During my travels over the past several years, I have noticed a growing trend with traditional ODMs shifting from simply providing SBCs and modules to focusing more on highly integrated solutions. I view this as an evolution beyond “me too” designs – where products are developed simply because the competition is doing the same – to a better understanding of how end-customers and applications benefit with a highly streamlined integration approach. Some of our ODM partners really made an impression on me with their keen understanding of how to apply technology to a variety of everyday scenarios. Some of these partners even build “true to life” implementation scenarios within their respective customer engagement centers. What an impact it makes if you can simulate a mock café setting where the digital menu boards display lively and engaging content, followed by the register or point-of-sale (POS) system continuing the same theme of eye-catching visuals, and finally on to the café tables where interactive systems are embedded within to entertain, communicate, and even educate patrons! Consider all that in contrast to the conventional display of a static demo board or system where the possibility of what can be done is merely discussed verbally and not demonstrated visually.
I recently attended an exposition in China where I noticed this contrast in stark relief: The level of integration was very apparent and had a profound impact on how successful the event was viewed. In talking with some of the vendors there, it became clear that there were two trains of thought: either the show was a success, or the show was not a success. I noticed that those who fell in the former category displayed highly integrated solutions – systems doing something relevant – hardware and software integrated together and applied in a real-world scenario. Those who fell in the latter category displayed boards or systems sitting static, displaying some sort of generic video, or perhaps running under extreme conditions (submerged in water, operating in a hot environment, etc.). Naturally, how “successful” an event is viewed is relative, but the general vibe I noticed was that those who felt the event was successful – those with the more integrated solutions – seemed excited and charged up about the prospects in their target markets.
Integration is a logical step in the evolution of the embedded market and it is very interesting to see how ODMs adapt to better integrate solutions. It will be exciting to see how this continues to play out in the marketplace.
Kelly Gillilan is a Product Marketing Manager for AMD Embedded Solutions. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.