New technologies, evolving customer demands, and global competition are creating substantial development opportunities in rugged technology. Previously unconnected technologies are integrating through the IoT, and AI is driving the need for an ever-increasing amount of data to improve predictive accuracy. In addition, leaders and functional experts prioritize getting these insights as close to real-time as possible to improve process efficiency.
As this segment continues to create more complex needs, there is also a growing demand for added sustainability in customizable computing solutions that adapt to diverse scenarios and accommodate changing conditions, even over extended usage periods. Industry leaders at companies at the forefront of their market understand the importance of minimizing downtime and processing inefficiency to get their desired result faster and conserve energy.
Reinventing Rugged Industries: Putting the User in Control
Standardized, off-the-shelf devices can help companies reduce costs through economies of scale. Still, they often fall short of meeting the specific needs of an industry or an individual organization. It is becoming increasingly clear that a “building block” approach is insufficient. The industry is actively seeking computing solutions that can adapt to changing trends and diverse scenarios, delivering the customized experience they need to achieve their goals. Trends like sustainability, AI, and vertical integration are helping to provide rugged technology customization for businesses.
Sustainability Trends Enabling Customization
A 2022 McKinsey report indicated that raw materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, and plastics account for 20% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As companies adopt approaches to improve sustainability in their supply chain, this movement can provide additional options to customize design solutions for their customers. By adding certified green materials and processes, businesses can design unique solutions to achieve their desired sustainability goals and maintain rugged performance.
Some sustainable alternatives that rugged companies pursue are composite materials using recycled and repurposed post-consumer materials. These increased material options replace less sustainable stock materials, providing manufacturers with more options for customized, sustainable solutions.
The priority for greater energy efficiency can also create customization options for rugged equipment manufacturers. Manufacturers can modify existing products or features with non-standard changes to improve energy efficiency. For example, integrating components, minimizing electrical transmission paths, or implementing more energy-dense parts all deliver improved energy efficiency.
Application: S410 Rugged Laptop
Getac’s independent Material Research and Development Team incorporated recycled composite materials into the S410, improving product sustainability while maintaining the power, mobility, and connectivity its users love.
AI is Improving Customization
Another emerging trend has been incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) in rugged devices. AI’s predictive capabilities rely heavily on collecting and processing big data. The more data technology collects, the more accurate the interpolation and response of the AI is in response. Rugged devices can incorporate additional sensors, 3D cameras, noise-cancellation microphones, and AI-based noise-cancellation features to improve signal integrity and increase data gathering. As AI computations become more intensive and the demand for integration with edge computing is growing, robust computing capabilities while maintaining rugged device performance are essential.
Application: Battery hot-swapping
Most rugged devices in the industry are mobile to support all-day operations in remote and hazardous conditions. As a result, the technology demands extended battery life, significantly as AI drives added processing needs. Getac’s LifeSupport™ battery-swapping feature is a prime example of how the company addresses this need, enabling hot-swapping to let work continue until the job is done.
Vertical Integration: Added Supply Chain Control to Empower Design Flexibility
The recent pandemic highlighted the importance of a tight supply chain and has forced companies to evaluate their approaches toward supply resiliency. Some have added requirements for dual suppliers, while others have taken functions in-house for enhanced control over production priority. Choosing the best path depends on a company’s strategy.
Getac, for example, supports diverse applications that require rugged technology. It is about allowing workers to customize their approach and excel under varying scenarios. Getac maintains many supply and manufacturing functions, an arrangement known as vertical integration. This strategy enables rapid adaptation to a customer application’s customized needs, including a unique fiber NIC to address a specific customer need.
Vertical integration also provides Getac access to frontline workers who can give further insight into use cases, using this feedback as voice-of-customer insight to adapt solutions and address their needs. Finally, vertical integration enables the company to ensure scalability for customized products from the initial stages of product innovation with complete visibility of supply constraints. This benefit delivers scale economies that make it easy to afford unique solutions.
Application: X600 Fully-Rugged Mobile Workstation
The X600 fully-rugged mobile workstation demonstrates how Getac understands the infrastructure challenges that military members (90% of the X600’s users) face through its vertically integrated supply chain. Military user feedback shaped the workstation development, which can function as both an edge server and cloud server with mobility, customized to the use case. This design helps to deliver project success, especially in scenarios where setting up fixed infrastructure is not feasible.
Customized rugged technology is no longer a desire for businesses but an expectation. Getac delivers technology flexibility for its customers by leveraging sustainability solutions, enabling AI integration, and leveraging vertical integration.
Getac has two internal teams to handle customized product development solutions for its customers: Industrial Design (ID) and Product Management (PM). PM focuses on market research, use cases, UI/UX, and product planning to ensure the solution meets the immediate need and can address a broader market need if appropriate. ID then executes product development, ensuring consistency with the customer UI/UX and market needs at every step. This team also conducts validation and quality testing and assures standard compliance with each product.