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EE|Times On Air and Rolling Stone Exclusive: How technology is changing the way we experience music

EE|Times On Air host David Finch speaks with Jesse Will, Contributing Editor to Rolling Stone, about exciting new advancements in audio technology and more

The steady pace of technology advancements that we have seen in recent years has led to some truly amazing improvements across multiple industries. One area in particular, audio technology, has seen so much change that the modern-day audio experience, if you will, is vastly different from what was available just a decade ago.

Indeed, breakthrough technologies in the recording studio, musical equipment and listening devices has changed how we listen to music in the most profound ways. Innovation in audio engineering has made the unimaginable our new reality, and the unachievable the industry’s new standard.

EE|Times On Air host Dave Finch recently explored some exciting new advancements within this field with Jesse Will, contributing editor to Rolling Stone. In the first part of the interview, seen below, Dave and Jesse discuss advancements being made in the car cabin, including noise cancellation capabilities, improved speaker options and more. In the second part, the two review improvements being made to the live music world, including sound beams, audio reinforcement and more.

Dave Finch | Jess Will: Interview, Part 1

Dave Finch | Jess Will: Interview, Part 2

For those unfamiliar, EETimes On Air is a 30-minute, downloadable radio show hosted by Dave Finch, a semiconductor engineer with twenty years’ experience in electronic design and market development for consumer, industrial, and healthcare applications. The goal of EETimes On Air is to provide deep dives on the most compelling stories in electronics, complete with insight from subject matter experts across the industry.

If you’d like to listen to more episodes, download EETimes On Air podcasts on EETimes or through your preferred podcast provider.

To see additional live recording sessions, check out the other EETimes On Air recordings that took place at CES 2019.

On the floor with Arrow at CES 2019

The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is taking place right now in Las Vegas, Nevada and Arrow once again is in the heart of Eureka Park.

 

Those visiting Arrow’s booth at CES 2019 have exclusive access to Arrow and partner experts and resources to help them create, make and manage their technology. What’s more, AI- and IoT-enabled demos are being featured from partners like NVIDIA, Analog Devices and Silicon Labs.

Arrow is also hosting a wide array of leaders from various startups and enterprises, to allow visitors the chance to get their advice and insights on bringing a product to market, or just to check out their state-of-the-art technology.

Here’s a highlight clip of all the action taking place at the booth so far at CES 2019:

Among the companies, both big and small, exhibiting at the Arrow booth:

Opkix

Opkix will demonstrate their ONE camera, camera accessories and Opkix Studio mobile application for content creators. The Opikix products and applications help users capture videos and post to social media in a simple and exciting way.

BareConductive

BareConductive will demonstrate how their hardware, software and electric paint can combine to create an intelligent coating. They will show how a printed piece of paper with a small piece of attached hardware can detect the presence and movement of a human, inset or fluid up to one meter away.

Unlimited Tomorrow

Unlimited Tomorrow will demonstrate their 3D printed, ultralight, AI enhanced, high tech prosthetic arm. They have built an intuitive and scalable model for custom prosthetic devices that leverages 3D scanning, 3D printing and machine learning to achieve a better fit at a significant cost reduction.

Waggit

Waggit will demonstrate the Waggit mobile application. The Waggit mobile app combines with the Waggit collar to showing real time info/data for the customer’s dog.

Anyware

Anyware will demonstrate and discuss their existing and new Smart Living Services and how they link with Smart Adaptors and electrical home appliances. The Smart Living Services are based on the Anyware IoT product – the Anyware Smart Adaptor™.

DS Services Cotts Pureflo

The DS Services Cotts Pureflo demo is a POU (Point of Use) Water filtration cooler with IoT technology incorporated. Pureflo will demonstrate how their filtration cooler and digital dashboard interact to intelligently approach service requirements and issues before they become an inconvenience for customers. 

