Today we live in a hyper-connected world, surrounded by smart products. If industry forecasts are correct, by 2020 — just 2 short years from now — there will be over 28 billion internet-connected devices. Beyond smart phones and autonomous vehicles, smart cities, smart factories, and smart homes are also quickly emerging as promising opportunities that could help improve how we live, work and play.
While these new capabilities will be a delight to us as consumers, they are a nightmare for engineers and product designers. With hundreds of sensors, microprocessors, and wired and wireless communication components, engineers face immense challenges in ensuring reliability and performance. In the complex web of electronic circuitry, something, somewhere that is left unaddressed could lead to failure. One of the big challenges confronting product designers is electromagnetic interference, or EMI.
Full-wave model of communications channel
Every new, smaller technology node developed in the semiconductor field has its own challenges, and the 7nm node is no exception. Usually a smaller technology node decreases price per transistor, but the cost benefits usually obtained from the smaller geometry are not as significant as in previous node changes. In fact, the increased complexity of lithography masks has made the unit cost per transistor slightly higher for 7nm devices. To offset these higher costs, products using 7nm semiconductors need higher margins, larger sales volumes and significantly higher performance than previous nodes. Achieving these goals requires designers to overcome a number of technical challenges, making upfront engineering simulation even more important than ever.
In June, I attended the Design Automation Conference in Austin, TX and LiveWorx in Boston, MA. I would like to share some key observations from both events.
- The Internet of Things is going to be big; very big!
- Success requires partnerships.
- IoT is about monetizing data.
- Engineering simulation is essential.
The Internet of Things is going to be big!
At the just concluded Design Automation Conference in Austin, speaker after speaker stressed this.
Silicon Labs CEO, Tyson Tuttle, noted that there will be 70 billion Internet connected devices by 2025 with accompanying semiconductors to power them. He repeated McKinsey’s forecast the the Internet of Things will drive between $4 -11 trillion in global economic impact by 2025. Continue reading
Digitalization, digital transformation, and digital twins have become key business initiatives at many companies. The goal of these initiatives ultimately is to accelerate revenue and profitability growth by speeding innovation, improving productivity, and increasing reliability across the enterprise. Industry leaders know that revenue and profitability both suffer when their product fails to meet design objectives, underperforms the competition or does not meet customer expectations. When your product fails, your customer is unhappy, your re-design costs will be higher than planned, your reputation may be damaged, or worse, you may go out of business.
Given the complexity of today’s products, how can companies be sure that they will deliver the most reliable and innovative products to the market? Moreover, how can they leverage their product superiority to deliver additional value to their customer and more profitability for their business? Continue reading
The first issue of ANSYS Advantage for 2017 focuses on a revolutionary disruptive technology that you may just be starting to hear about: the digital twin. At the most basic level, a digital twin is a 3-D digital model of an operating physical system. The physical system can be a jet engine, a power generator, a pipeline, a locomotive or an entire industrial plant. Someday, you will most likely have your own digital twin — a virtual copy of yourself — that will allow you and your doctor to predict the behavior of your body to fine tune treatments and optimize your health.
In honor of Earth Day, which was celebrated this past weekend, I would like to share my perspective on energy efficiency.
Every month, I receive a home energy usage report from my friendly utility company. I had been puzzled for years why I was using 50 or 60% more energy than my efficient neighbors. At social gatherings, I asked my friends about their energy efficiency numbers and we collectively bemoaned the mysterious efficient neighbors. Who are these people? Do they even heat or cool their homes?
Then last year, I purchased and installed the Nest thermostat. My utility company even pitched in with a price discount offer. Over time my energy usage has declined when compared to my neighbors. The most recent report shows that I used 21% more energy than my efficient neighbors. This is down from 51% in the similar period two years ago. The artificial intelligence algorithms and smart silicon are making a difference! Continue reading
I just returned from the ANSYS 18 events in China and Taiwan where I shared my perspective on the convergence of industries. I used the rapid pivot of automotive and high-tech industries towards each as an example. And while I had ample presentation material, Intel’s $15 billion purchase of Mobileye was a great validation. Mobileye is well-known pioneer in autonomous vehicle technologies. It is nice to have $15 Billion dollars to make your point! This illustration from the Wall Street Journal also showcased similar recent investments by other companies.
Since the 1960s, Dr. Gordon Moore’s prediction that computing performance will double every 12 to 18 months has held true. More recently, the gains in computing performance have been enabled by a combination of hardware and software technologies, such as multi-core, multi-threaded designs. The conveniences of the modern world — ubiquitous communication through internet-enabled phones, electronic payments and digital streaming, to name a few, are partly due to continuous engineering innovations delivered through cheaper, faster, more-precise electronics. Continue reading
The Gartner Hype Cycle charts are a peek into the future. They graphically project where various technology trends are along a maturity timeline. The most recent Hype Cycle identifies several megatrends, including digital business technologies and new design and innovation approaches, such as IoT product design.
Every day we hear about a new internet-enabled product — or two, or three, or a dozen. Consumer products are increasingly more connected including appliances, automobiles and traditional electronics like smartphones and tablets. In the industrial world, factories, aircraft, distribution facilities, power plants and many other things are being monitored by sensors and communications networks to provide feedback on production, maintenance and efficiency. Importantly, these devices collect data that allow manufacturers to understand how products are used so that they can develop better things that more closely fit our needs. Engineers designing smart, connected products need to address competing and complex challenges, including size, weight, power, performance, reliability, durability. For example, engineers may need to design reliable sensors, high-speed communication and networking equipment, or supercomputers that process vast amounts of data. How can designers ensure that their products will work flawlessly in the real world? Continue reading