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CEDA Manufacturing Symposium 2016

The Casey Cardinia Region was a major sponsor of this particular symposium, also know as the Manufacturing and Future Industries Forum,  and so this meeting included some region specific statistics. So here they are:

  • Casey Cardinia Region is headed for 650,000 people over the next 20 years
  • Manufacturing accounts for more than 50% of GDP in Melbourne’s south East
  • 100 families a week move into the Casey Cardinia Region
  • 135 babies a week a born – hence Monash health referring to it as nappy valley ūüôā
  • 70% of resident workers have to travel outside the region for work
Casey Cardinia Region

Casey Cardinia Region

Australian Manufacturing History

Committee for Economic Development of Australia

Committee for Economic Development of Australia

Manufacturing GDP in Australia has halved since then 1980s. This is offset by the rise in finance, mining and health. Looking at recent history it grew slightly from 2000 to 2008 then slowly dropped back to the same level today and for the past 10 months has grown each month.

Manufacturings declining percentage of GDP is due to holding its output level while GDP grows.

Employment has been the biggest reduction at 18% decline or 200,000 jobs; mostly in Victoria and South Australia.

Food and beverage is the biggest category followed by machinery and equipment which includes¬†automotive.¬†Construction and building materials has held its own in the light of recent Senate enquiries into sub-standard and non-conforming product being imported. This has led to an advantage in quality¬†confidence for local products showing it isn’t just about price. This has also been assisted by the rise¬†in residential construction on the eastern and South eastern sea board.

Major issues and roadblocks

The listed issues for Australian manufacturers are:

  • Access to finance
  • Australia is a difficult place to do business
  • Tax and regulation
  • Australia ranks 21st for global manufacturing competitiveness
  • Similar to other business rankings for Australia
Julie Toth

Julie Toth AIG

Industry Policy

The Victorian Government has identified 5 sectors for policy support:

  • Food and agribusiness
  • Mining
  • Oil, Gas and Energy
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Medical and diagnostic devices

Discussion on¬†Australia’s Future industries and employment options

The panel consisted of:

  • Dr Cathy Foley, CSIRO, Clunies Ross award¬†recipient 2015 (Australia’s Nobel prize)
  • Michael Green, Victorian DEDJTR
  • Julie Tooth, chief economist AIG
  • Jennifer Conley, moderator
Dr Cathy Foley

Dr Cathy Foley – CSIRO

Michael Green made the point that Advanced Manufacturing meant the value add must go beyond the quality and cost story to the customer. So not getting the attention of the chief purchasing office, but instead of the new product or strategic technology alliance executive.

Dr Cathy Foley explained that we underestimate the value of thinking globally. CSIRO has a national remit but recognises it needs to help businesses achieve international competitiveness. And now they can help sole traders get to a breakthrough technology and not just focus on big players. In one project Cathy used their superconducting technology to create a new magnetic field detector to improve exploration efficiency.

CSIRO

CSIRO

Julie Tooth was asked if we had squandered our energy advantage? She explained that we used to have a cost advantage but that has now gone. Renewable investment has also been unreliable due to frequent changes in policy at both federal and state levels. Other policy and trade agreement activity has also muddied rather than clarified future direction.

AIG

AIG – Australian Industry Group

Dr Cathy Foley explained that the exit of¬†girls from STEM¬†needs to be seriously addressed. And where there is take-up, what we aren’t seeing is¬†progressing into leadership and management roles. With our growing Asian background and¬†proximity to Asia not being taken advantage of. We need to be wary of creating a social divide¬†between higher socio-economic areas where you get access to coding and technology skills and those¬†living in lower income areas or rural and remote communities do not.

Can we make high technology devices here?

Michael Green stated that this needs investment in the infrastructure.

Dr Cathy Foley noted that researchers stop short of delivering a full solution Рtraditionally this has been the case but it is increasingly becoming obvious that that path from fundamental research to applied research to full manufacturing capability including process technology improvement.

Michael Green explained that new manufactured products will have digital products and artefacts alongside it.

Improving collaboration?

It isn’t just a case of university to business collaboration. A business needs¬†to collaborate with a broad range of other businesses including their own customers. So it isn’t a¬†simple issue. A supply chain needs multiple entities and it isn’t just a case of dealing directly with the¬†end customer but also supporting all the intermediates so the whole ecosystem end to end.

