Samsung Inks Massive Mobile Enterprise Deal With Walmart

It’s a three horse race between Samsung, Apple and proprietary devices for enterprise mobile supremacy. I've written a lot about Samsung and its thrust into the business market in recent years, as its mobile B2B unit has become increasingly well-developed, open, flexible, and, perhaps most importantly, secure. Last year it significantly expanded its enterprise presence, bolstering its Software-as-a-Service SaaS with the introduction of AppStack, Samsung's new B2B SaaS marketplace. At the same time, Samsung has been improving on its Knox mobile security solutions suite, specifically in the mobile enterprise sector. 

At the beginning of 2020, Samsung's increased thrust into the B2B market did not go unnoticed, as Walmart was looking forward to improving its "Connected Associate" program. While juggling the difficulties of the pandemic, Walmart approached Samsung to discuss opportunities for digital transformation in Walmart stores, and last month, Samsung and Walmart announced it was scaling this partnership nationwide. Let's take a look at how Samsung is helping Walmart transform the retail associate experience. 

Connecting the associate 

One of the silver linings of the 2020 pandemic was the push for companies to make the digital transformation earlier and quicker. Many companies, like Samsung, picked up on this and filled the gaps to help companies, largely medium to small businesses, make the digital transformation. The partnership with Walmart is natural in that Walmart's vision to empower Walmart associates follows in line with Samsung's B2B offerings. Walmart needs the extensive capabilities found in the Samsung Knox Suite and a suitable device for work and personal use for its employees to run the Me@Walmart app.  

Walmart associate using push-to-talk at Walmart retail store. WALMART

You can read here about Samsung's Knox Platform for Enterprise and its broader Knox B2B offerings. Walmart's appeal to the Knox suite is its tools to help with automated enrollment, firmware management, device and Wi-Fi network analytics, device loss and prevention, and deep device customization. Since Knox is built into the Samsung device chip up, Walmart associates will be able to use the device as a tool for work without it affecting the associate's personal use of the device. Walmart deploys Zebra devices to its associates for work and has a BYOD(Bring Your Own Device) program. With the Zebra device, associates cannot use it for personal use, and with the BYOD program, associates lack secure enterprise offerings. Samsung devices with Knox Platform for Enterprise fill what both solutions are lacking by allowing associates to have a personal Samsung device without compromising the device's security.  

Samsung's POS solution eliminates the need for POS hardware. SAMSUNG

I think the partnership successfully executes Walmart's vision to help its associates succeed by giving them what they need. Walmart plans to offer more than 740,000 associates a new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone free of charge makes this partnership a win for Samsung, a win for Walmart, and a win for Walmart associates. Although the device returns to Walmart when an associate leaves the company, I think Walmart associates will be happy to receive a free device that includes a case and a protection plan. Walmart does not restrict the usage of these company devices outside of work hours. Also, associates can bring their devices home at the end of the day and use them as their personal devices if they so choose. According to Walmart, it did an initial test with the new smartphones that came back with a positive response.  

The right device for the job 

The device that Walmart chose for its employees is the Galaxy XCover Pro that Samsung launched last year. It launched the Galaxy XCover Pro under a new device category for frontline workers to improve frontline workflow and communication. The enterprise-grade smartphone device is rugged and sturdy enough for field settings while still stylish, chic, and sufficiently lightweight for customer-facing jobs.

The XCover Pro provides a unique balance—a sleek, chic, lightweight device that is also rugged, durable, powerful, and secure. The XCover Pro also comes with a long-lasting battery, powerful camera, and immersive display—the sort of things you would want in both a work and a personal device. The XCover Pro features software and hardware solutions from the likes of Infinite peripherals, KOAMTAC, Scandit, and Visa, for barcode scanning, inventory tracking, payment processing, and more. It also has Samsung's POS (Point of Sale) solution that eliminates the need for dedicated POS hardware. It also has a 13MP single front camera and a 25MP dual rear camera. The rear cameras are perfect for Walmarts newly added Me@Walmart feature that uses AR to scan multiple boxes at once to help the associates get products to the shelves faster. An intuitive way to use AR to make work easier and more enjoyable. The XCover Pro also features a glove mode to use the device without removing safety gloves and a walkie-talkie capability for integration with the Me@Walmart app.  

Samsung XCover Pro being used to check the Me@Walmart app WALMART

The XCover Pro also has features that associates will find most enjoyable, like a 6.3" FHD+ Infinity Display and Exynos 9611 with 4GB which is enough to play demanding Android games. It also has fast charging and a user-replaceable battery for all-day use. I think Walmart Associates will find the XCover Pro to have more than enough to suit everyday needs. It is one thing to be given a free device by a company, and its another to be given a device that provides many of your personal wants for a smartphone. It's also worth noting that the deal does not include a cell service. I see this as a positive since it brings to light that there are no strings attached to the personal component of the deal. Workers are also not limited to using the device for personal use when on the clock.  Associates can use their devices to access schedules, clock in, manage inventory and scan barcodes, and then use the device with all their personal device features and privacy. This streamlining and efficiency is what innovative digital transformation is all about.   

Wrapping up 

Samsung has done a great job of scaling its mobile B2B platform, and its new partnership with Walmart is a clear testimony. I am familiar with many of Samsung's offerings and, while it is one thing to write about how they are going to change businesses, it's a whole other thing to see it happen. I think Samsung is streamlining end-to-end enterprise security while catering to large and diversified customers like Walmart with focused hardware designs. 

Note: This write-up contains contributions from Moor Insights & Strategy researcher, fact-checker and writer, Jacob Freyman.  

Patrick Moorhead

Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.