Electronic devices are in most products that we use today – from toys to power stations – and demand for smarter, connected devices is escalating, even in non-traditional electronic product areas. Historically, electronics design has been based on a “hardware first, software second” approach which puts the choice of the physical form of the product (the hardware) first, and the development of the intelligence (the software) second.
Altium Limited, the market leader in unified electronics product design, has set out to change the way design is done with Altium Innovation Station – a complete, unified electronics design environment that puts device intelligence at the centre of the design process. This turns electronics design inside out, removing the current constraints to innovation and opening up electronics design to emerging economies, to software engineers who have no experience of electronics design, and to experienced engineers seeking new ways to be innovative.
“The forces driving the electronics industry and product development in general are changing,” said Nick Martin, Altium founder and CEO. “The globalization of manufacturing, particularly the commoditization of low-cost, high quality manufacturing, has all but removed any price or time-to-market advantage. Lowest cost and first to market are no longer any guarantee of sustained success.”
“Although it has served us well in the past, the old approach to designing electronic products – that puts the development of the hardware platform first with soft aspects built to this platform – must now give way to the next generation’s approach. This new approach puts the design of the soft elements of an electronic system first and at the centre of the whole design process. Altium is committed to helping every organization put device intelligence at the centre of the design process – unconstrained by prohibitive pricing. Soft aesthetics and product interfaces can be developed as the key part of the product design and delivery process. “
The Altium Innovation Station combines Altium’s unified development software, Altium Designer, with the company’s NanoBoard desktop reconfigurable hardware development board. Using the Altium Innovation Station, designers can design in the soft domain, without having to pre-determine the hardware platform on which the product will eventually be delivered, using one of a range of programmable devices. They can then quickly and easily test, analyse and debug the design using the Desktop NanoBoard and then deploy either to conventional manufacturing, or in the future to a range of deployment NanoBoards that Altium is developing.
Designs can now take days rather than weeks, and the choke points often found between the software teams, the board layout teams and the hardware development teams are removed.
For businesses, the intellectual property that now resides within the programmable devices is better protected and harder to copy. The design of the electronic systems can change as the design progresses, once the hardware is manufactured, and even after it is delivered to customers. And building connectivity into designs means that companies can create ‘ecosystems’ for their customers by connecting them together using the products themselves.
Altium Limited (ASX:ALU) is the leading developer of electronic product development solutions dedicated to unifying the different design disciplines involved in electronics product development. Altium products ensure all electronic engineers, designers, developers, and their organizations, take maximum advantage of emerging design technologies to bring smarter products to market faster and easier. Founded in 1985, Altium has headquarters in Sydney, Australia, sales offices in the United States, Europe, Japan, China, and resellers in all other major markets.