Skylights

Skylights will be demonstrating the Allovue standalone Cinematic VR headset. Additionally, their demonstration will generate leads for a B2C Indiegogo campaign in February.

Honeywell

Honeywell will demonstrate a speech recognition product for industrial customers that uses Honeywell’s latest hardware and software platform. This demonstration will highlight the Honeywell industrial product that uses the latest processing and wireless technologies available to recognize speech in a noisy environment

Modobag

The Modobag demonstration will highlight the functionality of their Smart Luggage System. The Modobag is the first carry on suitcase one can ride.

Visit the booth

It’s all happening at CES 2019, only at the Arrow booth in the heart of Eureka Park. Get there now!

If you’re not at CES 2019, head to arrow.com to learn more about everything the company is doing at the world’s largest consumer technologies showcase.

How blockchain technology will revolutionize the next decade’s supply chain

There has been a lot of talk about blockchain disrupting banking, investment, insurance and government. But if there is one industry in which the distributed ledger technology can make its most significant impact, it is logistics and supply chain.

Utilizing blockchain to record the provenance of products and components would remove any opportunity to tamper with records, thereby providing reassurance to the OEM and end user, and reducing the risk of using the wrong parts.

Furthermore, using blockchain can simplify supply chain finance, removing the dependence on time-consuming, paper-based processing and reducing the settlement period between a manufacturer delivering parts to distributors or OEMs and receiving payment for those parts.

In the future, blockchain technology could also be an enabler of fully automated logistics such as robotic warehouses and autonomous trucks.

Blockchain can replace the traditional mechanisms for cross-border settlement, which are slow and expensive. According to McKinsey: “The average cost for a bank to execute a cross-border payment via legacy correspondent banking agreements remains in the range of $25 to $35, more than 10 times more than for an average domestic ACH payment.”[1] Around a third of these costs are typically made up from managing liquidity costs, with treasury costs comprising a further 25 percent, while other significant elements include reconciliation, counterparty fees and compliance.

Manufacturers and OEMs can trust the provenance of components and materials

When used across the entire supply chain, blockchain provides a complete distributed ledger from the component manufacturer to the factory and, ultimately, to the final consumer of any product or component. Knowing precisely the entire provenance and being able to check it across several independent copies ensures compliance and safety.

Additionally, a solid distributed record of provenance makes it much more difficult to introduce counterfeited products into the supply chain. Both suppliers and clients are able to check product quantities, track its location and ensure that the entire shipment is delivered to the right destination.

When paired with technologies such as IoT location sensors, smart pallets,[2] and LTE-M or NB-IoT cellular connectivity, documenting a product’s journey across the supply chain reveals its true origin and touchpoints. Manufacturers and distributors can also reduce recalls by sharing logs with OEMs and regulators.

Cloud, edge and machine-learning adoption improves with blockchain

By 2020, it’s projected that over 50 billion supply-chain devices will be IoT-enabled.[3] As manufacturers and distributors adopt IoT and machine learning to optimize their systems, those planning for blockchain adoption can leverage substantial savings when the technology is widespread.

Edge computing is a natural partner to blockchain. On supply chain and logistics, most of the processing and tracking occurs locally, sometimes without a reliable connection to the cloud. To keep an accurate record of the sensor-collected data, blockchain-enabled gateways can be deployed, regularly sending the aggregate collected data to the blockchain network to keep the ledger accurate.

Blockchain is a technology that is starting to gain traction

These potential efficiency improvements, paired with the vast amount of information collected, makes blockchain a desirable technology that many companies are beginning to explore.

Like every new technology, however, there are formidable obstacles to overcome first. While blockchain solutions address plenty of potential hurdles in the supply chain, some issues could prevent its widespread integration. These challenges involve blockchain’s complexity, governance and hardware requirements.

One crucial issue is the computer power required to run a vast blockchain network, one that everybody can access. Cryptocurrency mining, the first global example of blockchain, has demonstrated that keeping the servers running is quite expensive, and many bitcoin farms have been closing recently due to running costs and reduced profits.

