Digital technologies have created new opportunities for integrating advanced data and analytics into workflows, giving utility field crews the ability to stay connected, and capture, assess and share critical data while on the job. The harsh environments that these crews operate in are unfriendly to electronic equipment, highlighting the need for rugged mobility devices that can hold up in any setting. In August 2018, Zebra Technologies acquired Xplore Technologies, a leading developer of rugged tablets and performance accessories.

Utilities that have invested in a mobile workforce are seeing vast improvements in business efficiency.

Instrumental to successfully digitising mobile workforces are mobile devices that can withstand the scorching sun, blinding dust or heavy rain, and there aren’t many good options in the market today.

Not all devices are created equal

Many tablets claim to be ‘rugged’. This is often based on the Ingress Protection (IP) rating, which indicates the sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies and moisture.

However, this rating doesn’t tell the whole story. While consumer devices can tout these IP ratings, it does not mean that all aspects of ruggedness were addressed, such as drop protection, vibration protection, port cover sealing and screen strength.

The Zebra L10 tablet is rated as IP65, which means it’s totally dust tight and protected against water projected from a nozzle – even when the port covers are open. Yet the IP rating is just one piece of the puzzle.

Utility field crews spend most of their time outside, in all weather conditions. Virtually nothing – including gloves, rain and snow – stops users from entering information on the L10 tablet’s bright 500 nit display, which can be upgraded to a 1,000 nit View Anywhere® display, ensuring the screen is easy to see in any lighting.

It can withstand a drop of 1.8m onto plywood over concrete or a drop of 1.2m onto concrete, which is in compliance with MIL-STD-810G – a US military drop test standard.

It is C1D2 certified, which makes it safe to use in potentially hazardous environments where flammable or explosive gases, or certain chemicals and vapours, could be excessive under abnormal circumstances.

It also has a magnesium-alloy frame for harder-than-steel durability. The L10 tablet family includes the XSLATE, a lightweight slate tablet; the XPAD, which comes with a hard handle and built-in barcode scanner option; and the XBOOK, a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet complete with a keyboard for desktop configuration.

Unlike consumer-grade devices where the warranty only lasts for one year, Zebra’s L10 tablet comes with a three-year standard warranty, providing businesses with a lower total cost of ownership and peace of mind.

The best of both operating systems

Zebra’s range of rugged tablets have the speed, intelligence and security needed in enterprise mobile computing environments, and are capable of working in extreme temperatures and environments – which most consumer tablets simply can’t do.

The L10 was first released with the Windows operating system (OS). In July 2019, Zebra introduced the Android OS to the L10 family.

While Android mobility solutions are relatively popular, the low-cost, consumer-grade Android devices aren’t built to withstand the physical rigours of field use.

With the L10, utilities can now enjoy the familiarity of an Android OS without compromising on the tablet’s functionality, durability or security.

This partner content is brought to you by Zebra Technologies. For more information, visit

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

©2024 Utility Magazine. All rights reserved


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