The CSIRO lean start-up program is focusing researchers on creating product product opportunities and engaging with potential customers and making sure they really need it.

And although I can’t yet give you details yet, we are involved in the development of one of the lean start-up products.

Grow Magazine

The most recent edition of Grow Magazine, an initiative between the Start News Group and the City of Casey, covered the event as well. You can read about it in Successful Endeavours – Grow Magazine 20160705.

GROW Magazine

GROW Magazine

You can also read the entire magazine online at Rising to the Global Challenge.

CEDA - Rising To The Global Challenge

CEDA – Rising To The Global Challenge

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

National Manufacturing Week 2016

This year we are back in Sydney at Sydney Olympic Park for National Manufacturing Week 2016.

National Manufacturing Week

National Manufacturing Week

And again we are supporting the Casey Cardinia Region. This year we are in stand 2216 which is a lot more central that 2 years ago.

Casey Cardinia Region

Casey Cardinia Region

You can also check out the directory entry for Successful Endeavours though if you are familiar with us there will be no surprises there.

So if you are thinking of dropping in to the exhibition then please come and say hello. Melbourne might be the manufacturing capital of Australia, but there are still a large number of significant manufacturers in Sydney including a growing biomedical device manufacturing cluster. And we have clients in Sydney and so are hoping to catch up with some of them.

We are also 3D Printing in house now and so I’m personally interested in what is happening with 3D Printing and will be checking out that part of the exhibition.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

Predicting the Future

How hard can it be. Surely everything follows on from everything else?

This is what was behind Sir Isaac Newton’s proposition that if we work out the equations of the universe and plug in the initial conditions, we can predict everything. And so science became the new religion of western society.

Until quantum mechanics came along.

So there are 3 ways the future can prove unpredictable. We can have unexpected discoveries (breakthroughs), we can have existing ideas that meld together in unexpected ways (convergence), and we can have false ideas eradicated (proof). The latter is the harder and the first is the easier to understand the implications of. So I am going to focus on convergence.

Convergence

These comments below are taken from Peter Diamandis and you can join his mailing list too if you want to get access to thinking like this.

Peter Diamandis

Peter Diamandis

Unexpected convergent consequences… this is what happens when eight different exponential technologies all explode onto the scene at once.

An expert might be reasonably good at predicting the growth of a single exponential technology (e.g. the Internet of Things), but try to predict the future when the following eight technologies are all doubling, morphing and recombining… You have a very exciting (read: unpredictable) future.

  1. Computation
  2. Internet of Things (Sensors & Networks)
  3. Robotics/Drones
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. 3D Printing
  6. Materials Science
  7. Virtual/Augmented Reality
  8. Synthetic Biology

This year at my Abundance 360 Summit I decided to explore this concept in sessions I called Convergence Catalyzers.

For each technology, I brought in an industry expert to identify their Top 5 Recent Breakthroughs (2012-2015) and their Top 5 Anticipated Breakthroughs (2016-2018). Then, we explored the patterns that emerged.

This blog (the first of seven) is a look at Networks and Sensors (i.e. the Internet of Everything). Future blogs will look at the remaining tech areas.

Networks and Sensors

At A360 my first guest was Raj Talluri, the Senior VP of Product Management at Qualcomm, who oversees their Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile computing businesses. Here’s some context before we dive in.

The Earth is being covered by an ever-expanding mesh of networks and sensors that form the Internet of Things (or the Internet of Everything). Think of the IoT as the network of all digitally accessible objects, estimated at 15 billion in number today, and expected to grow to more than 50 billion by 2020.

But what makes this even more powerful, is that each of these connected devices, are themselves made up of a dozen sensors measuring everything from vibration, position and light, to blood chemistries and heart rate.

Imagine a world rapidly approaching a trillion sensor economy where the IoT enables a data-driven future in which you can know anything you want, anytime you want, anywhere you want. A world of instant, high-bandwidth, communications and near perfect information.

The implications of this are staggering, and I asked Raj to share his top five breakthroughs from the past three years to illustrate some of them.

Recent Top 5 Breakthroughs (2013 – 2015)

Here are the breakthroughs Raj identified in Networks and Sensor technology from 2012-2015.

