National Instruments: The Quintessential Platform Play

There are as many ways to innovate as there are companies.  Products.  Services.  Cost.  Reach.  National Instruments is a quintessential platform innovation play.  While some companies find a market or a customer and optimize a product around that application, NI has chosen to invest in a few very flexible and very powerful architectures to address a wide range of applications.  In some ways it seems counter to the mantra of being “customer-focused”, as the platform is, by definition, “general purpose”.  Indeed, it is very difficult to design architectures that must compete against purpose-built products.  But if done right, it can reap huge rewards by creating a business model that turbocharges time to market and flexibility, enabling a company to address a broad set of applications efficiently.

All this is readily apparent to anyone who attended NI Week this past week in Austin, Texas.  You can read my entire report from NIWeek 2013 here.

You will also find there:

  • NI’s FlexRIO strategy as programmable FPGAs
  • New PXI and PXImc products
  • Applications in RF, mil/aero, and physics
  • PXI development card from Hiller Measurements
  • A link to my participation on an RF Panel

Again, the entire article is here.

FPGAs Supercharge Instrument Flexibility

A growing number of instrument vendors are giving users the ability to customize internal FPGAs, delivering a significant increase in flexibility and speed.  While the automated test metaphor since the 1970s has been fixed-definition hardware instruments controlled through flexible programming, this recent trend now allows users to program the hardware definition of the instrument itself.  Who is doing this, and how?  What may this mean for the industry?  Many solutions in PXI and AXIe, but what about traditional boxes?  How are these programmed?  To find the most succinct summary written, follow the Masters of the FPGA Tour here