The Rugged PDA is becoming the centre of line of business solutions, and as this happens we are all finding we’re living in a very different and fast changing world. The fundamental shift we are seeing right now is from one of “Data Capture” to one of powerful do it all line of business application. You can conjure up the image of an outpost, satellite or something in the “Data Capture” device and more of a resourceful, self repairing special forces chap or chaps in the other!
The fact remains that the Rugged PDA is going to bare more business weight than ever as we see the latest young wave of kids take up their decision-making and management positions and it’s interesting to see who’s accommodating this and who isn’t in the Manufacturer, Distributor and Reseller world. I think it’s certainly an area where the newly adopted phrase “Bigger IS NOT better” sits as comfortably as anywhere.
As this shift occurs, we rely more and more on manufacturers to bend and flex with this change. If they don’t (And believe me they won’t and by the time they will, they’ll find out they can’t anyway) they will bring us all down and I think we’re at the limits of this now. So what to do?….
….In our madness here at RAM we think the concept of open sourcing your Rugged PDA is the strategy that is required in the future. This not about making everything for free, although LINUX has done pretty well hasn’t it. It’s about a focus on making a superb Rugged PDA and then letting others repair it, accessorize it, make it unique with the ultimate aim of adopting it as a solution all wrapped in their own little services and world. How deep and rich would a market like this be and how innovative would it become? At the moment everyone has to sell the same old stuff, its hard to be truly different without major business risk and I think there are people who like it this way!
Sounds great to me but the main problem is that it will mean manufactures will need to make their products more honest and transparent. We will need PIN outs, full parts availability or even the ability to make our own, and a community where customers and competitors will be motivated to share and help each other with the goal of supporting the platform we all live and die upon. Will the larger manufacturers of today do this…I think not because they will also have to learn how to settle for less too in the new world that is dawning, I can tell you they won’t because I have already had the conversations with them.
So will the rugged PDA leaders of tomorrow be the same as today…Certainly not, in fact some probably haven’t even been born yet as companies but what is true is that there’s a whole shift in general attitude that will inevitably drive us to doing things in a way that I think most manufacturers will not be flexible enough to do.
Food for thought if for nothing else.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.