Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
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Gary Audin | January 27, 2012 |


Prototype to Product; Faster than Ever

Prototype to Product; Faster than Ever Product cycles will continue to shorten, which will have a major impact on the enterprise as BYOD continues to proliferate.

Product cycles will continue to shorten, which will have a major impact on the enterprise as BYOD continues to proliferate.

Just when you thought you had the latest and greatest, someone announces or predicts the next replacement. Which tablets, smartphones and other devices will survive, what vendors will survive, and if so for how long before the device is obsoleted or the vendor drops the product?

Enterprises may want to institute a BYOD policy so that the employee has to pay the capital cost for the device. But think about it: After Christmas, the enterprise can be inundated with new BYODs that either must be supported or blocked. Blocking creates nearly as many headaches as trying to support new devices. Or the employee works around the blockage, resulting in lack of control and possibly not adhering to government regulations and corporate policies.

The speed at which new products can be prototyped and then brought to market is going to increase. The time to market can be a few months instead of years. The article "The prototype comes of age" published by EDN makes this clear. The traditional method of prototyping follows a single hardware model. The EDN article states:

“The single hardware-design model can no longer provide all of the functions users demand. The rapid increase in software content means that its development, debugging, and integration cannot be left until first silicon comes back from the fab. The RTL [register-transfer level] model is too slow for the effective performance of these tasks because it contains implementation details that software execution does not require. Engineers have used emulation to speed the RTL model, but this approach is still too slow, and it is often too expensive for manufacturers to make available to software-development teams. Engineers need faster and cheaper prototypes that are available much earlier in the design flow."

Products are more complex. Vendor software keeps expanding, as does software produced by third party vendors. Design engineers have traditionally modeled with the hardware-design model, then developed refinement steps until the model becomes the implementation model. More prototyping models are being used to speed the development and reduce the cost to produce new products. Developers need to deliver products that are expandable in software support. There are hundreds of thousands of apps. How many will need to be supported in the endpoint device for the enterprise?

A major factor, especially with endpoint devices like notebooks, tablets, e-books, phones and entertainment devices is that the lines between them are blurring. Today's entertainment devices and e-books are morphing into business tools. The smartphone offers many forms of entertainment. The crossover of these functions has already affected business-to-customer relationships. B2B communications is another area where devices affect the enterprise operation.

The creation of faster product prototyping, whether hardware or software, will accelerate the development of new products and may shorten the life of the existing products. Where enterprises capitalize IT investments, they may have to be expensed, even the costly ones, because the product has such a short life span. On the other hand, enterprises may elect to keep the older products and skip a product generation because of the expense, and to lessen the impact on the enterprise operations. This latter case works best when the enterprise buys the products. But when it is BYOD, then the enterprise loses some control and may have to catch up with the employees rather than lead the employees on product selection.

This situation will not end. The enterprise has to develop a broad flexible set of policies and rules for the ever changing BYOD situation. The policies cannot be based on specific products or technologies. These will continue to change, making a product or specific device policy obsolete in months.

Not only employees must be considered. The customer relationships will be affected as well as the other organizations with which the enterprise operates. What will government regulators want supported (or not) in the future? Will there be international influences that must be considered and regulations adopted? Then there are the continuing security issues. Will BYODs ever have the security the enterprise and government regulators desire? The enterprise should have already started to develop policies and implemented them. If not, then a rapid catch-up is mandatory.


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