Keysight Survey: Integrated workflow, data sharing accelerates product development

Keysight Technologies Inc., a technology company that helps enterprises, service providers, and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, recently released the “Keysight 2019 Electronic Product Design” report, which reveals that data sharing enabled by an integrated product development solution would significantly improve time-to-market across the entire product development workflow.

The Keysight report is based on a survey, conducted by Dimensional Research, of 304 engineers, managers and executives that design, validate and test electronic devices. The survey focused on the challenges identified by respondents across the entire product design workflow. The results identified data correlation and software integration as the most pressing challenges faced by design and test engineers. The survey revealed that 9 out of 10 companies take months to correlate test result data.

“The survey shows that there is a tremendous opportunity to reduce the time-to-market across each phase of the electronic device product development lifecycle,” said Todd Cutler, vice president and general manager of Keysight’s’ Design and Test Software Organization. “Nearly every company is trying to leverage and compare design simulation data to test results. The correlation issue is due to, in part, the numerous tools used in the development lifecycle. These tools are not integrated and require hours of coding each week to share data.”

Data sharing and correlation

Companies are pushing the limits of design with longer battery life, smaller components and higher levels of integration. As a result, test engineering requirements are growing exponentially. For example, the 5G New Radio (NR) standard specifies 20 more conformance tests than the 4G standard. As the amount of data collected grows, companies know that they need a new way to share data between design and test teams. Over 50% of respondents surveyed say that improved data sharing would facilitate time-to-market.

Electronic design software is pushing boundaries through the integration of circuit and electromagnetic simulators, 3D layout capabilities, and optimization cockpits. As designers innovate, test engineers struggle to configure the required validation tests and manage the resulting data. 91% of survey respondents spend up to 6 months of correlating simulation data to test results, a critical step to ensure performance and reliability. This work significantly slows time-to-market for electronic products. The reasons why it takes months for companies to correlate design simulation results with actual physical device test results vary. One common reason is that engineers write custom scripts to pull the data out of various software tools. Writing or updating the scripts can cost as much as one day of an engineer’s time per week.

Integrated workflow to accelerate time-to-market

Given the complexities of multiple tools, an integrated way to share data is required for companies to stay ahead in the test and measurement industry. An integrated workflow includes simulated waveform files, test scripts and parameters, configuration information, target design performance parameters, and of course, test results, as well as margin and threshold analysis of pass/fail conditions. According to the survey, 93% of respondents want to accelerate time-to-market with an integrated product development solution that enables data sharing.

As designs grow in complexity and test data volume increases, an integrated product development solution must enable cloud-scale processing with run-anywhere software architecture. An integrated and scalable product development solution that enables such data sharing offers an approach to removing time-to-market barriers for design and test engineers alike.

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