November 27th, 2019
Of Camels, Horses, and Integrated Adjustability
Camels are interesting animals. Strong, tough, and uniquely shaped, they have served humanity in one capacity or another for almost three millennia. The camel’s adaptability to harsh climates is legendary, a huge factor in why humans began domesticating them so early and continue to do so to this day.
Sadly, not everybody appreciates the excellence of the camel. Indeed, common parlance has it that camels are really horses designed by committees: too many compromises and too many conflicting ideas. The result: a bad-tempered beast with strange humps and an ungainly walking style. The camel is an analogy for inefficient design processes, while the horse, a made-for-purpose, custom-built running machine, is superior in every aspect through consistency of design. Clever, right?
Well… no. Although the saying is intended to be a swipe at large-scale group projects rather than the camel as a species, this perceived wisdom seems a little strained for modern times. Even cursory searches show plenty of examples of groups collaborating successfully to create some of the best-known products around. In fact, collaboration for technology projects is now so efficient, that solo developers have become something of a rarity.
Yet the comparison of camels and horses is still an apposite one, albeit in another, more contemporary sense. The contrast describes one of the biggest challenges facing technology companies worldwide today: the choice between adaptation and integration. On the one hand are the “camels” – products that have maintained the same basic design for decades but have been adapted to tech-happy times with new features added on top. On the other hand, “horses” represent the bespoke, thoroughbred products of the current digital era.
If you look, you can see this concept developing all around: the demand for total integration is a rapidly developing theme. Apple is selling watches, Google is developing self-driving cars, and Facebook is experimenting with cryptocurrency, not because they are playing the same game as Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, or Bitcoin, but because their transferable strengths in other areas allow them to create a unique proposition for the market. Currently, most “horse” projects are still in an exploratory phase, but as they are refined over time, the “camels” of the technology world will become extinct.
Let’s continue the camel vs. horse theme into the equally fascinating world of height-adjustable furniture. There too, we can see similar forces at play. A quick look through an assortment of online product brochures confirms that any number of companies can (and do) provide a wide range of “camel products”: control boxes, actuators, collision sensors, and hand controls: sold separately and on demand. The question is: do they really work with each other?
To the extent that these components make tables move upwards and downwards, the answer is yes. However, as the camel shows, sometimes mere functionality is not enough if it doesn’t match the prevailing zeitgeist. The modern world demands we make integration seamless, and the mechatronic furniture industry is finally ready for the year of the horse.
Our kingdom for a horse.
At LOGICDATA, we pride ourselves on thinking differently. So, when the question “why not make a horse?” was finally asked, our global team of adjustable enthusiasts rose magnificently to the challenge, and a short while later, the DYNAMIC MOTION system was born. Instead of simply providing products to be used as part of a wider system, we decided to redefine our offering to the market by producing the system itself.
There are many reasons why we think our approach shows the future of adjustable technology, but one that stands out for our customers above all others: value.
Value isn’t limited to price, but products that are uneconomical have no value at all. Fortunately, our highly streamlined approach has allowed us to keep development costs under control, as well as reducing turnaround times. Meanwhile, our institutional knowledge in production, testing, and quality assurance means that wastage is minimal. In short, because more of the money we receive for our products goes into development and refinement, we can produce industry-leading technology at a competitive price point.
This is a view shared by LOGICDATA Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Stefan Kieler: “The increased demand for height-adjustable office furniture has led to increased competition. Price pressure from competitors in developed and emerging nations is a significant challenge we have to face, but it drives us to become more efficient. Vertical integration within the value chain has helped us to bring products that can cope with this price pressure to market, not just as singular components but as highly-efficient mechatronic packages.”
More, for less.
Efficiency is a concept we pass onto our customers when it comes to creating their own systems too: the DYNAMIC MOTION system was designed specifically to facilitate the creation of breathtaking mechatronic adjustable systems with as few components as possible.
There are just eight products in the DYNAMIC MOTION system: two Power Hubs, with 240W and 360W maximum output respectively; three actuators for single and dual-stage columns (inline and 90° applications); and three hand controls: basic, comfort, and the innovative EASY2move paddle switch.
Even taken individually, these products – beautifully designed and ergonomically optimized – are magnificent pieces of engineering, yet it is when we consider the way in which they work as one, streamlined unit that the picture becomes clearer. The DYNAMIC MOTION system’s unique Plug&Play system means that variations of the Power Hub – Actuator – User Interface troika can be used to craft three distinct types of table system – Standard, Benching, and Conference Applications – and within these systems, infinite configurations and styles.
The game changers in this regard are the integrated control units within each of the system’s actuators, which eliminate the need for external control boxes and provide independence; and the DMP360, a superbly efficient Power Hub that can deliver motion to up to 24 separate table legs within a benching system.
This flexibility allows our partners to create incredible value propositions for their customers, without compromises on product quality, user safety, or simplicity. In fact, the Plug&Play concept and simplified mounting methods for the actuators and hand controls means that it’s never been easier to put a height-adjustable workplace together.
Within the systems themselves, fewer components means lower prices. On the basis that most market-standard control boxes offer control over just two motors within a system, even a modestly assembled benching application in which six, two-leg tables are controlled by one Power Hub makes an awesome difference to our partners.
A dynamic future
DYNAMIC by name, dynamic by nature. According to LOGICDATA CTO Stefan Lukas, DYNAMIC MOTION is just the beginning of the company’s focus on integration. “It’s a question of constant innovation on both a product and production level, being critical, and looking to add value for the customer wherever possible. Bringing costs down is vital to being competitive in the industry, but there’s only so much tweaking around the edges that can be done: sometimes the solutions have to be more disruptive. The DYNAMIC MOTION system is probably the best example of this, but there will be others in future too. We must continue to be aggressive. More optimization, more cost improvements, less time wasted. More than I believe in any particular product we sell, I believe in our ability to deliver that.”
Click here to get more information about the DYNAMIC MOTION system.