In the present age of rapidly computerized applications and CAD product designs , it is very likely that many future electromechanical products will have an embedded processor within them. Consider these two examples:
- Several decades ago, the automobile industry designed automobiles with carburetion technology. This was been replaced by computer-driven electronic ignition systems. Likewise, manual braking was replaced by computer-assisted “antilock braking.” Recently, the concept of a computer-operated driverless car was mentioned as becoming a real possibility. The idea is not too far-fetched when you consider that computer-managed aeroplane navigation is a mature technology.
- Many products such as copying machines, refrigerators, HVAC systems, and robotic systems provide real-time electronic communication between the customer and the manufacturer. For example, downtime for copying machines is significantly reduced because the product is proactive in sensing impending failures and calling for service. This makes the customer believe that the product is very reliable and virtually failure-free.
These two examples illustrate the trend in product development which combines CAD hardware design, embedded computer technology, and IT (Information Technology) into a package which changes a “dumb product” into a “smart product”. A smart product, therefore, communicates with both its manufacturer and with its customer in a manner which improves the functionality of the product and provides optimum performance of the product.