TechOnLine Introduces Hands-on Product Evaluation Tool

TechOnLine Introduces Hands-on Product Evaluation Tool

Business/Technology Editors

BEDFORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 3, 2000

Innovative TechOnLine VirtuaLab(R) Enables Online Evaluation and

Demonstration for Technical Products

TechOnLine, Inc. (www.techonline.com), the complete online resource for the design engineering community, today announced the availability of VirtuaLab, a revolutionary Internet technology that dramatically changes and improves the product evaluation process for the electronics engineering community. By leveraging the power of the Internet, the patent-pending VirtuaLab provides an efficient and cost-effective alternative to the traditional product evaluation and demonstration model, which significantly reduces the costs associated with the buying and selling of electronic design products.

Today’s engineers are faced with the challenge of producing viable designs quickly, while staying abreast of constantly changing and improving technologies. The traditional evaluation process involves engineers waiting for approval and shipment of evaluation kits from multiple vendors before they can begin their review, adding weeks and sometimes months to their evaluation process. Alternatives like demonstration CDs do not allow end-users to actually try the real version of the product.

At the same time, the vendors’ products are becoming more complex and their differentiation is decreasing. The only way for the vendors to demonstrate the advantages of their products early in the design cycle is to give the engineer the opportunity to experiment with the actual product. Only TechOnLine VirtuaLab delivers this capability on the Internet.

“It’s obvious that the traditional evaluation and demonstration process is inefficient and expensive,” said Richard Strauss, Vice President, Operations and Research, TechOnLine. “TechOnLine’s VirtuaLab allows engineers to `test-drive’ actual products over the Internet, on demand. This provides cost and time savings to the manufacturer or distributor and ensures a more timely and true product evaluation experience to the engineer evaluating products. It’s a smart solution to an age-old problem.”

VirtuaLab can be used as a demonstration and education tool, an evaluation tool, or both. As a demonstration tool, VirtuaLab can be used to conduct real-time sales and marketing demos in a controlled environment, and with its shadowing capability, a field engineer can replicate a face-to-face demo with an engineer, despite each being geographically dispersed. As an education tool, an engineer can use a VirtuaLab to try a product while he is being educated about it on the TechOnLine web site or by the vendor directly. As an evaluation tool, TechOnLine pairs the actual product with a tutorial on how to use the product, and hosts the package on www.techonline.com. Engineers from around the world can access and evaluate the product over the Internet on their time, with no installation or hardware concerns.

By improving the evaluation process, VirtuaLab also improves the economic model of designing electronics, as well as the vendor’s sales process. For engineers, a shorter evaluation process speeds the design cycle, resulting in a shorter time to market for their products. By eliminating on-site sales calls and the associated travel time, VirtuaLab provides a cost savings to the vendor and increases the number of sales calls that can be made in any given day, so that applications engineers are operating more efficiently.

Already, engineers are using VirtuaLabs developed for technology providers Wind River Systems, Inc., for their visionCLICK product, and National Instruments for their LabVIEW product. Hands-on experience is an effective method for both traditional and distance evaluation practices.

In addition to the current VirtuaLabs available for evaluation from Wind River and National Instruments, TechOnLine plans to add additional VirtuaLabs by the end of the year to provide an alternative and better solution to the existing evaluation process for both engineers and vendors in the electronics design market.

About TechOnLine

TechOnLine (www.techonline.com) is the premier destination for online education, information and resources for the electronics engineering community worldwide. TechOnLine provides design engineers with the most industry product information in the digital signal processing (DSP), analog, embedded systems, electronic design automation (EDA), and Internet appliance markets. At TechOnLine University, in-depth technical training at no cost offers engineers the knowledge they need to solve real-world design challenges and keep pace with constantly changing technologies.

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