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Devices Multiplying and Why 5 + 5 Really Does Equal 10

Posted by Steve Northcott

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January 27, 2015 at 8:10 AM

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Do you sometimes get the feeling that electronic devices can breed? It certainly feels that way in our household where there seems to be a never ending number of new devices. Now all these new devices are fantastic, but they also bring their share of frustrations. For example, trying to find the correct charger and difficulties in sharing apps across multiple platforms and operating systems. I always think that while things work, there are areas that could be improved.

Now this got me thinking. If I am experiencing set up and accessory issues with just a few, albeit incompatible, devices in my home, what is it like for an IT manager tasked with managing hundreds or thousands of devices, especially if you add things like providing support, ensuring security, rolling out new apps and training into the mix. And if those devices included many different models then it must get even more complex to manage.

What if you had the opportunity to buy a device and a year or two down the line, when you need additional devices, it will still be on sale? You would not be forced to buy the newer model and deal with any incompatibilities that might bring. Also, what if it lasts for five, or even ten years?

The Symbol TC70 Touch Computer is the latest handheld mobile computer to be released by Zebra Technologies and is designed for use in Enterprise environments such as factories, warehouses and shops. It comes with the promise that it will be sold for five years and supported for a further five years beyond that.

But will the TC70 really last for five years, in a rugged enterprise environment? In addition to IP67 sealing, the TC70 is tested to operate reliably, even after 2,000 x 1m turns in Zebra’s tumble drum — the equivalent of 4,000 hits. That is 1 hit every day for over ten years! For more details on how the TC70 is designed for rugged enterprise use, check out this video.

Okay, so the TC70 might last for ten years. But how do you back up your claim that it will be sold for five years and supported for a further five?

One way is through Product Lifecycle Analysis. This is a process, invented by Zebra Technologies, specifically for this task. For each product introduced, the entire bill of materials is analyzed throughout the development cycle, and any components that are at risk of going end of life prematurely are identified. Solutions are then found to minimize this risk, such as dual sourcing or looking for alternative parts/suppliers. In this way, we help to secure the future supply and make sure that 5+5 really does equal 10.

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About the author: Stephen Northcott is the Senior Solutions Marketing Manager for Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics for Zebra Technologies in EMEA. Stephen works closely with other teams to introduce new solutions and ideas into EMEA. Find me on LinkedIn.