Looking for cool hardware examples...

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My org is kicking around the idea of taking our products and services,
and turning them into "appliances" that would be housed at customer
locations (and we could access remotely to gather, and warehouse the
data).  This is not some kind of spyware/big-brother type thing :)  We
currently maintain all our customers data, but have been thinking that
pushing things out a little could result in a scalability advantage.

Additionally, we could add a lot of features and functionality in
something that would be housed at each client's primary location.  It
would also be advantageous to have something that they essentially
just plug in (to power/network), turn on, do some VERY simple
configurations, and we could help remotely administer (if/when
needed).

Along this vein, some of us were trying to brainstorm examples of cool
products and services that already exist that we could use when
demo'ing/explaining the concept to others.

Here are some we came up with: Tivo (media functionality, people have
put webservers in them to enhance its functionality), Law Enforcement
(officers having laptops in the field, but can link up to some "master
system" routinely), Logistics companies (UPS and their handhelds that
go out in the field, then return data back to the system).

Can anyone else think of some cool examples?  My thinking is that
Linux will be the way to go, as our clients are educational entities,
and could benefit form being able to utilize Open Source technologies
as they have capability/capacity.

This would be something we would have to be able to sale/lease, but
wouldn't be our core competency (I am thinking of things such as
MySQL, which offers their knowledge/expertise for sale, while giving
away a product essentially).

Interested to hear your ideas/thoughts

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