What is Lifecycle for Industrial Computers?

What is Lifecycle for Industrial Computers?

September 26, 2018

The term Lifecycle carries different nuances, depending on the industry in which it is used. In general, it refers to the various stages of a project or product deployment within a company. Within the IT world, it can refer to the different stages within the lifespan of a specific piece of hardware or software that a company is using. This is a very useful definition within the world of IT. However, when one talks about lifecycle for industrial computers, targeted towards the OEM, the term takes on a different meaning.

In the world of embedded computing, Lifecycle is defined as: The length of time that a manufacturer has committed to selling a product. This length of time starts from the release date of the product and ends when the manufacturer no longer offers the product for sale (otherwise known as the product End of Life).

To someone unfamiliar with this particular definition, it may seem a bit counter-intuitive. At first glance, most people would think that it refers to the length of time that a computer would last before it can’t be used anymore. But there is already a term for this, and it is Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF).

Why does lifecycle matter?

There are many reasons that computer lifecycle would matter to an OEM. And it varies from industry to industry. But the top three reasons are as follows:

  1. Minimize costs associated with product redesigns

    Product changes can have a cascading effect of incompatibility resulting in further product redesigns at best, and a higher failure rate at worst.

  2. Make field service more manageable
    Having a product SKU with a BOM that remains the same for 5-7 years makes field service substantially easier. In contrast to a BOM that changes yearly as components go end of life.
  3. Minimize expensive product recertification
    Depending on your industry, component changes can result in the need for a long and costly product recertification process.

To get more information on how to maximize your lifecycle, and how to evaluate a computer vendor’s ability to meet your lifecycle needs, check out New Era Electronics’ white-paper on the subject: