…and What You Can Do Embedded and Application OEMs both face issues with their customers when product life cycles are longer than originally anticipated. Thinking critically about servicing systems past component EOL notices is vital for effective forecasting and maintenance, not only for end users but for manufacturers as well. Paying attention to the following […]
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.
How End-of-Life sometimes feels…
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.
2011 wasn’t an easy year for DRAM manufacturers. The move from notebooks towards tablets and technology using NAND flash did nothing to bolster a struggling semiconductor industry. In this type of scenario it becomes common for manufacturers to shift their focus from older technology to newer ones. This process often leads to End-of-Life (EOL) decisions and component manufacturers sending out Last-Time-Buy (LTB) notices.
In addition to the immediate challenge of feasibly supporting products with obsolete components, embedded OEMs must focus on latest-and-greatest solutions, developing new solutions to satisfy their customers’ evolving demands. As the embedded industry shifts from older technology like DRAM to newer and more popular applications like NAND, customers can find themselves faced with a choice between over-stocking of so-called “obsolete” components, and phasing out older and less popular systems.
I must admit, I’m looking forward to the upcoming Embedded World 2012 presentation on Model Based Design and Testing of Embedded Systems for the Train & Transportation Industry by Franck Corbier, with Dassault Systèmes. Why? Because I have an old-fashioned side of me that loves nothing more than hours on a train, traveling across country. […]
The conference that was bigger than I even imagined. As any business owner knows, you are always going to find new conferences, events, or trade shows you didn’t know about, and are really glad you discovered. Medical Design & Manufacturing West 2012 (affectionately known as MD&M West, or #MDMwest in twitter parlance) took place this […]
Whether you’re checking out his illuminating talks on the nature of the universe, theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity; watching him play himself on Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons and Futurama; or geeking out to MC Frontalot’s rap, science, and quotations; chances are you’ve heard Stephen Hawking’s iconic voice. What most people don’t realize is that while […]