Verizon Business certifies Zebra devices for private 5G in US

Verizon Business, the enterprise division of US network operator Verizon, has introduced a range of rugged smartphones and tablets to go with its private LTE and 5G networks in industrial venues in the US. The new devices, by US-based Zebra Technologies, are designed (“purpose-built”) for workers in the transportation, logistics, retail, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. Certain include multi-SIM functionality to roam between private and public networks. 

Specifically, Verizon Business has certified two handsets (TC58 and TC78) and two tablets (eight- and 10-inch versions of the ET45) from Zebra; it is also offering the Illinois firm’s Zebra Enterprise Browser with warehouse management system (WMS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software as part of its approved portfolio of private cellular solutions. Zebra said the browser “simplifies how customers load and execute their own customer applications”.

As well, the various devices include Zebra’s own enterprise software applications and tools (Zebra Mobility DNA; plus connectivity to its Zebra Workcloud software solutions) to “help customers better track inventory, manage projects and communication on job sites, and keep manufacturing processes and industrial workflows moving smoothly”, said Verizon Business in a statement. The firm argued Zebra’s devices have “more network capacity to work with”, presumably based on the idea of a comparative surfeit from privately-owned infrastructure and airtime. 

It highlighted private team comms (“instant and secure voice communication among groups of users”) as the go-to application in any number of enterprise environments (“from warehouses to manufacturing sites to industrial work zones and shipyards. In particular, Verizon Business said it is targeting retail, warehouse, and transportation / logistics as candidate sectors, variously suggesting applications around inventory management, asset tracking, scheduling and timekeeping, task management, site management, equipment management, forecasting and analysis.

It also referenced more vertical-specific applications like point-of-sale connectivity, forklift operations, and parcel dimensioning. It said the multi-SIM capability on certain devices offers “near-seamless transitions” between an authenticated private network and Verizon’s public network. Verizon Business is offering a trade-in for customers on certain older Zebra devices.

Steve Szabo, vice president of business products for Verizon Business, said: “As a network provider, Verizon wants to make it easier for customers to get the devices and software they’ll need to take full advantage of their private network as soon as possible. Partnering directly with Zebra Technologies accelerates the timeline from adoption to implementation, giving critical days or weeks back to businesses that can get caught up in protracted cycles of getting operations up and running.” 

Julie Johnson, senior vice president and general manager of enterprise mobile computing at Zebra Technologies, said: “We are excited about this collaboration with Verizon as private 5G represents a significant inflection point in wireless connectivity – providing a major technology and performance upgrade that will drive enhanced visibility and operational benefits for our enterprise customers. Zebra is committed to integrating 5G across the company’s entire portfolio, giving our customers more flexibility for their wireless and mobility needs.”

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