Gamber-Johnson has installed its products in thousands of fleets worldwide for industries like law enforcement and public safety.
Any company that intends to keep up with the evolution of mobile technology must boast an R&D department ready to meet demand for new accessories and match the lightning speed of today’s communication industry. Gamber-Johnson has kept up with the communication industry since its launch in 1954, and today is no different.
“The best way to look at this era is with respect to our line of tablet docking stations, which have proliferated the consumer market for commercial and public safety fleets,” says Brian Wagner, president of Gamber-Johnson. “We went from having four or five different docking stations just three years ago to 15 to 20 different models now.
“There is a lot of quickening of the pace of change in our market and product development,” Wagner adds.
Founded in 1954, Gamber-Johnson is a leading supplier of rugged computer mounting systems and vehicle mounting components as part of the Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products group. Since its launch, Gamber-Johnson has used its innovative spirit to become the preferred choice of fleet managers throughout the world.
Gamber-Johnson has installed its products in thousands of fleets worldwide for industries like law enforcement, public safety, telecommunications, utilities and the military. The company’s clients include the Baltimore Police Department, Pittsburgh Police Department, Houston Police Department, the Fire Department of New York, Virginia State Police, Dominion Resources, PSE&G, BellSouth, AT&T, GE Appliance, PG&E and the U.S. Army.
With headquarters in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Gamber-Johnson maintains resellers, installers and OEM partners throughout North America that offer a full line of vehicle mounting systems, computer mounts and mobile docking stations for most vehicle applications.
The ongoing growth of the mobile communication industry is directly proportional to the size of new devices – the newer the product, the smaller the next evolution of the product will be.
“The megatrend we see is the shrinking of the devices, so we’re having discussions of wearables and handhelds,” Wagner says. “The extreme trend is toward portability, so we’re interested to see how that develops.”
Next Up: Handheld
So far, Gamber-Johnson is developing ergonomic holders for handheld devices and scan guns, which Wagner considers merely an extension of what the company already manufactures. Another possibility on the horizon is smart watches, which were all the rage at the Consumer Electronic Show, which took place in January in Las Vegas.
“That whole dynamic is something that is on our minds and we’re monitoring very closely,” Wagner says. “We should be able to create opportunities out of that.”
According Gautam Malik, director of operations for Gamber-Johnson, cloud computing is another trend the company’s clients are following.
Many companies still rely on local servers that require a great deal of energy to run. When companies switch to cloud-based information systems, however, the energy costs decrease dramatically.
“For cloud computing, you don’t need a ton of horsepower because everybody can connect using their Android or iPhone,” Malik says. “What that does is eliminate the need for that kind of horsepower because they’re not computing on their machines, and you’re only transmitting once to a server.”
Even Cheryl Bikowski, marketing communications supervisor for Gamber-Johnson, has witnessed the vast changes of this industry in her 10 years in the business, especially with regard to materials. She recalls heavy gauge steel being used to protect devices, but today’s customers demand lighter options.
“Light is better because the government has increased its requirements for fuel efficiency,” Malik says. “Fleets are looking at the payload they have to load, so they are looking at the way they’re mounting computers as part of the whole solution of getting evaluated for weight. For every pound of payload dollars they’re saving, we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel savings.”
This year, Gamber-Johnson was an exhibitor at the ProMat 2015 in Chicago in March for the second time.
The company used the opportunity to promote its new line of material handling products, according to Bikowski.
“We’re still a new name brand in the industry right now, so we’re not only looking to showcase the tablet-mounting solutions, but we’re really trying to get some brand awareness to make people understand there are more options available for mounting equipment,” Bikowski adds. “So we are still working on breaking into the market and getting some brand recognition.”
As Wagner puts it, increasing market awareness of Gamber-Johnson’s material handling products is part of the company’s overall strategic planning process.
“We’re not anticipating any significant changes in the technology beyond what we’re seeing right now as tablets replace laptops,” Wagner says. “Further down the road, we’re seeing cloud computing and wearable devices.”