Another important challenge will be the governance of the technology. According to Michael J. Casey, author of The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order: “Ideally, to encourage free access, competition and open innovation, global supply chains would have the option to anchor to a public blockchain that no entity controls. In other words, data extracted from commercial and production activity would be cryptographically recorded in open ledgers.” However, he adds, “inevitably, private, closed ledgers run by a consortium of companies will also arise as their members seek to protect market share and profits.”

Additionally, as other technologies enter manufacturing and the supply chain, implementing blockchain will require cross-technology expertise, especially for vendors, distributors and logistics companies.

Similarly to IoT networks and edge computing, governance and standardization in blockchains is going to be important. Some standards organizations and regulators such as the European Commission are already looking into issuing implementation guidelines and drafting regulations,[4] which will become the framework for large adoption.

Nevertheless, at some point, the huge potential of the technology will make blockchain the blueprint of commerce, much like DNA is the blueprint of life.

Interested in learning more?

For more information on this topic, or to get in touch with engineering specialist who can help answer any questions you might have, head to arrow.com

[1] “Global Payments 2016: Strong Fundamentals Despite Uncertain Times.” https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Financial%20Services/Our%20Insights/A%20mixed%202015%20for%20the%20global%20payments%20industry/Global-Payments-2016.ashx.

[2] “EBN – Pablo Valerio – The Humble Pallet Gets Smart.” 5 Jun. 2017, https://www.ebnonline.com/author.asp?section_id=3560&doc_id=282751

[3] “Internet Of Things Will Deliver $1.9 Trillion Boost To Supply Chain And ….” https://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?articleId=1621819.

[4] “EU Blockchain Roundtable paves the way for Europe to lead in ….” 20 Nov. 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/eu-blockchain-roundtable-paves-way-europe-lead-blockchain-technologies.

When designing a new product, BOM optimization can save money and production time

Creating the right kit for a new product is a difficult task. In some instances, it’s harder than making the original prototype. Performing bill-of-materials (BOM) optimization can provide significant savings in component costs, manufacturing and for the designer, time spent figuring out what went wrong.

As product design moves from ideation to prototype, and then to build and analyze, BOM optimization can help on every phase to automate, reduce cost, improve form factor and functionality, and make a better, marketable product.

Every engineer has his/her design system, and every team its own pace. In many cases, especially on cutting-edge product prototyping, engineers work in a vacuum. Engineering needs to work with other departments to make sure product launches hit set goals on quality and functionality, especially with sales, planning, procurement, and shopfloor teams as early as possible and throughout the product launch.

From lab to production, not all things are equal. When designing a new product or system, the most important thing is to come out with a solution within the allocated time and have it ready for the assembly line.

Once the product has been tested in the lab and considered ready, time to production is critical. A working prototype, however, might not have the most suitable components for large production runs.

At the same time, last-minute changes can delay production for weeks, if not months. That is why, during the final phases of prototyping, engineers need to be aware of component availability, pricing, and production requirements.

Ensuring the supply of critical components needs to be secured even if design changes are not required

There is nothing more frustrating or disastrous than engineering the perfect product or subsystem and then not being able to manufacture it in quantity for lack of components, expensive BOM or inability to sell in some markets.

The supply chain should be an integral part of the product design. Preventing end-of-life parts being built into the product, ensuring parts from qualified suppliers are being used, securing that lead times are known up front, as well as the same form, fit, function alternative/substitute parts/suppliers have been identified for full-scale production.

Engineers working on product design or making lab adjustments to existing products need to understand basic supply chain concepts and issues such as end-of-life (EOL) and alternative parts.

Additionally, small changes in design while keeping the same features can affect pricing and deliveries. That happens quite often in the final stages just before the product is ready for the first production run. That is why many OEMs schedule the production of a small batch of the final product in simulated manufacturing scenarios to find out any problems and possible changes before sending the final design to their main assembly lines.

