A source of learning for engineers

Online

While IT companies often use educational institutions as the way of orientating future techies to their products, Farnell – distributors of electronic and MRO (Maintenance Repair and Operations) components – have started a website on the lines of social networking platforms for electronic engineers and designers of electronic devices to exchange ideas and share their expertise.

The site, launched on June 2, has been started to provide an unbiased and independent information on all kinds of technology tools and products in the market. “This is a open platform for electronic design community,” said Ravi Pagar, Managing Director of Farnell India, who pointed that India has been one of the major destinations to have generated more visitors to the site. “We have brought together suppliers of tools and equipments (for designing electronic products), academicians and other experts in the field along with students, technology writers and virtually anyone who wants to delve into electronic designing. We hope element-14 would eventually bring together people with right design ideas and the experts who can give shape to it.”

With over 10,000 pieces of specialised data ranging from articles, whitepapers, block diagrams, product/tool details etc, the site can provide any kind of information engineers can search for. A specialised content development team based in Farnell’s global technical centres in India and China, has posted materials in areas ranging from electrical, wireless and aerospace.

“We have different sources for gathering the content,” Pagar said. “Obviously, our suppliers and customers – who are amongst the most established names in the industry – remain the primary source. There are also other independent experts who contribute to the contents. This is an on-going process and we have made sure that all relevant contents are included.”

Social networking

Like the social networking sites, users of element-14 need to register to access its contents, which is free. They are also given their own space to post their own content. With almost all web 2.0 components incorporated, the site makes communication with others easy.

“Users can post messages, ask questions, search for details of a specific tool or find out from others about the tools to be used for developing their design –in all the site is dynamic for the users to get nearly anything they want,” Pagar said.

For nearly 2,00,000 electronic engineering students who pass out from universities in India, the site can be an excellent resource for learning. Given the shortage of expertise and lab equipments, students have nothing more than theoretical understanding of electronic concepts to depend on for job interviews. Not many of them have opportunities to pursue internships, which would give them a chance to gain hands-on training on tools and equipments.

“Even so, their understanding on several aspects of designing is very less,” Pagar said. “They need to keep themselves abreast with technology trends and need mentorship and guidance from experts. Element-14 can fulfil all these requirements and doesn’t restrict their understanding to a specific tool or product.”

While Farnell has decided to keep the site non-commercial, independent and the right place for those eager to educate or research about electronic design, they feel the exercise would benefit them a great deal.

“Firstly, we will be able to observe trends,” Pagar said. “This would contribute towards improving our time to market and productivity at large. Of course, the idea is to create a win-win situation.” The website can be accessed on www.element-14.com

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