Emergence of Continuous Low-Power Always-On Sensors

One of the major advances from the past three years has been the proliferation of “always on” sensors.

As Raj explains, “You’ll be amazed how many of your phone sensors are always on. If you look at your phone, there were times when you had to press the button to say “hello Google” or “hi Siri”. Now, you don’t. You just talk to it and it figures it out.”

“This has been made possible because you’re now able to make very low power sensors that listen to you all the time, keyword detect and do the data processing.”

Smartphones Drives Sensor Volume at Low Cost

The number of sensors in your smartphone today have exploded. Raj continues, “We are now seeing 10, 20 and even 30 sensors embedded in our smartphones. Things like proximity sensors when you pick your phone up, gyros, cameras, depth sensors and so on. This has really driven down cost and driven the discovery of new sensors, because there are a billion smartphones [sold] every year. It’s a huge opportunity.”

A billion phones means 20 billion+ sensors ‚Äď and we are headed towards a trillion sensor economy.

“Systems” Fuse Continuous Sensor Data & Cloud Processing

Seamless integration of processing is happening in the cloud and on your device. Raj explains, “When you say, ‘Okay, Google,’ a part of what happens next is on the phone and a part is on the cloud. You don’t really know where the processing is being done, on your device or on the cloud, the hand off is seamless.”

4K Video Format Goes Mainstream

4K screen resolution is close to the point that the brain is unable to notice pixels. As such, somewhere between 4K and 8K, virtual reality become visually equal to visual reality.

Raj explains how this technology is exploding: “If you buy a 4K TV and watch 4K content, it’s very hard to go back to 1080p. It almost feels like you were watching a VHS tape when DVDs came out. Today, if you look at what we’ve done at Qualcomm in the high-end processors space, we shipped over 200 to 250 million processors that actually record in 4K.”

Opening of Sensor APIs to 3rd Party Apps Development Community

The reality is that the majority of phone apps now come from third party developers. This explosion in apps (perhaps 50 to 100 per phone) is only possible because of (i) the opening of the APIs for the sensors in the devices and (ii) the community of developers that has emerged as a result.

So what’s in store for the near future?

Anticipated Top 5 Breakthroughs (2016 – 2018)

Here are Raj’s predictions for the most exciting, disruptive developments coming in Networks and Sensors in the next three years.

As entrepreneurs and investors, these are the areas you should be focusing on, as the business opportunities are tremendous.

Wireless Network Densification (4G/5G): Cost / Megabit Plummets

The cost per megabit of connection is going to plummet ‚Äď essentially nearing “free” in the very near future.

Raj expands, “Already in places like Indonesia, we find that people are actually getting data plans at a price of $5 a month. In most of the world, the cost per megabit is extremely low as the cost of launching networks is plummeting.”

Emergent Peer-To-Peer Tech Drives Automotive Communication & Safety

Soon all of your devices at home and work (screens, thermostats, DVRs, computers, even cars) will automatically connect seamlessly. You won’t have to make conscious decisions about how to connect your washing machine. When it finishes washing the clothes, you will get a notification on your phone.”

Global Internet Connectivity via Satellite Plummets in Cost

Qualcomm, in partnership with Richard Branson, are working to deploying a 648 satellite constellation called OneWeb. Raj explains, “Global Internet connectivity through satellites is finally going to happen‚Ķ Just think about three billion new people coming online at a megabit per second. It is going to be completely different kind of experience.”

Exponential Growth in Connections to Internet from Various Devices – Personal/Home/Cities

Raj says, “I often ask people: how many IP addresses do you think you have at your house?” Most people have no clue. They say, “Maybe two or three…”

For Raj (and most of us) it’s more like 50‚Ķ your TVs, your set top boxes, phone, iPads, Nest, cameras, light bulbs‚Ķ

“In the next few years, the number of things that will be connected to the Internet at any given point of time in your life is going to be so huge that the way they work is going to be very different. You won’t need to reach for your phone to do something. Coupled with sensor networks, you’ll just be able to speak and ask for what you want.”

Major Improvements of Head-Mounted User Interfaces with Rich Bandwidth and Onboard Sensors

Over the next three years, we’ll see rapid uptake of VR and AR headsets, each with

4K displays and cameras, and packed with a suite of sensors connected by high bandwidth communications to the cloud. The result is that each of us is wearing an incredible User Interface with high-speed communications that will make our virtual experiences so good that you won’t need to travel to experience something.”

