From Berlin to the Bay Area and beyond, we journeyed across the globe to share our vision for future of electronics design at this year’s Altium Designer Roadshow Series. This event has always been something of a tradition at our company, bringing people out of their cubicles and into the world to mingle with the engineering communities in our own backyards. If you didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s roadshow, here’s what you missed.
New Technologies Shaping Our Industry
Ask any engineer why they journey out to our roadshows year after year, and the answer is universally the same - to see what’s new for the future of electronics design and Altium Designer. This year we had a heavy hitting lineup of three new technologies to share with our customers, including:
New Documentation Possibilities in Altium Designer 16.1
Draftsman™ by its name alone was the crowd’s favorite this year. Maybe it’s the name that brings us back to our traditional engineering roots, or just the universally recognized relief that completing our documentation can finally be an easy and pain-free process. Whatever the reason, Draftsman™ unanimously stole the show as a prime example of how a PCB documentation tool should be - integrated, intuitive, and intelligent.
PDN Analysis Accessible to Every PCB Designer
With PDN Analyzer, we made one thing very clear this year - PDN analysis should be accessible to every PCB designer, not just our Ph.D-holding specialists. Engineers at our roadshow were impressed by the possibilities this new extension opened for electronics design in Altium Designer, and we’re incredibly excited about its future potential.
Intelligent and Automated Parts Management
Last but not least, we presented a topic that makes every engineer cringe - library management. Ciiva SmartParts is shaping up to change the future of our parts management processes with some sorely needed automation and intelligence. And who knows, Ciiva just might make us enjoy managing our components in the future.
With the introduction of these three new technologies at the Altium Designer Roadshow Series, we’ve paved the way for a richer, more diverse world of electronics design. But new technologies weren’t the only thing worth sharing this year. I had some time to sit down with some of our customers to pick their brain about the future of electronics design.
What’s Next for Electronics Design?
We all have our favored predictions for the future of electronics design, and it was fascinating to hear such a diverse set of opinions on where our industry is headed. If there’s two worlds to sum up the collection of predictions, it’s all about designs getting smaller and additive.
Smaller, More Sophisticated Designs
Chris Carlson, one of our Field Application Engineers at Altium, summed up his prediction about the ongoing miniaturization of electronics in our interview:
“Look at the last 10 years and where technology has gone. 10 years ago there wasn't such a thing as a smartphone. If you’ve ever taken one apart, they pack so much technology into that device, and it's just going to get more complex, more sophisticated. Designs are going to be smaller, with more capabilities.”
From a Subtractive to an Additive Design Process
And how are we going to deal with the added complexity and reduced sizes in our electronic designs? John Lewis at Hewlett Packard Enterprises shared his thoughts:
“I think instead of going from a subtractive process you’re going to start seeing more of an additive process with 3D printed circuit boards. I think that has the potential to almost revolutionize the industry.”
Will the printed circuit board that we know today continue to exist as we know it? The future is looking to bring some big changes to our industry.
Getting to the Heart of Engineering
At the end of my interviews at this year’s roadshow, I asked one final question that I wanted to know - why did you become an engineer? I won’t spoil the answers for you, you’ll just have to discover them yourself in our Altium Designer 2016 Roadshow video. But if there’s one thing for certain, it’s that engineers are born, not made.
So why did you become an engineer? Let us know in the comments.
About the Author
BiographyMore Content by Derrick Lewis