Marcelle Douglas, at AltiumEE Times (09/10/2008 1:40 AM EDT)
Today, electronics product and design companies face the challenge of maintaining differentiation in a maturing and increasingly sophisticated market. They also face the need to protect product intellectual property (IP) in a globalized design and manufacturing environment, where hardware can be reverse-engineered as fast as new products can be produced. Companies today must find new and better ways of approaching the design problem. As a result, many engineers find themselves in the position of having to take on different roles within the design landscape in order to move up the value chain and remain relevant into the future.
Designers are increasingly constrained by the traditional silo approach, where specialist hardware and software engineers work in virtual isolation. This model isn't sustainable anymore as the world becomes more interconnected and designs move into the soft design realm. To support innovation and sustainable product differentiation into the future, traditional industry specializations must be replaced with more "value-added" design strategies.
What then is going to give us the most realizable design value? To answer this, we need to take a fresh look at the design process as a whole: why these need to link to other external design processes (such as mechanical design, and the supply chain) and why electronics design processes need to unify. In short, we, as designers, have to move up the design value chain.
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