There is a lot to think about there. We are heavily involved in the Internet of Things (IoT) space and particularly see the opportunities that come from low cost communications with low power electronics and always on monitoring. Suddenly you can have the flood monitoring system you never thought was possible. Or bush fire front monitoring. Or pretty much anything else you can thing of that has a sensor option already developed. And Big Data adds another dimension to this where the multiple different sensing technologies combine their data together to provide information and insights not previously possible. If I was to add another category to Peter Diamandis insights, it is that Big Data will out weight them all.

My thanks got to Luke McIndoe of Nebo Engineering for passing this on to me. They are a group of highly skilled engineers who are Piping and Pressure Vessel Designers among other things.

Luke Mcindoe

Luke McIndoe of Nebo Engineering

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

Security of Software Systems

This post looks at security of software systems in the embedded realm. We are fortunate to have some good recommendations from IEEE on this topic. The first looks at avoiding Software Security Design Flaws. The summary is outlined below:

  1. Earn or give, but never assume, trust. Make sure all data received from an untrusted client are properly validated before processing. When designing systems, be sure to consider the context where code will be executed, where data will go, and where data entering your system come from. Failing to consider these things will expose you to vulnerabilities associated with trusting components that have not earned that trust.
  2. Use an authentication mechanism that cannot be bypassed or tampered with. Such mechanisms are critical to secure designs, but they can be susceptible to various forms of tampering and may be bypassed if not designed correctly. The center recommends a single authentication mechanism that leverages one or more factors for each application‚Äôs requirements; that it serves as a ‚Äúchoke point‚ÄĚ to avoid potential bypass; and that authentication credentials have limited lifetimes, be unforgettable, and be stored so that if the stored form is stolen, it cannot easily be used by the thief to pose as a legitimate user.
  3. Authorize after you authenticate. Authorization should be conducted as an explicit check, even after an initial authentication has been completed. Authorization depends not only on the privileges associated with an authenticated user but also on the context of the request.
  4. Strictly separate data and control instructions, and never process control instructions received from untrusted sources. Lack of strict separation between data and code often leads to untrusted data controlling the execution flow of a software system.
  5. Define an approach that ensures that all data are explicitly validated. Software systems and components commonly make assumptions about data they operate on. It is important to explicitly ensure that such assumptions hold. Vulnerabilities frequently arise from implicit assumptions about data, which can be exploited if an attacker can subvert and invalidate these assumptions.
  6. Use cryptography correctly. Cryptography is one of the most important tools for building secure systems. With it one can ensure the confidentiality of data, protect data from unauthorized modification, and authenticate the source of data.
  7. Identify the sensitive data and how they should be handled. One of the first tasks for systems designers is to identify sensitive data and determine how to protect them. Many deployed systems over the years have failed to protect data appropriately. This can happen when designers fail to identify data as sensitive, or when designers do not identify all the ways in which data could be manipulated or exposed.
  8.  Always consider the users. The security stance of a software system is inextricably linked to what its users do with it. It is therefore very important that all security-related mechanisms are designed to make it easy to deploy, configure, use, and update the system securely. Remember, security is not a feature that can simply be added
 to a software system but rather a property emerging from how the system is built and operated.
  9. Understand how integrating external components changes your attack surface. It is unlikely that you will develop a new system without using external pieces of software. In fact, when adding functionality to an existing system, developers often make use of existing components.
  10. Be flexible when considering future changes to objects and actors. Software security must be designed for change; it should not be fragile, brittle, and static. During the design and development processes, the goal is to meet a set of functional and security requirements. However, software, the environments running software, and threats and attacks against software all change over time. Even when security is considered during design, or the framework being used is built correctly to permit run-time changes in a controlled and secure manner, designers still must consider the security implications of future changes.

Wearable Device Security

The second input is specifically looking at how to protect very small computing systems such as wearables from cyberattacks. You can read the complete report at Protect Wearable Devices Against Cyberattacks. The 2 primary points made are:

  • Authentication matters – really think about how you will authenticate users
  • Ultimately code decides what happens. So mange the code base well

We are working constantly in the IoT space and so managing security and access is a big issues for these projects. If security isn’t front and center, then field deployed devices are all in trouble.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

Drones –¬†a background

Drones is hot technology as well as a political and social topic.¬†But we have a lot to work out yet. Other form of transportation have been legislated for a long time and radio remote controlled planes and helicopters too. But Drones opens up a whole new set of issues not yet covered. The area is so new we don’t even have definitive definitions of what they are or what to call them. Aerial version are often referred to as¬†Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs. ¬†Ground based versions are often called Robots.

