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Innovation

Pioneer in Obsolescence Management and Legacy Sustainment for embedded technology

  • Innovating Obsolescence: When the Supply Chain Is Around Your Throat

    Innovating Obsolescence: When the Supply Chain Is Around Your Throat

    Obsolescence can pose a grave threat to individuals, economies, and nations. Security and defense receive a great deal of attention in our Critical Thoughts section, partly because they are domains in which obsolescence is highly visible and easily conceived. In fact, the defense industry has its own acronym, that specifically outlines the necessary steps to avoid problems caused by counterfeit and obsolescence.

    The medical industry can be a loaded topic for a variety of reasons and, unsurprisingly, obsolescence within the health tech field can be equally touchy. Obsolescence in medical technology forces us to take a critical look at some of the equipment we use every day to help millions of people around the globe—equipment we’d much rather assume was cutting edge and in tip-top shape. Like defense systems, the embedded electronic systems in the health field save lives, keep people healthy and able to work, and ultimately contribute to the stability of loved ones and nations around the world.

  • Arrow ACT Masters: An Environment of Innovation

    Arrow ACT Masters: An Environment of Innovation

    GDCA enjoyed the privilege of being a part of this year’s Arrow Electronics ACT Masters 2013 in Denver CO.  Arrow’s technical sales force was trained in a centralized fashion while suppliers got a first glimpse of Arrow’s strategy and technical roadmap.  This year’s theme celebrated the spirit of innovation by acknowledging the expertise of Arrow’s […]

  • COTS: A “reactive” good idea (continued)

    COTS: A “reactive” good idea (continued)

    To answer the question, we need to look at the issues of innovation from a different angle; namely economics and markets. Free markets are a wonderful concept as long as the motivation and incentives are aligned in the right way for all the players in order to achieve the set objective. So let us look […]

  • Sometimes Obsolescence is a Good Thing

    Sometimes Obsolescence is a Good Thing

    Throughout my work with GDCA and all the issues around obsolescence, I have never come across someone who believes that obsolescence is something to be celebrated and welcomed.  Everything associated with obsolescence is considered something to be avoided.

    The concept of planned obsolescence brings with it connotations of either designing a product to wear out too soon or creating something newer and better to encourage people to upgrade.  Forced obsolescence brings connotations of scrambling to source the parts that will keep legacy systems sustainable and having to redesign or recertify systems not yet ready to upgrade.

  • Legacy and NI Week 2012

    Legacy and NI Week 2012

    When people think of “legacy”, they often think of what is being passed along or left to the future.  We believe a business’ legacy is the lasting mark they make on the industry, impacting future generations of innovators. That is why I look forward to the keynote addresses at NI Week.  Each day demonstrates the […]

  • No one wants to be left with EOL overstock

    No one wants to be left with EOL overstock

    On one of the blogs I read, someone commented: “If you’re concerned about counterfeits in obsolete components… don’t worry about to-be-discontinued components — just design them in, and buy what you need to support the product anyway.  Then you won’t have to worry about counterfeits.” On the surface and if you are only worried about […]

  • Does Innovation = Forced Obsolescence?

    Does Innovation = Forced Obsolescence?

    Is there a downside to new technology innovation? We all love and encourage innovation, but what is the hidden cost?

    Critical embedded applications in the Defense and Medical industry are a great example of where this question comes into play. Both these applications have people’s lives relying on them, and both require extended life cycles due to critical verification and certification requirements.

    If an OEM experiences sharp drop in demand for a particular embedded board, it doesn’t make any business sense to continue building more, and the board will likely become obsolete. Everyone understands that an OEM can’t remain competitive if they have to support every product they’ve ever developed… forever. But if that board is still being used in the defense or medical industry, suddenly the systems engineer is faced with diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) and higher risk of exposure to counterfeits if obsolete components must now be sourced.

  • GDCA: Celebrating 25 Years of Legacy Support

    1987 takes us back: a dozen eggs were 65 cents, a gallon of gas was 89 cents, you and the family may have tuned-in to watch the premiere of a show called The Simpsons.  The last 25 years have been exciting for everyone. Technology has evolved at an amazing rate, and we are honored to support the legacy of this growth. It is because of this technology evolution that GDCA exists.

    In 1987, the embedded industry was only just beginning to feel the early pains being caused by the growing gap between obsolescence and the support needs of long-life systems.

    Foreseeing the difficulty and expensive this would mean for both OEMs and their customers to support what eventually became known as legacy applications, Martin Plotkin recognized the embedded industry needed an alternative.

    This vision paved the way for us to bridge the embedded obsolescence/legacy gap. We are proud of how far we’ve come in the 25 years since we opened our doors as GD California.  Today, as GDCA, we are still a quality manufacturer of legacy products, but with an accumulated track record and experience that provides insight and support for businesses worldwide.

  • Vehicle Electronics and the U.S. Army’s New VICTORY Standard

    You can see in the picture of this Humvee (HMMWV), with all the bolt-on equipment there is barely room for the driver.

    Imagine, in order to do your daily job, you had Linux for email, an Apple II for web browsing, an old Windows 95 tower for excel spreadsheets, and a DOS machine for word processing. Rotary phones only work for some people you need to call, and you need a cellphone for others. Floppy drives, zip disks, punch cards, tape spools, fax machines, scanners, and a dot matrix printer… and the various hardware is all proprietary, yet necessary.  Not only is there no room for you at your desk, you seem to spend a lot of time (on your touch-tone phone) with technical support.

    Like the image above, modern combat vehicle electronics can resemble a bowl of hardware spaghetti.  Different “bolt-on” devices and adaptors are stitched together by multiple suppliers who may be using different standards and interfaces.  With barely enough room for a soldier wearing body armor, integration and interoperability have become key concerns.

  • Reflecting on VITA’s Embedded Tech Trends (ETT 2012)

    Reflecting on VITA’s Embedded Tech Trends (ETT 2012)

    Following its development in the late 1970s by Motorola, VME bus continues to see wide use across many different equipment industries today. In fact, the first COTS VME boards to enter the domestic market (c 1983) were the MVME101 CPU and MVME110 CPU, both of which are still supported by GDCA today (though no one’s asked in a while).

    Founded in 1984 from the VME Manufacturers Group, the VMEbus International Trade Association (VITA) champions working groups formed to develop specifications and standards important to designers of critical embedded systems around the world.

    Considering our VME legacy and long-standing support for the folks at VITA, you can imagine how excited we were when VITA debuted their new, member-only conference, Embedded Tech Trends, January 16th and 17th, in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

    Formerly known as the Bus and Board Conference, Embedded Tech Trends (or ETT 2012) is the “business and technology forum for critical embedded systems.” This year’s focus was VITA technology applications, and the “fruits of the spec-developer’s labor.”

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