What ISVs Need to Know About Zebra’s “Savanna” Announcement

Zebra Technologies' CTO discusses the company's new platform designed to give application developers powerful data.

Prior to today’s Zebra Technologies’ announcement concerning its new Savanna data intelligence platform, DevPro Journal sat down with Matt Kowalski, Senior Manager, Operations, Chief Technology Officer at Zebra to learn more about how ISVs can benefit.

Mike Monocello, DevPro Journal: Why is Zebra’s referring to its new platform as a “brain?”

Matt Kowalski, Senior Manager, Operations, Chief Technology Office at Zebra: Zebra is introducing Savanna, a federated data intelligence platform designed to empower enterprise applications. Savanna enables applications to take information from Zebra mobile devices, scanners, printers and 3rd party devices, provide analytics and turn it into actionable insights. Savanna analyzes real-time and historic data and then uses it to make predictions.

Savanna validates Zebra’s transition to a digital company by enabling new capabilities for our hardware portfolio and a new range of enterprise asset intelligence (EAI) solutions. Zebra is also launching a Savanna platform early adopter program with five partners to facilitate the development of vertically-oriented applications using edge data and associated insights from Savanna.

Savanna’s APIs and developer tools allow an open ecosystem of partners to quickly, easily and cost-effectively create secure applications that integrate into other platforms and traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Monocello: What makes this brain different than other data platforms out there?

Kowalski: With the continued adoption of mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT), the edge of enterprise operations are becoming increasingly connected. This unprecedented, growing level of connectivity is generating vast amounts of actionable data about processes and assets that can be leveraged to transform workflows to improve business performance and outcomes.

Savanna provides a means for Zebra, its partners and customers to build applications that make use of this edge data in near real-time to mobilize insight and actions that deliver new levels of service, productivity and profitability.

Monocello: From a technical standpoint, how does this platform enable software developers and integrators?

Kowalski: Through application program interfaces (APIs), the Savanna platform is designed to empower enterprise applications, built by Zebra and its partners.

Monocello: How did Zebra determine which companies to include in the trial?

Kowalski: Zebra initiated an EAI Early Adopter Program, and launched the program at the Zebra AppForums globally. Many qualified companies applied, and it was difficult to choose only five. There were multiple dimensions to consider in partner selection, but in the end, the primary selection criterion distilled down to use case value and velocity to jointly achieve.

Monocello: How long will the trial last before others can access the platform?

Kowalski: The program will last six months – during the early adopter program, Zebra and the five selected participants will develop EAI solutions. Going forward, Zebra partners will be able to develop and sell new enterprise applications that use Savanna data sets. Partners will be able to gain new revenue streams through the development of solutions on the Savanna platform. Savanna is expected to be generally available second quarter of next year.

Monocello: What resources is Zebra giving to these companies to ensure the trials are given the best chance to succeed?

Kowalski: Selected participants will receive early access to Savanna, its tools, resources and data, along with Zebra resources and services during the program period. The partners will work with Zebra to co-develop new applications or enhance existing applications with new contextual data made available through Savanna. In addition, partners will have the possibility of participating in joint marketing, publicity and thought leadership activities. These pioneers will be able to gain “first-movers’ advantage” to achieve new revenue models and market opportunities

Monocello: If other software developers/integrators read this and are interested in participating, is there any way they can? What actions can they take?

Kowalski: Continue to stay tuned to Zebra’s communications on Savanna, and approach their account manager for more information or to schedule a call to discuss their interest. 

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The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.