I've always admired Phil Gibson's work and have often pointed to many of his accomplishments as best practices. This week, he did it again! On November 9, 2009, he unveiled the most sophisticated, yet simple to use Web dashboard that I have ever seen to help customers make buying decisions.
By turning a virtual knob to optimize for power efficiency, small footprint, and/or cost of a total bill of materials, design engineers can instantly generate and evaluate the most appropriate options among billions of power supply circuit designs. By turning the dial, or selecting different parameters or filters, engineers can visually navigate a bubble diagram depicting the choices that meet their requirements. They can zero in on a group of designs to compare. Or, by shifting their perspective or their parameters, instantly generate a new set of options. Designers can start from one point in space (input source, output voltage, and output current) and visually shape and navigate to their preferred solution. Phil calls it “designing at warp speed” because you feel as if you're in a spaceship jumping from one set of bubbles to another. The size of each bubble is its cost. The bubbles are arrayed along dimensions of footprint size, number of components, and efficient heat dissipation.
Phil Gibson is the VP of Technical Sales Tools at National Semiconductor. He is also in charge of National's award-winning Web site. Phil always amazes me with the robustness and completeness of the free Web-based tools he provides to prospects, customers, and partners.
Other e-business leaders may be happy when their customers can use their Web sites to quickly find and buy products. Phil isn't happy unless customers can use his Web site and tools to design, specify, simulate, and test complete circuitry, which they can then purchase either as a complete priced-out Bill of Materials from dozens of partners or purchase an evaluation board and components that are shipped overnight.