New Approaches

I’m in full summer swing. I’ve already logged my first week of bicycle commuting, though I’m still a couple of minutes off last year’s pace. I’ve found half a dozen opportunities to get the kayak in the water. And I’m already so tired of mowing the lawn that I’m thinking about getting a goat. My neighbors aren’t excited about the idea, but it would certainly be the green solution.

Summer arrived abruptly this year and it was a bit disconcerting. Sudden change can make you feel like you’re being forced to make decisions too quickly. Is it safe to leave the long johns in the closet? Is it too early to plant the tomatoes? Should I buy one goat, or two?

But when you step back and look at the bigger picture, change doesn’t seem all that threatening. In fact, it’s exciting. New circumstances create new opportunities.

We’ve been pursuing some new opportunities at B&B lately, and you’ve probably noticed. Here’s a quick description of my own perspective on the changes, followed by some techie stuff.

First, we’ve partnered with many more regional and specialized distributors. This will make B&B products easily available through your preferred channels. You’ll still be able to get them directly from our factory, of course, but the new emphasis on working with distributors will be very useful for many of you.

Have you seen our new catalog? We haven’t abandoned our catalog business, but we’ve changed the focus. We’re now using a sleek, thinner book that doesn’t try to list everything in the warehouse. It highlights new products and lists only the most popular of the existing products. We’re still doing our bit to keep the Post Office afloat, but we’re saving a few trees, too.

As you know, B&B has been deeply involved in wireless for a long time. Now we have expanded our expertise and capabilities even further through the acquisition of two companies that operate at the wireless cutting edge: Quatech, with their focus on wireless, and Conel, with their focus on cellular communications. Together we will have a mix of wireless products and solutions that will cover every eventuality. It’s going to be a wireless world and we’re positioned to be right in the thick of things.

We’ve changed our logo to reflect the changes. As you can well imagine, that will mean redoing everything from product labels and business cards to quick start guides and the signs in front of our buildings. We won’t finish the job overnight. But products will be getting rebranded with the new logo as we go along, and it’s quite possible that you’ll see the updates in your very next shipment.

Did you see the video that I put together about the new APXG a couple of weeks ago? The more I talk about this product, the more excited I get. On the outside it’s just a little box with a couple of RS-232/485 serial ports, an Ethernet port and two Wi-Fi antennas. But if you take a peek under the hood you’ll discover some very powerful software. The AXPG is a router, a wireless access point, a wireless bridge, a wireless client and a DHCP server all in one tight little package. And it does a lot of other tricks, too, like serial tunneling. Put those capabilities in a single box and you’ve got one of the slickest communications solutions that I’ve ever seen. This thing is perfect for those messy applications that are located out at the edge of the network.

For example, let’s say you wanted to expand a production work cell, adding a scanner and a scale. And you’ve got Ethernet. It would be easy, yes? Any rugged Ethernet serial server could provide the connectivity to the scanner’s RS-232 port and the scale’s RS-485 port. But what if Maintenance wants to be able to log in and see the diagnostics info with their tablets? An Ethernet serial server won’t do that. But the APXG will. Just pop up the diversity antennas on the APXG, set it to be a wireless access point, and it will allow up to eight wireless clients to communicate simultaneously.

What if you don’t have Ethernet? No problem. Just configure the APXG as a client and use its DCHP server to connect the local Ethernet devices. Then beam a Wi-Fi signal to it from the nearest point of network access. Now you’ve extended the reach of your network, and you’ve created a complete M2M network of Ethernet and serial devices with a single box solution. Like I said: slick.

EETimes just published a short article featuring the APXG. The story includes some nice information on the pitfalls of Ad Hoc wireless connections as well. It’s worth a read if you’re doing anything with Wi-Fi. Here’s the link

That’s all for today, folks. I have to go see a man about a goat.