Product packaging and design also need to be considered when making product changes. Some components, even if they have the same electronic specifications, might not be suitable to place on the PCB for cosmetic or packaging reasons. In some cases, materials used are not compatible with the placement of certain components, i.e., wireless modems or antennas.

Another critical factor to consider when specifying components during product design is the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the product. Saving a few cents using a component with a shorter operating lifespan or higher failure rate can cost much more if the product fails in the field.

International trade also needs to be factored in. Sourcing some components internationally or using some that are restricted or banned in specific regions can increase the cost of the product or require different versions for different markets.

The European Union, for example, bans the import of any product that uses substances such as lead, cadmium and other pollutants[1] in addition to components with minerals from certain war regions, i.e., the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The United States also bans components from certain countries either because of conflict minerals or economic sanctions and has recently increased tariffs on products and materials from several regions, including Europe and Asia.

In addition to the problems mentioned above, managing the supply chain is challenging during all stages of production, testing and delivering.

When securing the right components, it is necessary to make sure that they are original—as the market is plagued with counterfeit units—and of good quality, especially if purchased secondhand.

Also, new standards and regulations are pushing electronic vendors to consider sustainability when making decisions on materials and manufacturing. This is no longer a world where companies’ profits are above the concerns of the environment.[2]

Design for the Circular Economy

It is essential to consider the Circular Economy principles (reuse, refurbish, recycle, maintain, and collect) when designing a new product or optimizing the supply chain.[3]

Pollution caused by electrical and electronic devices is a growing problem that needs to be addressed right from the design stage. The European Union estimates that by 2020, 12 million metric tons of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) will be generated every year by discarded products in the member states.[4]

Most products and components can be designed for end-of-life recycling. Batteries used on electric vehicles, for example, can have a second life as power storage for renewable energy, and many metals can be extracted from used devices and PCBs for reuse in new products.

Arrow can help design the right kit and manage the supply chain

As the largest distributor of electronic components, Arrow has many years of experience working with OEMs during all phases of product design and manufacture from conception to market.

Arrow can help to define the right kit for your product or PCB. Its BOM optimization service can identify the most suitable components for your design, taking into account product availability, end-of-life of components, logistics, international regulations, and other requirements.

Additionally, when an engineering change order (ECO) is issued for an existing design, Arrow can recalculate the entire BOM and optimize logistics to minimize the impact on production.

Arrow’s procurement services can verify suppliers and components to ensure quality, origin, and compliance even when it is necessary to use secondary market units due to availability. OEMs can rest assured that purchases made with Arrow are shipped with full certificates of compliance, which remove the risk of counterfeit parts entering the supply chain.

Arrow can also help with process analysis, helping to optimize assembly lines and procedures. Its inventory of billions of parts ensures that, in most cases, the piece or component that the OEM needs is available and ready to ship, and Arrow’s supply chain intelligence[5] helps to ensure timely deliveries.

Having expertise closer to its customers is one of Arrow’s primary goals. That’s why it has engineering teams all over the world that can support customers on any technology right there in their time zone.

Interested in learning more?

For more information on this topic, or to get in touch with engineering specialist who can help answer any questions you might have, head to arrow.com

References

[1] “Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive – Wikipedia.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restriction_of_Hazardous_Substances_Directive.

[2] “Sustainable Electronics Initiative – Wikipedia.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Electronics_Initiative.

[3] https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/infographic

[4] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/weee/index_en.htm

[5] “Arrow Intelligent Systems – Services: Supply Chain Management.” https://www.arrow.com/intelligentsystems/na/en/services/business-solutions/supply-chain-management/.

Create | Make | Manage: With Arrow at CES 2019

The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is set to take place January 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Arrow will once again have its booth set up at the world’s largest stage for technology innovation — right in the heart of Eureka Park.

At the booth, visitors will have access to Arrow and partner experts and resources to help them create, make and manage their technology.

