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Aerospace and Defense Channel / Cellular 4G/LTE Channel / RFID/GPS/Location Channel

RF Industry Apps Improve Efficiency

September 14, 2012
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Mobile apps are changing the way we conduct business, research products and find the fastest way to solve a problem. Mobile apps are now emerging as a new tool for engineers in the RF/microwave industry who find themselves in need of applications that can meet their demands from research to production. There is a market for apps within the RF/microwave industry as we notice that engineers, both experienced and novice look for more accessible learning tools versus the standard textbook. These apps for operating systems, such as iOS and Android, can be employed to retrieve data, evaluate designs and obtain test results or quickly make calculations with a tap on a screen. These applications have presented a shift in the methods that are used to acquire information on all technological avenues. Subsequently, speeding the process associated with receiving, sending and conducting research and data analysis.

Technology by today’s standards dictates efficiency in everyday business, from engineers in the lab to R&D to manufacturing. Advancements in technology have changed drastically from Generation X to Generation Y; all generations struggling to keep up with the demands of being the next innovators or keeping up with the changing dynamics of fast moving markets.  Be it in the RF industry, electronics, defense, or telecommunications, the technology world is moving at a rapid pace and increasing the need to require more industries to stay relevant if not be at the forefront of new developments.

Many companies have released applications through the Apple iTunes store that pertain to the RF industry, such as Agilent Technologies, JDSU, National Instruments, Oscium, and Xilinx.  Agilent Technologies has developed many apps for engineers including Engineering Calc (EC) this is an application intended to be used as a field calculator for electrical values based on Ohm’s Law, simulate a Smith Chart diagram and determine the resistor and capacitor values based on their color codes. The JDSU app DSAMobile Lite is an iPad application that is used wirelessly in conjunction with the JDSU Digital Service Analysis Meter (DSAM) CATV test instrument; which features a full scan of channels from 50 MHz to 1 GHz in a single view and utilizes pass/fail analysis based on the configuration of the DSAM instrument.

Figure 1

Figure 1 MegaPhase App start screen.

Other examples include National Instruments that has developed many apps including Data Dashboard Mobile. Data Dashboard Mobile app is essential for on-the-go engineers to access custom and portable views of National Instruments LabVIEW applications by displaying the values of network published, shared variables and/or web services on charts, gauges, text indicators and LEDs. Oscium developed iMSO, which allows users to analyze one analog and up to four digital signals using the iMSO-104 mixed signal oscilloscope hardware. Xilinx developed Pocket Power Estimator (PPE) which is a high-level power estimation application that enables designers to quickly perform what-if power analyses based on specific design scenarios. Each one of these companies are moving towards the trend of high-tech driven individual’s demands of instant service and user friendly tools to enhance daily operations and work more efficiently.

MegaPhase notices more and more engineers finding useful apps that pertain to their field, saving them time and money in the process. These trends lead MegaPhase to develop an App for the iOS operating system (Android forthcoming) to stay ahead of the competition. The features and benefits incorporated within the MegaPhase app include the MegaPhase product line specs, a personalized cable builder, RL/VSWR converter, dB/Watts converter, and PDF product downloads (see Figure 1). Custom cable designs can be configured and emailed instantly for quick quotes. Phone calls and emails can be made directly through the app for any inquiries or questions for an instant response.

The MegaPhase app was developed for engineers, customers, representatives and employees. The thought process behind the development of the app was to acknowledge every demographic in MegaPhase’s target audience – this app is user friendly while still being a reliable source for RF/microwave components and calculations. The MegaPhase app caters to the tech-savvy individuals that are emerging within the RF sector,  whether that is instrumentation, airborne, spacecraft, telecom or defense industries.

MegaPhase developed this app as a new tool for engineers designing and building RF/microwave systems and components. It is a dependable source of technical information that is easy to use even with the advanced technical capabilities it contains. Engineers and technicians are now able to order replacement cables or design new ones with a few taps on their device while inside the lab, while performing tests or other tasks. The trend is clear – testing engineers can now download a variety of free apps to simplify daily calculations and estimates. We look forward to a wide variety of new applications hitting the RF industry in the coming years.

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