Overview of the Computer Hardware Industry
The computer hardware industry produces hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue per annum. Sales have struggled recently as tablet sales have overtaken the number of desktop PC’s sold each year. New production innovation is helping to replace diminishing margins from falling unit sales. Consequently, many larger original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have merged in order to survive and share distribution and advertising costs. Intense competition has meant Global vendors choose to outsource operations to component makers based overseas (where labour and unit costs are relatively low). Many Asian based countries dominate the assembly, design and manufacture of hardware of electronic components.
The computer hardware industry involves the manufacture, production and distribution of central processing units (CPU), mainframe, storage and memory, servers, terminals, desktops and laptop technology and computers. There is a host of internet connected devices available from a vast array of vendors. These vendors include specialist suppliers, resellers, wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors. Many niche supplies offer computer accessories rather than try and compete with Global manufacturers for PC sales. Computer hardware accessories include PDA’s, power surge protection, wireless printers, scanners, servers, sound cards and portable storage media.
Broadly speaking, the cost as computer hardware continues to fall, processing power of computers continues to increase. The commoditization of hardware began in the days of personal computing. These days tablets, mobiles, smart phones and handheld devices now outsell desktops. Research and development by computer manufacturers based in Silicon Valley or near universities means product innovation is high.
The growth of the internet continues to drive down volume prices of computer hardware and accessories. Price comparison websites and gadget centric marketing have also commoditised hardware prices by persuading consumers markets to upgrade to the latest “must-have” low cost devices.
Small businesses have also profited from lower prices as huge leaps in processing power provide opportunities to work flexibly, share information and stay connected. Yet as business becomes over reliant on computers to function, so business owners must continue to invest, maintain, secure and exploit computer hardware within their business. Many non IT literate owners find it challenging to keep up with fast-moving technological changes.
When a PC breaks, finding a computer repair specialist is usually a simple exercise of scrolling through a local business directory. A wide variety of hardware maintenance and support services exist. For small businesses, many professional services are dedicated to the SME market. In the corporate sector, the computer services industry is dominated by hardware manufacturers with dedicated service divisions set up install, repair, and maintain customers machines. The support roles include system engineers, technical trainers, network analysts and call centre staff.