by Ryan Pratt, Founder, CEO, Guerrilla RF
MPD: How is your company addressing the many constraints that the pandemic has placed on business operations?
We are addressing the constraints of dealing with the pandemic by being very flexible. We are flexible with employees, allowing them to work in the office with social distancing or at home working at the best times of day for them.
We are being flexible in supporting our customers by stepping up our level of support. For example, some customer engineers are working from home with limited SMD rework equipment. We have made tuning changes to sample evaluation boards, sent them to the customer to measure, then had them shipped back to us, reworked based on customer feedback, and sent out the revised board again.
MPD: The adoption of open architectures is accelerating in many markets, from wireless to defense. Do you feel your company and the RF and microwave industry as a whole benefit from this initiative?
I think open architectures offer threats and opportunities for our industry. On the negative side, one of the main purposes of open architectures is to commoditize the hardware. This would potentially hurt the profitability of our products. Also, open architecture standardization could reduce opportunities for innovation, leading to suboptimal system performance.
On the positive side, open architectures present an opportunity to dramatically increase the size and growth rate of markets. Bigger markets mean bigger revenue streams and the ability to grow our industry. I think open architectures can clearly be a net benefit for us despite the downsides.
MPD: Technologies such as direct RF sampling are reducing the number of analog components in receivers and, increasingly, transmitters as well. Do you feel that the “digitalization of RF” will have an impact on your business?
I think digitalization could have some impact on us, but not generally in a loss of revenue. There are several parts of RF communications that just can’t be digitized in an efficient, cost effective, and/or performance optimized way. Digitalization has been a strong trend in the industry for at least the last 15-20 years and yet analog products are still thriving. As modern communications standards require greater spectral efficiency, greater linearity and sensitivity are required from the system. Any time this is the case, analog components will have a place.