Tag Archives: Productivity

5 Techniques for Accelerating Engineering Development

By Jacob Beningo – Whether its a parts company, software supplier, or all the way to system integrators and even consultants, no one seems immunte to the ideas of decreasing costs and faster time to market, while improving product quality.

We want to do more at the same or better quality level, while also decreasing the resources we use to achieve our end goals.

That is not to say this is an impossible goal. In fact it’s quite obtainable. In many cases it all comes down to engineering development time and costs.

Here are my top five techniques for accelerating engineering development. These five techniques are just a few examples of low-hanging fruit that companies and developers can consider when trying to accelerate engineering development.

  1. Master Your Defects
    Embedded software developers on average spend 20 – 40% of their time debugging their software. That sounds outrageous, but if you look at the Aspencore 2017 Embedded Survey results or speak to developers at embedded systems conferences you’ll find that figure is accurate!
  2. Have the Right Tools for the Job
    If you want to go fast, you need to have the right tools.
  3. Focus on Your Value; Outsource the Rest
    For engineers (and any business for that matter), it’s important to recognize what value you are bringing to the table.
  4. Leverage Existing Software Platforms
    Leveraging existing software platforms, even ones that are certified, can dramatically accelerate engineering development.
  5. Leverage Existing Hardware Platforms
    For many embedded products, the core hardware features tend to be the same. In fact, probably 80% is the same or similar guts and the remaining 20% is where companies differentiate.

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Updates from Ciena

Reducing resourcing challenges by out-tasking multi-vendor network infrastructure projects
In today’s increasingly complex multi-vendor network environments, many businesses are compelled to out-task their multi-vendor operations to a single provider of specialized network services. Ciena’s Atura Bavisi details the qualities needed when looking for the right multi-vendor services partner.
By Atura Bavisi – Businesses today are constantly changing, often in unique and different ways due to market-specific conditions, but they all share something in common: a complex network environment. Operators are always looking for ways to optimize their network, at once reducing complexity while adding flexibility to handle the rapidly growing traffic demands.

These conditions often create a need for multi-vendor networks. If a business would like to reduce its OPEX and at the same time improve network performance without significantly increasing their IT resources, then buying network equipment from multiple vendors and leveraging vendor-specific services to implement and maintain this disparate equipment become critical.

However, multi-vendor projects come with their own set of challenges. For example, the multi-vendor approach often reduces visibility across the network, making it difficult to plan effectively or to provision resources to support new services rapidly. What’s more, the cost of working with multiple suppliers and in-house service teams to design and deploy solutions can be prohibitive and a logistical challenge, as well as requiring multiple custom interfaces.

Very often, corporations don’t have the ability to recruit the right highly specialized personnel to meet all these technical requirements stemming from a multi-vendor network, and most vendors only focus on their own products and solutions. more>

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Updates from Siemens

New technology in industry is creating a platform economy
By Frank_Fang – Twenty years ago, product-centric companies dominated a list of the most valuable companies in the world. The list was a Who’s Who of automotive, manufacturing, oil and gas, and brick-and-mortar retailers.

Today, platform-based businesses rule.

This new economy forces product-centric manufacturing companies to rethink how they transform digitally to survive and thrive in a data-rich market. It’s no secret that new technology and new approaches eventually supersede the old.

We’re witnessing one of these periods now. As manufacturers look for ways to radically redefine processes through the hype of the sharing economy, online platforms, the end of money and all the other buzzwords people use today, digital twin evolution will lead to platform economy, a state Viktor Mayer-Schönberger foresees in his book Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data.

Digital twins, which evolve from decades of simulation and analysis in engineering, are high fidelity models for actual physical objects such as a product or production process. Using computer aided-design, model-based system engineering and multiphysics simulation tools, a designer or engineer creates a digital representation for a physical object or process.

The digital twin is no longer science fiction. For example, NASA used this approach to design, engineer and produce two Mars rovers: Curiosity and InSight.

Since you can’t build a Mars environment on earth, you simply bring Mars to the computer and digitally test your Mars rover. more>

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Updates from Adobe

The Joy of Making Things
By Jessie Young – Jenny Yu’s masterfully crafted illustrations feature solitary figures wrapped in blankets of light and color.

Yu gravitated toward art at a young age.

She earned a BFA in Illustration at California State University, Long Beach and was initially focused on traditional materials. She only started using digital tools during her junior year. “My friend gave me her old Bamboo tablet for free,” she says, “and that’s how it all started. I was really bad at it!”

References are important to Yu’s process. To imagine the essence of a scene, she must first understand its structure in the real world.  She’s inspired by the light and color she sees on walks around the city; her favorite photographers; and the work of Hayao Miyazaki.

She chooses her subject matter according to her mood, in “slice of life-y contexts.” She’s drawn to quiet contemplation: sitting and having coffee, walking alone down the street, looking out the window. Her work often captures moments when the subject is lost in thought, unaware that anyone is paying attention. Instead of populating these spaces with crowds of bystanders, she fills the page with architectural details, angled lines of falling rain, and layered shapes created by late afternoon or early morning light.

Her favorite parts of the illustration process are to lock down the basic composition and structure and then experiment with value and color. more>

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Updates from Chicago Booth

Purely evidence-based policy doesn’t exist
By Lars Peter Hansen – Recently, I was reminded of the commonly used slogan “evidence-based policy.”

Except for pure marketing purposes, I find this terminology to be a misnomer, a misleading portrayal of academic discourse and the advancement of understanding. While we want to embrace evidence, the evidence seldom speaks for itself; typically, it requires a modeling or conceptual framework for interpretation.

Put another way, economists—and everyone else—need two things to draw a conclusion: data, and some way of making sense of the data.

