Rahman Jamal -Global Technology & Marketing Director at National Instruments
The big bang of smart devices is creating an inflection point in automated test – for both the test managers and engineers challenged with ensuring the quality of these devices at increasingly lower costs, and the vendors that serve them. To test their smart devices, organizations are transitioning from the status quo of rack-and-stack box instruments and closed turnkey ATE systems to smarter test systems that deliver ongoing connectivity and problem solving capability that meets or exceeds the device(s) under test.
There are two approaches to serve the test and measurement industry. One approach assumes that the vendor is smarter than the customer and the vendor ultimately knows what the customer needs better than the customer himself. This approach deals with complete fixed functionality point solutions. I would say for several decades of test and measurement, this strategy was exactly what the market needed and demanded. So, it simply made sense because things were a lot simpler at that time.
So when we move on to look at what is happening in the market today we see that the world is changing, things are getting a lot smarter, a lot more things are being connected. This phenomenon is known by many names, whether it is Internet of Things, Connected World, Internet of Everything, Make in India or Industrie 4.0 in Germany– another term for smart factory. The fact is that devices and systems are getting smarter and if you jump to traditional, vendor-defined test and measurement strategies to solve these applications, you would be confronted with a fundamental challenge.
Because each application is unique and each of their test systems are therefore unique and require customization. And if a test vendor decided that they were going to service each and every one of these requirements in the old paradigm, they would need more engineers than they could afford and be too slow. To try to keep up, customers try linking multiple boxes together – when they really were not intended to be used together. And customers are getting frustrated, as they find these type of instruments slow, expensive, and big. We at NI understand this and actually understood this the day when NI was founded 40 years ago. From that day on we took a different path than the vendor-defined closed-box approach.
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