Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) today face an increasingly complex ecosystem when it comes to the number of hardware and software components to be integrated to deliver a product that delights their customers. OEMs in consumer electronics, industrial, healthcare, communications, and IoT are all facing exponential growth in complexity.
Let’s take a small subsystem of wireless connectivity in a new product. The choices for a product’s wireless roadmap include Bluetooth (BLE), WiFi 6, EasyMesh, Zigbee, or Zigbee Mesh and combinations thereof. Any new product has a host of sensors components to deliver an impactful and intuitive user interface. Figure 1 below shows a small snapshot of the electronics product ecosystem.
OEMs define which ecosystem partner to use for what part of the product roadmap based on several factors, including complexity, volume, intellectual property value, partner support channel. An OEM may work directly with a component vendor for a critical component like memory or CPU, may want to use COTS hardware for others, and may decide to custom design board for other pieces. And that’s just the hardware piece. (This will be a topic of another blog soon to discuss the relationships between those factors and selected partners).
At Benison Technologies, our OEM customers have always relied on our partnerships with component vendors to help integrate wireless technologies in OEM products. Our customers value the expertise we have built with component vendors e.g., Cavium and Marvell rely on us for customization of their drivers for OpenWRT.
The increasing complexity and number of components in a product’s lifecycle drives a need to strengthen partnerships with our distributor partners. A collaboration between distributor and system integrator has become critical to successful product launches for three reasons:
- Access for Innovation: Distributors provide access to the newest components and pre-integrated kits for prototyping. System Integrators can work with Distributors to accelerate proof of concepts, test a variety of configurations, and finalize the production configuration that works for cost, delivery, and technical requirements.
- Knowledge Exchange: Specialized Distributors act as value-added resellers between various hardware partners and system integrators. System integrators bring a critical understanding of changing customer requirements throughout the product lifecycle and help distributors understand the changing dynamics such as lot size and hardware versioning based on the product life cycle.
- Time To Market: Distributor’s available inventory combined with system integrator’s expertise provides the best path for accelerating the new product introduction cycle from component identification, integration, quality checks, and product launch inventory prep.
Benison + Digi-Key Design partnership looks forward to continuing our heritage of engineering quality products that delight our OEM customers’ customers.