Digi-Key evolves to offer targeted websites for IoT and maker community
Clearly enjoying his role as Vice Chairman, Mark Larson is spending his time identifying and developing areas for Digi-Key to grow the catalogue distributor further.
As President and COO, he oversaw many changes for the company, including establishing an online presence and eschewing a print catalogue. Visiting London, Mark Larson had two new tricks up his sleeve: a website for Automation and Control, and a site dedicated to the maker community.
The Automation and Control website groups devices under product sectors, accessed via clicking an icon (like a switch on the production line) on the landing page’s graphic. “This is going to be very, very strong,” predicts Larson, citing Digi-Key’s relationships with Panasonic and Omron, lines which the distributor has carried for years, and which are showcased for automation and control users, rather than components and board customers. The inventory will appeal to the design engineer wanting to expedite a design without having to re-invent the wheel, to get to market. A lot of modules are wireless, with listings from u-blox and Nordic Semiconductor, for control and IoT development.
Another initiative, presently in the beta stage in the US, is maker.io, a dedicated maker community website, powered by Digi-Key. Although hobbyists have been loyal customers of the distributor for some time, Larson points out that the tag line for the site is ‘from maker to market’. He explains that the site, which will be available in Europe around April 2017, is site will be able to guide the user through stages such as Design, where tools can be introduced (including the Mentor Graphics-Digi-Key collaboration Designer Schematic and Designer Layout tools). The next stage is Prototyping and Funding, whether crowd sourcing or traditional means of funding. Next is Markets and Production, where considerations are laid out, followed by the final stages of Distribution and Sales Support. “I believe makers will find this a very interesting and friendly site,” says Larson. It targets those who are board building and need individual components, where they can securely move to the Digi-Key site to purchase.
The company has also introduced the Mobile App Cart which can be synchronised between mobile phones, desktops, tablets for product selection and purchase.