Annoying Power Monitors

A client has recently contacted us about looking at some data from a Hioki 3196 Power Analyzer. Unfortunately, getting a look at the data is like pulling teeth – there appears to be no simple viewer software to look at things, and the official software (9524-10 PQA-HiView Pro) is hyper-protected with a USB software key / dongle.

So it’s been a week of back and forth and Fed Ex bills trying to get access to the software. I’m not going to buy a $995 software package for a couple of hours worth of consulting to review the data and write up a report.

Hey, Hioki: If you want industry acceptance (and coincidentally, higher volume of hardware sales) it might be a good plan to put together a low end “reader / viewer” that lets people use the data. One of my clients in the medical OEM world has a fleet of 30 or so RPM meters. The fact that the RPM analysis software is pretty portable and not so fanatically guarded is a pretty important consideration to a field service organization where the meters will be shared among many service persons, and analyzed remotely.

I have no problem with keying your software in such a way that you need the dongle to talk to a power analyzer, or making certain features dependent upon the full license and key. But come on – are you in the software business here or the test equipment business? And do you want to ever be anything more than a niche player in the power quality field?

A good model for you might be Adobe – their Acrobat reader is a free download. So Adobe has given away a lot of free software, and not coincidentally become the industry standard for document transmission. And, oh by the way, sold a boatload of full Acrobat packages (and not inexpensively) to content providers such as myself to create the documents.

My two cents – still waiting to look at this data – it’ll probably be another couple of days…..