Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail
Table of Contents
Client hardware in the dealership is the responsibility of each individual dealer. Each OEM establishes the minimum specifications necessary to run their corporate applications. While a dealer is free to choose any hardware, using client hardware that meets or exceeds these specifications will ensure that all OEM applications will run as expected. Procedures are in place for the dealers to order standard configurations from OEM’s, PC vendors and value added resellers (VAR’s). Details on the configurations and the ordering process are found in the addendum provided by each OEM.
When considering client hardware purchases, clients should take into account other items outside of the computer itself. Standard workstation set-ups should include electrical Surge Protectors and Ethernet jacks for connection to the local network. These measures protect hardware investment and, taken in total with the hardware, they provide a reliable working environment. When modem or Ethernet ports on the PC are connected, they too should have surge protection as well. Many power surge protectors will also have jacks for the telephone and network lines. To meet or exceed power industry standards, protectors will be Underwriters Lab (UL) 1449 Listed and/or CSA Certified
Damage from power spikes is the number one cause of component failure in PC’s. Even small surges can cause damage over time and lessen the life span of the equipment. Surge protectors can safeguard equipment against lightning and surge damage while reducing EMI/RFI line noise that can cause computer lockups and data errors. While an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is generally not required for a client workstation, using a good surge protector is a necessity.
In locations where problem with frequent power outages, dealerships may want to consider taking extra steps to protect their equipment. UPS, line conditioners, and/or isolated electrical circuits can all be appropriate choices for given situations. A brownout condition can damage sensitive electronic devices due to reduced and fluctuating voltage levels. This situation will cause electronic components to operate outside the range they were designed to work in. A UPS has the ability to keep line voltage constant in low power brownout conditions, while surge protectors are not designed to keep voltage constant in low power situations which are why they are less expensive than a UPS.
Technological advancements in PC’s include the Universal Serial Bus specification 2.0 (USB 2.0) which incorporates plug and play technology that can make connecting multiple external devices much easier, for example printers or keyboards. Additionally, multi-function drives have emerged that combine compact disk (CD) and digital versatile disk (DVD) drives into one drive. Multi-function drives can vary in their ability to read and or write CDs and DVDs. Check with your OEM to determine if you may receive software or data in a DVD format which requires a DVD or multi-function drive. The popularity of flat panel display is increasing because they require less space than traditional cathode ray tubes (CRTs) of the same screen size. When using flat panels that may require a DVI (Digital Video Interface) interface, check the video connector options on the PC for compatibility.