The key difference we have now is that a Drone is capable of autonomous flight well beyond the range of local radio remote control and as GPS path tracking and batteries get better plus stability and flight dynamics control improves, Drones can be used of amazing things.

Here is a video showing one of the establishes uses for an Aerial Drone, videoing some spectacular location or event.

See The Insider’s Guide to Drone Videography for the full picture.

We have also all heard of them being used for remote assassinations. And also for search and rescue as well as spying on the neighbours and even pizza delivery is being considered.

Some already established uses of Drones are:

  • Remote surveillance
  • Exploration of the moon and other planets
  • Exploration of asteroids
  • Remotely controlled ¬†weapons
  • Autonomous weapons
  • Video and Audio surveillance
  • Real Estate Videos
  • Inspection of pretty much anything
  • Remote Delivery
  • Motion Picture film sequences
  • just having fun

The list can go on. But for the rest of this post I’m going to focus on flying drones as this is the area creating the most controversy. Mostly because the legislation and social norms are falling well being what technology can do.

Drones – Some Recent News

This is more a collection of articles worth checking out that a huge exposition. Over time I’ll more specific posts. But these recent articles in IEEE Spectrum all got my attention.

Here is the Flyability Gimball Drone which has a unique feature, the cage protecting the propellers can rotate allowing it to run along walls, or explore ice caves.

More on this at Spectacular Video Shows Flyability’s Gimball Drone Exploring Ice Caves.

Here’s how to win $1 Million in a search and rescue competition for Drones. Note, the sound is pretty loud on this clip so maybe turn down a little before hitting play.

See This Invincible Flying Robot Just Won a $1 Million Drone Competition for more the full video of its award winning exploration of a simulated disaster site.

And Lily, another famous Drone Startup, is shipping flying cameras that seem to have taken the pet video market by storm.

Drones deliver

Drones can be useful for remote delivery of goods where freight infrastructure doesn’t yet exist, such as Africa. Check out¬†The Economics of Drone Delivery.

Protection from Drones

This has several implications. The major ones are privacy and safety. Drones can be used as weapons. And Drones can be used to spy on everything from neighbours to foreign military installations and governments.

So how do we protect ourselves?

The Dutch are training eagles to take Drones out of the air. Check this out.

The commentary is in Dutch but the video speaks for itself. The full article is at Dutch Police Training Eagles to Take Down Drones.

So that is a glimpse at this fairly broad topic.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

 

Supercapacitors

Supercapacitors are based on regular capacitors with very high energy storage and which can transfer that energy very rapidly. This means you can get rapid energy delivery and also rapid charging. This makes them the ideal complement to batteries which can store much larger amounts of energy but which cannot be charged as rapidly and may also not be able to deliver the energy rapidly enough.

This is why Supercapacitors and batteries are being combined to Make Batteries Better.

But what if they could eventually replace batteries?

Supercapacitors versus Batteries

Supercapacitors versus Batteries

Better Supercapacitors

One thing holding back Supercapacitors from replacing batteries is their total storage capacity. At present, the best supercapacitors can still be a factor of 10 smaller in energy storage.

Recent breakthroughs have shown that Carbon Nano-Structures can significantly improve the storage density and total capacity of Supercapacitors.

Nitrogen Doped Supercapacitor Electrode

Nitrogen Doped Supercapacitor Electrode

Building on this, the most recent breakthrough adds Nitrogen to the mix and shows that Nitrogen can Triple Supercapacitor Energy Density. This gets us to within a factor of 3 of battery storage capacity and opens up the possibility that Supercapacitors could replace batteries completely in some applications.  Especially if you want either very rapid charge or lots of charge cycles. Batteries cannot compete with Supercapacitors in either of these areas.

Capacitors still have one characteristic that makes them less desirable as energy sources that batteries.

