

Find me on:

November 3, 2017 at 5:29 AM


With global online sales predicted to reach $8 trillion by 2020* – pretty much all of our customers speak of a number of common challenges: warehouses are carrying more items, orders are more complex, peaks are extreme, new workflows need to be introduced (e.g. processing returns) and the pressure’s on to deliver next-day.

Technology must play a role in meeting these expectations – especially your workers’ mobile devices. And, with the need for operators to work faster and with more accuracy in mind, we’ve designed our new rugged tablets, the ET50 (Wi-Fi) and ET55 (Wi-Fi and 4G), to be ‘warehouse-ready’. But what does that mean, and how can the tablets help your teams do more?


Our design team has spent a lot of time working alongside warehouse managers, pickers, fork-lift drivers, packing teams and more. We unloaded and put-away, we picked large orders, and we tracked, packed and shipped items. As a result of these observations, we’ve designed the tablets to:

  • Be versatile: The tablets mould to the requirements of different users. For example, they can be mounted to forklifts or pallet trucks to give Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) operatives visibility into tasks and apps where they need it most to improve productivity and efficiency. They can also unclip and use the device as they move around on foot. Similarly, supervisors such as warehouse managers, yard and dock leaders can access data on the go to quickly sense, analyse and act in response to events happening in real-time.
  • Be slim but tough: The devices look like high-end consumer tablets. But comparisons end there – they can withstand a hose-down from water (as this video shows), are impervious to dust, and survive 1m drops to concrete (1.8m with the use of the thin and light rugged snap-on shell).
  • Be easy to use for long periods: The tablets come with a range of carry options including body, shoulder and belt straps and can be connected to our other devices such as printers and scanners, using Bluetooth.
  • Excel at data capture: Two cameras are available for general data capture. But if your users are regularly stock-taking, checking prices and processing deliveries or returns we suggest using dedicated scanners. These come in the form of a ring scanner – wirelessly connected to the device (that can be worn using a strap or belt clip) – for total hands-free operation, and, a high-performance integrated scanner. The integrated scanner comes as an option with the ‘expansion back’. The expansion back screws into place instead of the existing battery cover and includes a standard or rotating hand strap and an auxiliary battery. The scanner can be used to quickly and easily capture NFC tags and any type of barcodes or RFID symbols including those that are torn, faint, scratched, and otherwise comprised for fast, accurate and uninterrupted data capture.
  • Display everything clearly: Warehouses can be low-light environments, while teams in the loading dock may work in the rain or in sunlight. The versatile screen on the tablets can cope. It’s not afraid of the weather – it will continue to work in the wet – and can be used with gloves, while data entry options include a finger or a stylus. The high-definition screen is perfect for viewing and managing EDIs, spreadsheets, Warehouse Management Systems and more.
  • Work as hard as your people: With technology shared across across teams and shifts the tablets are designed to be different animals to power-thirsty consumer devices. With our range of hot-swappable batteries* (and extensive charging options and cradles) they provide your teams with perpetual power – 24X7.


The tablets are geared up for business in other ways, too. Our partners have built ready-to-go apps (e.g. for improved tracking and image capture), there’s a choice of Windows or Android operating systems (with enhanced security features for Android), they can be remotely managed for things like software updates and we’re committed to supporting them for three years after end of life which is typically three years. When combined with the productivity benefits and rugged build of the tablets, which reduces total cost of ownership, we’re confident that the ET50 and ET55 provide the best solution to meet the demanding needs of today’s fast-paced warehouses.


Topics: Warehouse