NI Wants To Help Customers Bring Data Out Of Their Silos With New Offerings

By Patrick Moorhead - August 17, 2021

This week NI (Formely National Instruments) held its annual "NI Connect" event where it talked about partnerships, products, and how NI is tackling data analytics. This may sound surprising given the company's test equipment heritage, but it is clearly on a path to help its customers do more with data versus just capturing it. Therefore, it makes sense that the event's focus was exploring how test analytics and data analytics can be utilized for future generations of innovation. I've said before, in all reality, enterprises are utilizing only about 5-10% of data for anything useful. CEO and President of NI, Eric Starkloff, said in his keynote that this data is sitting in silos waiting to be sifted for insights and analysis. I say enthusiastically that he is right.

The folks at NI are driving to improve that statistic and provide tech industries with data analytics capabilities. Let's take a look at what NI announced at NI connect.

Products to utilize the goldmine of data

NI announced improvements and updates to its open-source software platform LabVIEW. NI says LabVIEW 2021 has interoperability improvements with Python and MathWorks MATLAB and support for version control using Git and usability enhancements.  NI has also included access to LabVIEW from any OS with its license and a new Real-Time module for LabVIEW 64-bit to develop 64-bit applications.

NI has also revamped its SystemLink software, giving it new UI customization options and simplifying the product navigation. NI says SystemLink now manages and simplifies test scheduling, resource utilization, system health, and maintenance for what I believe should make for accelerated phases of the product life cycle. I think one of the reasons 95% of data is underutilized is because of undermanagement. More data can be utilized in the product lifecycle by focusing data and test analytics in a simpler and more manageable space.

SystemLink's software configuration page with new UI changes. NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

NI announced its new PXI Hardware solution that enables Software-connected workflows. NI's PXI system was critical for testing 5G RF FEM earlier in the 5G explosion, and I have no doubt NI's new PXI system should make just as big of an impact. Modularity is the open-source of hardware and plays a significant role in allowing innovation to happen freely. According to NI, PXI hardware delivers openness, software options, modularity, and I/O coverage for adaptable and scalable systems and is NI's first 2-slot PXI Chassis.

NI also announced two new products that move into ADAS for the AV space and the wireless space. NI partnered with Seagate to combine NI's ADAS offering and Seagate's Lyve Mobile edge storage and data transfer service to provide storage as a service (STaaS) solution. Rather than OEMs and suppliers using self-managed storage, NI's Edge Storage and Data Transfer Service (DTaaS) can do it at a reduced cost in an efficient manner. NI says its ADAS Record offering has a storage capacity of 200+TB and data throughput of >6GB/s. I think IN's offering of DTaaS is a smart play in terms of how offering these data-specific products and software plays into analysis and insights. The service model allows NI to actively offer its ADAS record offering rather than a more hands-off approach.

Ettus USRP X410 software-defined radio platform. NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

NI's new wireless offering is its Ettus USRP X410 software-defined radio platform (SDR). The Ettus USRP X410 combines general-purpose processors, FPGAs, and RF front ends for designing, prototyping, and deploying wireless systems. It has a frequency range of 1MHz to 7.2 GHz and supports LabVIEW, open-source USRP Hardware Driver, GNU Radio, and MATLAB. It also features FPGA development tools, including LabVIEW's new FPGA tool and RFNoC framework. The Ettus USRP X410 echoes customer feedback to make for a beefy open-source solution for accelerating wireless innovation.

Wrapping up

It's almost pedantic to say "data is the new oil,"- but it is. If you look at the most valuable companies on the planet, they either process or utilize data for commercial or societal improvements. How we collect, analyze, and use data plays a significant role in bringing products to market. As I said earlier, NI's heritage was to measure that data, and now it is moving to help its customers get value from the data. 

At the event, NI improved its software offerings LabVIEW and SystemLink to tackle data analysis with more interoperability between tools and better management features. 

NI's hardware offerings look forward to how modularity plays a role in product development and innovation. It's PXI hardware allows reduced costs without compromising modularity. NI's strategic collaboration with Seagate to bring an ADAS solution as a DTaaS offering will also be cost-effective for customers. I believe this will have a positive effect on the AV space. 

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.