Battery Discharge Curve

Battery Discharge Curve

Batteries maintain their voltage in a narrow range for most of the energy delivery they provide. The slope varies with capacitor type as is shown above for a comparison of Alkaline and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. Whereas a capacitor is a straight line with the voltage falling in proportion to the amount of energy extracted. And the reverse for charging the capacitor.

Supercapacitor Applications

Some obvious application arise for the next generation of Supercapacitors:

  • augmenting batteries even further than they do now – especially in high demand applications like automotive
  • anything that needs very rapid recharging
  • anything that needs a large number of recharge cycles (a key weakness of Lithium based batteries)
  • anything that needs extended life (10 year life requires specialised battery types even now)
  • removing the recycling ¬†problems for batteries

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Wireless Power

Wireless Power is one of the big topics for future electronics power. Cota is one of the players but there are plenty more wanting to be part of this emerging technology area.

The main issue is not just charging devices in cradles, but charging them wherever they are. Even moving. So how does that work?

Wireless Power in 2016

Finally we have details on this crucial question. At the USA CES 2016 show we have input from multiple companies. One writer concluded that Wireless Power is the hot topic for CES 2016.

Ossia Cota Wireless Power

Ossia Cota Wireless Power

Ossia‘s Cota technology is still a leading contender and has several reasons for this. The key point is that devices wanting power broadcast their intent and the transmitter uses multiple antennas to record the incoming request and then beam form a power send based on the request back to the requesting device. The use of multiple antennas means the power density is kept to an acceptably low level until the power converges on the requesting antenna.

If the request rate is 100Hz then you have to e moving pretty fast to not get power from a system like this.

The drawback, is a 12.5% power transfer efficiency at best. Even so, for low power devices or Internet of Things (IoT) devices this means you might be able to operate on rechargeable batteries without any wires or other charging schemes.

The other 2 major contenders are uBeam and Energous and it is still to be seen which technology will ultimately prove the most adaptable.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Internet of Things 2016

This is the year that the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to become the single biggest category for connected consumer electronics products. This was  covered in more detail in our post on The Internet of Things drives economic growth. But what about other sectors like Infrastructure? In the Pace Zenith Awards 2015 we were finalists with 5 of our projects and these were all Industrial or Infrastructure IoT Projects.

A new infographic shows some surprising details in this area.

The Internet of Things in 6 Visuals

The Internet of Things in 6 Visuals

The six areas looked at in details are:

  • IoT market overview
  • Companies per IoT category
  • Funding by IoT category
  • Venture Funding by IoT category
  • Global IoT breakdown
  • Age of IoT companies

Out thanks go to Appcessories for providing this insightful breakdown.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

2016 Australian Technical Events

My thanks go to Paul Daniels of Circuit Challenges and LC Circuits for preparing most of this list and to Joseph Madeley of IDC Technologies for details on their events.

International Conference on Computer Modeling and Simulation
18-19 Jan 2016
Brisbane

LINUX Conference
1-5 Feb 2016
Geelong

Interactive Entertainment Conference
2-5 Feb 2016
Canberra

International Conference on Emerging Trends in Engineering and Technology
4-5 Feb 2016
Melbourne

International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
7-11 Feb 2016
Canberra

Engineering and Technology Advances Conference
9 Feb 2016
Melbourne

Electricity Storage Future Forum
23-25 Feb 2016
Sydney

Chief Digital Officer Summit
24 Feb 2016
Sydney

International Conference on Communication and Electronics Information
3-4 Mar 2016
Melbourne

International Conference on Information Technology
3-4 Mar 2016
Melbourne

Electronic Visualisation and the Arts Conference
5-6 Mar 2016
Canberra

International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications
14-18 Mar 2016
Sydney

Low Voltage Design & Maintenance Conference
16th – 17th March 2016
Perth

Annual Remote Area Power Supply Conference
22-23 Mar 2016
Melbourne

2nd Dangerous Goods Conference
23rd – 24th Mar 2016
Perth

CONNECT EXPO 2016
19-20 Apr 2016
Melbourne

CeBIT
2-4 May 2016
Sydney

National Manufacturing Week
11-13 May 2016
Sydney

ARBS Exhibition
17-19 May 2016
Melbourne

6th Safety Control Systems Conference
18th May 2016
Melbourne

2nd Safety in Design Conference
19th May 2016
Melbourne

Lithium Batteries Conference
24th & 25th May 2016
Sydney

Comms Connect 2016
22-23 Jun 2016
Sydney

EduTECH 2016
30-31 May
Brisbane

Electric Power & Lighting Exhibition
28-29 Jun 2016
Melbourne

International Conference on Information Technology and Applications
1-4 Jul 2016
Sydney

