What IS the next big thing?

on Monday, June 15, 2015 8:15:00 AM

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen the mobile device industry drastically change. Years ago the trend was to have a Blackberry, then a flip phone, and now we have touch screen devices – some of which you can answer with your watch! But even with the technological advancements that so overwhelmingly impresses us, we’re not just talking about the change in look. The actual size of these devices has dramatically changed as well. When cell phones first hit the market, it was considered a trend to simply have one – the look or size didn’t matter. Then it turned into wanting phones that would slide open and become “bigger”, followed by having a phone so compact that it could easily fit inside a shirt pocket. And now it’s evolved to a having a phone with the largest/widest screen ever. So we wondered, in terms of these devices, how much does size matter? What IS the next big thing?

These same questions can also be applied to the server rack/cabinet industry. What IS the next big thing to hit our market? Currently, the standard 19” EIA rack dominates the industry. But will that always be the case? In recent years wider cabinets have made their way into the market. So we asked ourselves, will those larger sizes take the cake and change the face of our industry? Or will racks and cabinets follow the cell phone trend and go smaller and more compact? Just how much will a few measly inches impact our industry?

Well, let me tell you, whether or not our cabinets shrink or become wider, size does matter! In fact, it will dramatically affect the way Kendall Howard and other manufacturers do business! Whether you’re a reseller, installer or end-user, it doesn’t matter, you’ll feel this shift.

On the one hand, if racks and cabinets grew wider, those couple of extra inches will leave you with room for larger/wider equipment. Seems simple enough, but by having more width in your rack means more space to expand your network and electrical capabilities, and potentially your overall abilities. It also could mean cutting down on the amount of physical space you need therefore making your IT footprint smaller, more efficient, and perhaps even less cluttered. And if the industry does “go big” we are already somewhat prepared. There are some accessories out there that work with wider equipment to help hold smaller devices and components in place. So in this case, we can adapt to the size and bigger is better.

But what if the industry “goes small” and now your equipment doesn’t fit? What will you do then? As far as we know there’s no bracket or hinge that can make large devices fit into small spaces. (It’s like trying to fit a giant square peg into a small round hole – it just won’t fit!) If this were the new trend, you’d have no choice but to replace all your devices and components with new products that will fit. Yes, with smaller network systems you could save some space, but at what cost? Is it worth it? Before we act we should consider how “going small” would affect us and if smaller is better.

Regardless if the trend “goes big or goes small” both would definitely add some major to-dos to everyone’s lists. Sadly there’s no magic wand to suddenly make all your electrical devices the right size and fit just perfectly in the new size. And there’s no genie to change out the components for you either – that immense task is still on the shoulders of the installers. So yes, when it comes to the IT rack and cabinet industry, size does matter and does make a difference!

Now that we’ve evaluated the effects a new size standard rack would have on the industry, we pose this question again: What is the next big thing?! What, if any, new size will take over the industry? And if a new size indeed sweeps the market, is it smart for Kendall Howard to switch its core model and redesign all of our components, racks, and enclosures to accommodate the new size? Is it worth the major change? We’d love to hear your feedback on this so please email us at sales@kendallhoward.com and tell us what you think! What do YOU think is the next “big” thing?


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