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Rugged and enterprise-ready

01 Nov 2011

Motorola Solutions is billing its new ruggedised ET1 tablet as a ‘game-changer’, saying it opens the doors for resellers to have ‘exciting new conversations’ with customers. Gary Starr, Motorola Solutions Australia and New Zealand managing director, says the tablet, which he says is ‘true enterprise-class’, will initially be targeted at retail customers – though the company also sees much wider applications for the ET1. "For the first three to six months our focus will be very much within the four walls of retailers – it’s where we have a big footprint and deep knowledge already,” Starr says, adding that the tablet could prove instrumental in ‘assisted selling’. Next evolution "Assisted selling is the next evolution. With the advent of online shopping, people are looking for more compelling experiences in store,” Starr says. The device could be used by ‘un-tethered’ retail staff to immediately check stock availability and show clients’ products in different colours, for example. Sales staff could also be prompted to ask customers if they need ‘companion’ products aligned to that which they’re buying with the customer ab;e to see the product on screen. "It’s a great chance for upselling,” Starr says. "Retailers also don’t want staff going in to the back office – they want them out on the floor in front of customers. Definitely retailers are looking at ways to create compelling experiences for shoppers.” Starr says the device also has productivity benefits, including uses in end-to-end supply chain management. The ET1 features enhanced durability, optional barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader, hot-swappable battery packs and secure system software. Industrial strength accessories such as secure multi-slot recharging stations are also available. The Wi-Fi-enabled tablet can be shared and instantly provisioned for each employee according to their job. "Research tells us that our customers are looking for developments like this to help drive customer experiences and productivity,” Starr says. The company expects to sell ‘in the thousands’ in New Zealand within the first year or so. "If you look at some of the companies which already have 500-1000 mobile computers and translate that out to fleet sizes, I think you’ll see thousands in the first few years.” Globally, analysts have predicted that the market for this type of form factor will grow from 3.6 million units this year to 50 million in 2016. Channel reaction Motorola Solutions started its New Zealand channel training programme last month and Starr says partners have been quick to express their approval. "Our channel partners are very excited. It’s a totally new category of device and opens the doors for new conversations with customers. "Our customers have a much greater expectation of what does [a product] do to help my business – they want the use case, not just to know about the technology.” The ET1 will ship by Christmas. Motorola Solutions has also announced its RhoElements web-based application framework.