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. He must now consider a costly system re-design, or forced upgrade, involving a loss in resources that could have been focused on something more productive.
This leads us to an important question……Can new technology coexist with legacy embedded systems that still work, and prevent complete forced obsolescence?
The answer is yes – The key is to apply the very idea innovation to solve this problem, creating solutions that allows innovation to continue without sacrificing the long term support for critical applications that can’t (or don’t) need to upgrade yet.
These solutions have saved systems engineers, expensive redesign and re-certification (until they’re ready to upgrade), while helping embedded OEMs maintain customer loyalty through resolving conflicting demands for new innovation and a need for long term support.
The GDCA Team