Plug-In Storage Systems, Inc.

Cambrionix helps US government and military supplier save $200k a year on mission-critical mobile technology development

Challenges

  • High cost and resource demand of maintaining in-house expertise
  • Help customers manage complex, restricted and information-sensitive work environments

Solution

Benefits

  • Delivers annual $200k savings on new product development
  • Increases competitive advantage and reduces time-to- market for new products
  • Makes entering new markets faster and less costly
  • Enables PSSI customers to make mission-critical operations more efficient and secure
  • Introduces new, innovative mobile device management and control feature

Challenges

Plug-In Storage Systems, Inc. (PSSI) is a US business that manufactures and markets mobile device charging and syncing cabinets. PSSI serves a broad range of customers in the communications, power and electronics industries. But its largest customer sector is the US military and government, particularly the US Air Force, where its products support operations such as mission-critical aircraft maintenance.

When PSSI started in the 1980s, all product design and manufacturing was done in-house, but developing charge and sync technology was proving costly and difficult to keep abreast of latest advances.

Marc Karpel, CEO and founder of PSSI, says, “We used to develop our own charging circuit boards, but our business model was changing. We didn’t really have the expertise and it was taking people away from their main focus – building products that meet our customer needs. There is no point us trying to re-invent the wheel, so why not let a business like Cambrionix with its considerable knowledge and innovation, provide us with its technology.”

Although PSSI had worked with Cambrionix over a number of years, it was a specific project for a customer – needing new USB Type-C charging technology - that heralded a much deeper relationship. Cambrionix was, and still is, the only technology company in the world able to provide USB Type-C technology for mobile device charging and syncing.

Solution

Today, PSSI uses the OEM version of the Cambrionix PowerSync4 technology which supports the latest USB Type-C Power Delivery specification and connects four devices to a single host computer. Cambrionix has helped to make PSSI, one of the few charging cabinet manufacturers able to offer USB Type-C charging.

PSSI incorporates the Cambrionix technology into all of its charging cabinet products which can be customised depending on number and type of devices, level of security and deployment environment.

Beside the charging hardware, a critical part of the solution is the Cambrionix Application Programming Interface (API). This sophisticated software enables PSSI to customise the way the charging units operate. It automates, monitors and controls each port so that PSSI can determine how the cabinets provide essential management capabilities such as monitoring current consumption, total connection time, charging time, turn power on/off to individual ports, emulate different charging profiles and read USB VID/PID.

Karpel says, “We use Cambrionix products because, quite frankly, nobody does charge and sync technology as well as Cambrionix. But if that wasn’t enough, it’s also the way Cambrionix supports us and responds to our needs and the needs of our customers. Where some suppliers have a ‘take it or leave it’ approach, if we need the circuit boards to do something, the Cambrionix engineers are on it right away and delivering new firmware updates pretty much same day.”

“We use Cambrionix products because, quite frankly, nobody does charge and sync technology as well as Cambrionix. But if that wasn’t enough, it’s also the way Cambrionix supports us and responds to our needs and the needs of our customers.

Where some suppliers have a ‘take it or leave it’ approach, if we 
need the circuit boards to do something, the Cambrionix engineers are on it right away and delivering new firmware updates pretty much same day.”

Marc Karpel, CEO and founder
PSSI

Benefits

For PSSI, one of the main benefits of using Cambrionix technology has been mitigating the need to invest in special charging and syncing infrastructure and expertise. It allows PSSI to focus on its core business and expertise of developing and customising cabinets and improving the way its customers use and manage mobile equipment. PSSI estimates this saves the business over $200,000 every year in labour costs alone. In addition, PSSI is able to pass on cost savings to its customers by developing and manufacturing products that are competitively priced.

“Cambrionix is very important to PSSI because it saves us time, money and resources, and allows us to focus on what we are good at. But it’s also the other benefits like better and faster product development and the innovation that we can deliver to our customers,” says Karpel.

Another advantage of the Cambrionix solution is its API software. Because it interfaces with PSSI software, the company can introduce a number of innovative features into its products such as inventory management, device identification, device user and time in and out. These kinds of features are particularly important in information-sensitive environments such as government, military and healthcare.

The equipment that PSSI supplies enables its customers to perform mission-critical operations more efficiently and securely. For example, US Air Force maintenance engineers have replaced paper manuals with tablets which are housed in secure, robust PSSI cabinets in aircraft hangers. The Cambrionix technology incorporated into the cabinets means tablets can be charged overnight, but importantly manual changes, software updates and security patches can be uploaded automatically. This helps remove the need for bulky paper manuals and regular hardcopy updates. It is especially important in the aircraft industry since it gives operations an effective mobile device management system. In turn, this supports replacing heavy documentation on an aircraft with tablets which reduces weight and helps improve fuel efficiency.

The Cambrionix technology has helped PSSI enter new markets by bringing products to market faster and for less investment. For example, PSSI is launching a range of cabinets for the healthcare sector. Real estate in the health sector is at a premium, so PSSI has designed units for restricted work environments such as nursing stations on hospital wards. Clinicians, who now rely on mobile devices to manage healthcare provision at the bedside, can use the cabinets to lock devices securely while not used, but also have important medical information and device security updated every day.