Energy Future Conference and Exhibition
4-6 Jul 2016
Sydney

Security Conference and Exhibition
20-22 July 2016
Melbourne

5th High Voltage Conference
27-28 Jul 2016
Sydney

 

Integrate 2016
23-25 Aug 2016
Sydney

Lithium Batteries WA Conference
7 Sept 2016
Perth

6th Hazardous Areas Conference
27-28 Sept 2016
Brisbane

Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference
25-28 Sep 2016
Brisbane

23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems
10-14 Oct 2016
Melbourne

Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Asia
28 Nov – 01 Dec 2016
Melbourne

International Conference on Electrical Engineering and Technology
5-6 Dec 2016
Sydney

International Conference on Electrical, Computer, Electronics and Communication Engineering
5-6 Dec 2016
Sydney

If you are looking for a list of Australian Holidays then you can find those at¬†Australian Public Holidays, School Holidays & Other Important Days ‚Äď 2016. My thanks got to¬†¬†Dr Marc Dussault, the Exponential Growth Strategist¬†for¬†maintaining this list.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Requirements Capture versus Product Specification

In our post on Requirements Capture I looked at how we can go about understanding what a product has to do, who it has to do it for, and how to assess that. The output of this process is often referred to as a Product Specification or more specifically a Product Technical Specification.

One way to think if this is that Requirements Capture is a pull process, where as Product Specification is often a push process.

I was amused to read Jama Software’s blog on this topic where they show¬†a number of ways to go about writing the Product Specification. My favourite was their description of letting the development team write the specification.

Developers Write the Specifcation

Developers Write the Specification

We see a lot of this with web development where the web developers want to try a particular tool or technique so they use it for your project whether that is good for you or not. Below is a summary  of the other options and some common pitfalls.

Customer Supplied Specifications

If the customer is writing from a marketing perspective or a specific opportunity then you can end up with a very useful Product Specification. But if it purely a sales driven process then you often end up with the following combination:

  • superset of the features of all other products on the market
  • at a price 10% below the cheapest product on the market

This generally leads to a project doomed to fail or at the very least puts the product in a price war with a race to the bottom of the market. At the very least, it can put a straight jacket on the product and significantly reduce the likelihood of commercial success.

A marketing driven process will determine where in the market a product can be and at what price, for who and a clear strategy for competing with the other offerings.

Ask the customer

As¬†Steve Jobs famously said, “don’t ask them, they don’t know”. ¬†This isn’t always true, but the client often doesn’t know what is possible and part of the role of Product Developers is to give good guidance on¬†Technology Selection to give the product an edge in the market.

Otherwise, you just deliver what they asked for without caring about their success. I often think this is one thing we offer. We care about the client’s success.

Analyse across all constraints

This is the process we try and use.  And it is well captured in this image from Jama Software.

Product Specification

Product Specification

To be successful, a product should:

  • be possible and affordable with available technology you can actually buy or deploy
  • solve a well defined problem in an acceptable manner
  • fit within the constraints of either the manufacturing capability, logistics capability or market channels available

The last point is often overlooked. I was recently asked why we couldn’t design a product that cost $20 to make, have the range of a mobile phone, be manufactured in quantities of 100 of on demand, a development budget of under $20,000 and be able to be deployed with no infrastructure costs. This is an example of a wish list that can’t be realised as it is currently expressed. However, when we looked at it¬†from a different perspective, we were able to come up with a solution. The questions we asked were:

  • why do they want it?
  • who do they wanted it for?
  • what problem is it meant to solve?
  • what is solving that problem worth to the end user / buyer?
  • what is the manufactured volume versus unit price trade-off?
  • what can it really cost to develop and manufacture and still be profitable?

And suddenly the impossible can become possible. In this case they knew their market well. It was just an example of the customer starting with a specification rather than using the resources around them to get to a specification that could lead to commercial success.

And ultimately, that is where a Product Specification is meant to lead to: commercial success.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2015 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

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