That’s where modeling comes in. Modeling is used not only to aid our basic understanding of phenomena, but also to capture how we view any implied trade-offs for social well-being. The latter plays a pivotal role when our aim is to use evidence in policy design.

This is intuitive if you think about the broad range of ideas and recommendations surrounding macroeconomic policy and the spirited, sometimes acrimonious way in which they’re debated.

If everything were truly evidence based, to the extent we can agree on the accuracy of the evidence, why would there be such heterogeneity of opinion? The disagreement stems from the fact that people are using different models or conceptual frameworks, each with its own policy implications.

Each of them might be guided by evidence, but policy conclusions can rarely be drawn directly from the evidence itself. more>

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Updates from Adobe

The Art of the Unnatural
By Brendan Seibel – When he was a kid, Jason DeMarte enjoyed visiting natural history museums to see the dioramas filled with taxidermy wildlife and carefully positioned plants.

As an adult, he determined that those scenes are intended more to capture the imagination than to document reality. And while the diorama designers’ motives may be pure, there is a darker side.

DeMarte saw a correlation between the museums’ “perfect, pristine snippets of nature” and product photography of the sort he’d done for Toys ’R’ Us to pay the bills while earning an MFA in photography. That experience of creating flawless images of merchandise exemplified photography’s role in cultivating consumer desire for false perfection through manipulation and good lighting.

“I started thinking about nature in a different way, as a commodity, as a way of packaging, promoting, and selling a commodifiable object,” DeMarte says.

The disconnect between manufactured perceptions of nature and the imperfect reality has been DeMarte’s artistic focus ever since. His work is a commentary on the artifice underpinning our concept of the world, as well as our constant desire for something “better.” more>

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Updates from Siemens

Why fulfilling airworthiness requirements means going digital
By Dave Chan and John Cunneen – Any organization that must consistently prove airworthiness requirements can relate to the frustrating tasks of locating and providing proof their products will perform in accordance with standards, rules and laws in a myriad of countries.

No more so is this appropriate than in the aerospace industry where everything is built on safety. Every rule, every design requirement has blood on it. These rules exist because someone was or can be hurt, a plane could crash, or any number of catastrophic incidents can occur.

This is why there are rigorous standards in place to ensure anything that can take off and land, from the smallest glider and helicopter to the largest commercial airliner and military jet, must receive and maintain an airworthiness certificate. The process of aircraft certification can be daunting simply because many organizations don’t take proactive approaches in the development phase through delivery to make it so. more>

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Why are millennials burned out? Capitalism.

BOOK REVIEW

Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials, Author: Malcolm Harris.

By Sean Illing – What made millennials the way they are? Why are they so burned out? Why are they having fewer kids? Why are they getting married later? Why are they obsessed with efficiency and technology?

His answer, in so many words, is the economy. Millennials, Harris argues, are bearing the brunt of the economic damage wrought by late-20th-century capitalism. All these insecurities — and the material conditions that produced them — have thrown millennials into a state of perpetual panic. If “generations are characterized by crises,” as Harris argues, then ours is the crisis of extreme capitalism.

What Harris focused on is millennials as workers and the changing relationship between labor and capital during the time we all came of age and developed into people. If we want to understand why millennials are the way they are, then we have to look at the increased competition between workers, the increased isolation of workers from each other, the extreme individualism of modern American society, and the widespread problems of debt and economic security facing this generation.

Millennials have been forced to grow up and enter the labor market under these dynamics, and we’ve internalized this drive to produce as much as we can for as little as possible. That means we take on the costs of training ourselves (including student debt), we take on the costs of managing ourselves as freelancers or contract workers, because that’s what capital is looking for.

And because wages are stagnant and exploitation is up, competition among workers is up too. As individuals, the best thing we can do for ourselves is work harder, learn to code, etc. But we’re not individuals, not as far as bosses are concerned. The vast majority of us are (replaceable) workers, and by working harder for less, we’re undermining ourselves as a class. It’s a vicious cycle. more>

Updates from Ciena

On the Submarine Network Horizon in 2019
By Brian Lavallée – The submarine networking industry is truly fascinating from technology, social, economic, political, and even historical perspectives. All of these facets are intertwined, as new cables are planned and deployed as well as when the unspeakable occurs, and they must be repaired.

The undersea cable network infrastructure is critical infrastructure, and given there’s no Plan B for this part of the global internet, associated technological innovation must continue to evolve at a frenetic pace to ensure the industry can not only maintain pace with voracious growth in demand, but also to ensure the enormous capacity being carried today and ever-increasing amount of tomorrow is protected and continuously optimized to ensure a stable and viable financial future for submarine cable operators.

Several technologies and visions at the forefront of submarine network innovation were hot topics of discussion in 2018 and will undoubtedly be even hotter in 2019. I highlight some notable examples below.

If submarine cable networks are to continue evolving alongside their terrestrial counterparts, these issues will continue to be critical topics of conversation in our industry throughout 2019. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Product Data Management for Consumer Packaged Goods
Siemens – With today’s packaged consumer goods industry more cost-competitive than ever, manufacturers must increase efficiency wherever possible. A lifecycle approach to process and data management is critical for this.

Our solution centralizes technical information and keeps it up-to-date and accessible. This creates efficiency gains that will improve how you manage change, execute work processes, drive quality, and connect to external suppliers and customers.

The consumer product business has never been more competitive making the need for agility and resilience at the enterprise level essential. That’s hard to achieve when information your company relies on is stored in many uncontrolled locations, and often in incompatible formats.

Whether you produce home or office goods, or make sporting goods and toys products, a lifecycle approach to managing technical information will improve the way your people work. Our lifecycle management solution enables you to consolidate and connect the output of existing systems so that people spend less time looking for what they need. Their ability to execute more efficiently results in faster, better-informed decisions across your entire enterprise. more>