Interview—Ravi Pagar, element14

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RaviIn an interview, Ravi Pagar, director-India, element14, outlines the knode, a solution where design engineers can get trusted information on processes, and which acts as a knowledge source for them. Pradeep Chakraborty recently had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Pagar about the knode.

What is the initiative all about? How will the knode bring together all software tools, development tools and kits, operating systems?
The name for the solution was derived from the meaning of “node”—any point on a circuit where two or more circuit elements meet. The element14 knode brings knowledge (KNO) and design engineering (DE) together in one place.

The element14 knode was developed completely in-house by the element14 development team. It is the result of the need to create a solution that positively impacts the overall design flow and simultaneously streamlines working with component manufacturers and suppliers. It is one place where design engineers can quickly and easily get trusted information for their design process. It acts as a virtual workspace for the design engineering community.

Experts, design tools, IP, unique value-added design solutions, development platforms, components, services, hardware, software and up-to-date technical information have all been integrated into one convenient place: the element14 knode—knowledge for design engineers.

What else does the knode do to fulfill engineers’ needs for full suite of design tools and integrated solutions?
The element14 knode is poised to have a dramatic impact on the overall engineering design cycle and workflow, cutting design times from weeks and months to days and hours in some cases. In fact, most engineers go to vendor websites to research products for a design, which is a very time-consuming process. By providing one place to get trusted information, element14 has eliminated the need for engineers to search hundreds of suppliers’ websites to receive the information they need to complete a design project.

The project-based area of the element14 knode is password protected, and access is limited to the user/design engineer.

How will these innovative solutions directly relate to different stages and functional requirements of the product design flow?
The element14 knode offers value-added engineering solutions through a complete design ecosystem combining an online delivery environment that helps today’s engineers streamline the time-consuming and complex design ecosystem, from hardware assembly and manufacture to sourcing electronic components, to accessing technical information and libraries for hardware and software design tools.

It brings together development platforms, tools, software, IP cores, services, components and up-to-date technical information from domain experts and the global element14 engineering community, giving design engineers the ability to research, design, develop and manufacture in a single, intelligent environment.

What are the benefits that this new initiative can bring to the customers?
Designers can use the element14 knode to quickly research, evaluate and purchase solutions, software and services. The availability of reliable technical information and solutions can save the designer hundreds of hours typically spent in searching and validating information.
Further, the innovative search engine returns all relevant and related contents for the search performed—in one click. The search bar allows users to enter keywords by supplier, architecture or part number, while search results can also be refined using categories and tag filters such as core architecture and silicon manufacturers.

Some of the features available include the expert Learning Centre, development platforms and kits, operating systems and stacks, development tools, CAD tools, PCB services and test equipment.

The element14 knode Learning Centre provides a library of rich content to help a user research various technologies, platforms and associated core components. This includes “How To” videos, application notes, technical documentation and much more. Forums host discussions in areas ranging from product/technology and applications to design recommendations, and technical support and designers can post questions to subject matter experts from element14’s enhanced technical support team and from suppliers across a number of industries and design environments.

Design engineers can access operating systems, RTOS, stacks and middleware for application software execution and interoperability.
The element14 knode also provides access to a comprehensive suite of software development tools for embedded systems: These include integrated development environments (IDEs), compilers and debuggers and the latest software design solutions from leading technology providers.

Through the knode, PCB design tools are available that enable designers to develop PCBs within a highly productive, scalable and easy-to-use environment.

The element14 knode delivers high quality, low risk solutions for PCB fabrication and assembly in partnership with industry leaders. element14’s partners not only provide rapid turn-around manufacturing using advanced technology and the application of state-of-the art design for manufacture (DFM) and test software, but they also deliver fabrication services at globally-competitive, affordable prices.

The element14 knode offers leading hardware analysis solutions for embedded systems or prototypes including oscilloscopes, multi-meters, signal generators and more.

Finally, a wide variety of development platforms and kits are available.

What are the full range of services and tools that element14 will provide through this global industry first initiative?
The element14 Knode is a portal for design solutions. It improves engineering design productivity by providing a single resource for all design needs. It streamlines the process of working with component suppliers. It raises the quality of the design by providing fast access to accurate technical information and community expertise. It enhances the overall design experience by unifying community, content and commerce in a sequence that is logical to engineers.

Providing resources that support the complete design flow from concept to final production, the element14 knode is the industry’s first ecosystem helping design engineers accelerate design and development, bringing products to market faster than ever before. By not having to spend days and sometimes weeks researching technical resources and solutions, more engineering effort can be focused on application design and IP creation.

How has the experience and success with element14 platform contributed to the creation of the element14 knode?
The element14 knode is the culmination of feedback we have received from both our suppliers and design engineers to create a solution that positively impacts the overall design flow and simultaneously streamlines working with component manufacturers and suppliers. It is one place where they can quickly and easily get trusted information for their design process.

We are very excited about the launch and the impact it is poised to have on today’s workflows.

Why do you think this new service will be a landmark addition to element14’s existing propositions?
The element14 knode is another industry first for us, one that further extends our leadership and offers an exciting new approach to design solutions in the web 2.0 era. Innovation is vital for design engineers as they constantly seek smaller, faster, better, cheaper, more environmentally friendly design solutions to meet the needs of their end customers. As their partner in innovation, we are re-defining the delivery of the solutions they need.
The services offered in the element14 knode v1.0 release include an engineering-focused alternative to standard search engines, an online ‘Learning Centre,’ design solutions that eliminate the need to visit multiple vendor-specific sites, development platforms and kits, operating systems and stacks, development and CAD tools, PCB services, and test solutions. The knode provides a full life-cycle electronics design flow solution from concept to production, easing design and accelerating reducing risk and time-to-market.

Thank you, Mr. Pagar.

Pradeep Chakraborty