Arrow engineers will be showcasing AI and IoT enabled demos from partners such as NVIDIA, Analog Devices and Silicon Labs. Visitors can chat with engineers to get help on their design challenges.

Ready to scale your production? Manufacturing and supply chain experts will also be on-site to answer today’s biggest questions, including rapid prototyping, blockchain, edge computing, IT asset disposition and more. IoT and cloud connectivity experts will also be available to help explain how the company can help manage their product once it’s in market.

Finally, it is worth noting that Arrow’s global support organization and worldwide engineering services group will be available at the booth to help answer questions as it relates to completing productization, so as to allow today’s entrepreneurs the ability to spend greater focus on growing the business.

Opportunities abound at the Arrow booth

As with previous shows, Arrow will continue its tradition of encouraging innovation by giving away FREE Arduinos to booth visitors. While you’re there, meet leaders from startups and enterprises to get their advice and insights on bringing their product to market, or just check out their state-of-the-art technology.

Among those in attendance:

  • Unlimited Tomorrow: Unlimited Tomorrow will demonstrate their 3D printed, ultralight, AI enhanced, high tech prosthetic arm. They have built an intuitive and scalable model for custom prosthetic devices that leverages 3D scanning, 3D printing and machine learning to achieve a better fit at a significant cost reduction.
  • Waggit: Waggit will demonstrate the Waggit mobile application. The Waggit mobile app combines with the Waggit collar to showing real time info/data for the customer’s dog.
  • Bare Conductive: BareConductive will demonstrate how their hardware, software and electric paint can combine to create an intelligent coating. They will show how a printed piece of paper with a small piece of attached hardware can detect the presence and movement of a human, inset or fluid up to one meter away.
  • Modobag: The Modobag demonstration will highlight the functionality of their Smart Luggage System. The Modobag is the first carry on suitcase one can ride.
  • Anyware: Anyware will demonstrate and discuss their existing and new Smart Living Services and how they link with Smart Adaptors and electrical home appliances. The Smart Living Services are based on the Anyware IoT product – the Anyware Smart Adaptor™.

And finally, Arrow will offer on-site engineering and IoT specialists who can speak with visitors about their greatest technology challenge, idea or problem to gather advice and learn what’s needed in order to enter the Arrow Certification program.

It’s all happening at CES 2019, only at the Arrow booth in the heart of Eureka Park.

If you’re not going to CES 2019, then head to arrow.com to learn more about everything the company is doing at the world’s largest consumer technologies showcase.

IT asset disposition in the age of IoT

Disposing of IT assets has become even more challenging in the age of the internet of things (IoT) and the industrial IoT (IIoT). Electronic devices contain toxic components, which can be harmful to the environment. These devices often contain personal and proprietary data, too. But there are other potential uses for end-of-life electronics, beyond simply throwing them away.

According to the International Telecommunication Union, the world produces approximately 45 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste) each year, and that number is expected to keep rising.

A contributor is the ongoing explosion in smart, mobile devices and in the number and types of devices connected to IoT and IIoT networks. By 2020, Gartner expects that there will be more than 20 billion IoT devices, according to its Market Guide for IT Asset Disposition.

When the useful life of these devices has come to an end, how to properly dispose of each, actual device is an ongoing challenge.  For example, toxic e-waste illegally dumped in developing countries is currently a major threat to the health of millions of people worldwide. The StEP Initiative launched by the United Nations is one of several efforts to address this challenge on a global scale, however, more needs to be done to ensure the safety and well-being of today’s global population as well as future generations to come.

It’s also worth noting that the continuing rise in the amount of e-waste poses two types of major risks to a company’s brand equity: environmentally safe recycling and data security. In addition, companies must manage compliance with ever-changing regulations from multiple regional, national and global sources.

