• Microgrid Death Spiral: The Argument Over “Obsolete” Power Infrastructure

    Microgrid Death Spiral: The Argument Over “Obsolete” Power Infrastructure

    In January of 2013, the Edison Electric Institute released a report titled “Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business”, which outlined a variety of challenges traditional power utilities will face in the upcoming years. The current power infrastructure in the United States wasn’t constructed with end-user power generation in mind, so the increasing power independence of households and businesses creates threats of “irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects.” Chief among new technologies are advanced renewable energy sources, including solar, and the growth of grid-independent distributed power generators, aka microgrids.

  • Counterfeit Components Hurt More Than Military Applications

    Counterfeit Components Hurt More Than Military Applications

    When reading the news around counterfeit components, much of the dialogue is driven by the defense industry. When you are dealing with systems that protect our national security and the lives of the people out in the field – you’re not dealing with counterfeits in a bunch of trivial electronics. You’re taking necessary steps to protect the lives of men and women who depend on the systems for their safety. Since 2011 more than 1800 cases of counterfeit components were reported in defense applications, including mission computers operating the THAAD missile system, in the Air Force’s C-27J, in the Navy’s P-8A, and in electromagnetic interference filters on an SH-60B helicopter.

    However, the trouble with counterfeits isn’t limited to the defense industry and the military. They’re just currently the ones driving the conversation and legislation such as the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, Sec. 818.

  • Obsolescence: Too Soon or Not Soon Enough?

    Obsolescence: Too Soon or Not Soon Enough?

    It is strange how onboarding the concept of legacy sustainment can change the way you look at the world around you. On a recent road trip along one of the nation’s many two-lane highways, I found myself wondering about the thousands upon thousands of wooden utility poles dotting the landscape. How often are they repaired? […]

  • Software Obsolescence: Why Modernization Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Modern”

    Software Obsolescence: Why Modernization Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Modern”

    For players in the embedded industry it is easy to forget how large the problem of obsolescence can be, especially beyond the component level. Recently, I was talking to a software engineer who had spent a year doing software modernization, as a result of upgrading a flight navigational system from the original code to Linux.

    The reasoning for the transition certainly made sense—the program was having difficulties finding software engineers who could continue to sustain programming that had been implemented during the early 1980s. While the system was incredibly robust and was considered “bulletproof,” it could no longer be supported the way it had been. Under pressure to upgrade, the program moved to Linux, which has a community that affords an active and growing resource for talent.

  • 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 […]

  • Counterfeit Components: More than parts — it is about people

    Counterfeit Components: More than parts — it is about people

    With the dialog about counterfeits in the supply chain, it is easy to lose track of what counterfeits actually mean.  Yes, they will hurt your business. Yes, they can lead to heavy penalties and jail time, but counterfeits can also lead to jeopardizing lives; a risk that could otherwise have been avoided.

    I am always looking for recent numbers and reports to keep the topic fresh and moving forward. But, recently, as I researched my paper for the upcoming SMTA International conference, I’ve come across some new numbers that drives home, once again, how vulnerable everyone is to the issues around counterfeits.

    I personally take an average of 2-4 flights every month. According to the FAA, the amount of travel Americans are doing both for business and recreation is increasing. It is projected that the total number of people flying commercially on U.S. airlines will increase from 732 million to 746 million in 2013, and increase to 1.2 billion by 2032. And in 2010 the FAA estimated that some 520,000 counterfeit parts make their way into planes each year.

  • 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 […]

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