Electronic design engineers are facing greater pressure than ever before to rapidly create new electronic solutions. Faced with a bewildering array of increasingly more complicated electronic components, diminishing design budgets, and enigmatic legal & regulatory requirements, many electronic designers rely on their peers, manufacturers and distributors to keep them well informed of new products, design tools and product acceptance. However, during the last few years, the technical service and support organizations of those same manufacturers and distributors have also suffered from tighter budgets and reduced headcount, leaving design engineers increasingly dependent on the web for design support.
With less personal service and technical support for all but the largest engineering departments, many web sites rich in engineering articles and product evaluations have garnered significant traffic. A number of electronic component manufacturer and distributor web sites have added a variety of web tools, inexpensive design kits, and free product samples. Of course, much of the support from manufacturers and distributors comes with an obvious bias to motivate the designer to “use my product” or “buy from me.” Despite the overall excellent quality of these tools, articles, selection guides, reference designs, block diagrams, and simulators, they typically confine the electronic designer to the selection of a particular manufacturer’s product. Designers are often resigned to a design decision justified by expediency, rather than informed evaluation of multiple options.
Even with the breadth and depth of useful information for design engineers, there’s still a big missing. Call it the peer review or water cooler talk, but the value of collaborating and communicating with trusted colleagues remains one of the most meaningful 1 including blogs, video content, and community sites portends of an exciting new design age in which the engineer can have all of the above, as well meaningful interaction with other designers, access to rich content and an unbiased selection of leading edge electronic design alternatives.
Premier Farnell has taken a bold step in redefining the design engineering ecosystem with an independent web-based, collaboration platform that integrates the best of web communities, design engineering content, and peer relationship engagement. Element 14 (www.element- 14.com) is open to all participants and providers in the world electrical design engineering, regardless of current affiliation with Premier Farnell. Will web based communities change the way you design? Let me know what you think.
by Jeff Hamilton, Director of Marketing, Design Engineering, Newark
Jeff Hamilton has been serving design engineers for more than two decades through a variety of roles including sales, marketing, and product development. He has worked with manufacturers and distributors of semiconductors and wireless equipment leading wireless chipset development and high performance wireless equipment. Jeff is currently working with a variety of suppliers serving the electronic design engineer with an emphasis on tools and systems that enable greater engineering productivity.