Electronic devices contain toxic components, which can be harmful to the environment if they are improperly disposed. Because these devices often contain personal and proprietary data, improperly disposing of them also leaves sensitive data open to exploitation. As the average cost of a data breach continues to rise (according to IBM it is nearing $4 million), this is a growing problem as well.

There are solutions

Identifying and properly disposing of IoT devices requires a transparent, robust IT asset disposition (ITAD) process. Thorough, certified data sanitization that is performed to accepted industry standards is the first step in sustainable technology management. But what comes next?

There are four potential uses for end-of-life electronics. Technology that’s still functional may be refurbished, redeployed within an organization, remarketed as used equipment or donated to a reputable charity to extend its useful life. When an electronic device can’t be reused as a whole entity, it’s possible that some of its components might be safely recovered. Otherwise, the device can be recycled according to best-practice industry standards.

  • Redeployment – Many businesses want to redeploy their electronics within their own company. It’s important to know in advance that simply deleting files isn’t enough to protect sensitive data. Smartphones, for example, hide data in many places that require specialized knowledge to locate and erase it. Sensitive data found by anyone other than its intended owner is still a data breach, regardless of where the device is reused, and organizations can be held liable under data protection laws. Thorough, professional data sanitization and refurbishment of electronic devices is, thus, key to their successful redeployment.
  • Reuse/Remarketing – Used technology that is still functional can be remarketed if a company doesn’t want to redeploy it internally. Old electronics that have been securely sanitized of data can be repaired and reimaged with new operating systems, remarketed and used “like new” so that a portion of the expense from that piece of technology can be recovered. Professional ITAD providers will ensure that data security and environmental standards are protected throughout this process.
  • Donation – Many people don’t have access to technology today. Leading businesses often want to donate used electronics to a non-profit that can help bridge the digital divide. To donate effectively, it’s critical to work with a professional ITAD provider.
  • Recycle – The most important step in the process of recycling electronic devices is ensuring that they are recycled according to the highest environmental standards available and that they don’t become e-waste. In some cases, it may be possible to recover valuable components from a device for reuse in other electronics. When that’s not possible, it’s vital to break down the remainder of the device into its core materials so that they can be sold and turned into new products.

Example: Arrow Electronics’ lifecycle management

In 2017, leading ITAD provider Arrow Electronics processed more than 6 million devices, kept 49,000 tons of electronics out of landfills, found new life for nearly 3 million devices and returned more than 13 million pounds of materials to the manufacturing stream.

In addition to working with a respected ITAD disposition partner, IT asset managers must show that their company’s assets are managed, from the design phase to deployment, as well as end of life. This is lifecycle management. ITAD is only one part of Arrow’s greater end-to-end lifecycle portfolio of services. In addition to providing support and ITAD services, this breadth of offerings helps companies create, build and deploy their electronic assets with design, integration and installation services. As a leader in technology lifecycle management, Arrow operates from a single global standard across the largest global footprint in the industry.

Arrow is a trusted partner to over half of the Fortune 100, as well as to other top global corporations and OEMs. In servicing industries with a reliable sustainability solution, it strives to provide the highest ROI from refurbished devices:

  • Arrow provides businesses a variety of options to properly sanitize data and extend the life of electronics.
  • Before any device is refurbished, resold, donated or recycled, Arrow ensures that all data on a device is removed. Data sanitization methods are aligned with U.S. NIST SP 800-88 guidelines.
  • Arrow’s reuse-first philosophy helps companies find meaningful life for their used technology, including revenue-generating opportunities for used equipment or components. For example, if donation is selected as an option, Arrow ensures that secure data sanitization occurs, the device has a licensed operation system and the electronic assets are donated to a reputable charity efficiently and safely.
  • Every step of Arrow’s process is designed to protect companies and their data from security and environmental risks. All processes are traceable and auditable. Each device is individually tracked, and a Certificate of Data Destruction is provided.

Interested in learning more?

For more information on this topic, or to get in touch with engineering specialist who can help answer any questions you might have, head to arrow.com

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