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A new paradigm advanced under this GSRC theme is embedded software-based self-testing. We're trying to use on-chip programmable resources for test purposes,” Cheng said. Specifically, researchers in that area seek to self-test a processor or DSP using its instruction set for high structural fault coverage. The tested processor is then used to test buses, interfaces and other components, including analog.

999-175 NT_Datasheet PDF

A new paradigm advanced under this GSRC theme is embedded software-based self-testing. We're trying to use on-chip programmable resources for test purposes,” Cheng said. Specifically, researchers in that area seek to self-test a processor or DSP using its instruction set for high structural fault coverage. The tested processor is then used to test buses, interfaces and other components, including analog.

Customers complete on-line forms from Digital Convergence's Web site to register their CueCat readers and CRQ software. After registering, each customer receives an e-mail message containing an activation code for the reader. Different customers can use the same reader, because the activation code is unique to each customer.

Digital Convergence fulfills orders for the CueCat device and provides support after customers purchase it. The company also provides support to news organizations and businesses, including The Dallas Morning News, Forbes, MSNBC and Wired, which all publish or broadcast information that the CueCat device can read.

999-175 NT_Datasheet PDF

Doug Davis, the company's president of technology, says that 25 agents at CSG Openline, a service bureau in Seattle, WA, answer calls for Digital Convergence seven days a week from 7 am to 1 am Eastern time. In addition, between two and 18 agents at Service911, a service bureau in Dallas, TX, are always available to answer e-mail messages for Digital Convergence. If the outsourcers can't answer customers' questions, they refer calls and e-mail messages to Digital Convergence.

From the introduction of its software to consumers on September 24 last year through the end of last October, the company installed 740,000 CueCat readers. During this period, Digital Convergence received approximately 1,200 calls, 11,086 e-mail messages and 80,388 inquiries on its Web site, where customers can view an on-line knowledge base that the company created in conjunction with search engine company Ask Jeeves (Emeryville, CA). There were only 117 escalations of questions from the two service bureaus directly to the company.

Overall, Davis says that 43% of customers' questions were about activating the CueCat reader, 20% were about installing the reader and 12% were about how to scan symbols using the reader.

999-175 NT_Datasheet PDF

There was a significant change in the way customers reached the company shortly after the debut of the CueCat reader. During the two weeks following the consumer launch of the reader, about 53% of customers' requests for information or support were by phone or e-mail. From October 8, last year through the end of the month, only 14% of customers' requests were by phone or e-mail, and at press time, this percentage had fallen to 13%.

The dropoff in live communication was deliberate, and is a result of Digital Convergence's effort to automate as much of its support operation as it can. The company uses Interactive Intelligence's (Indianapolis, IN) e-FAQ software, which automatically responds to customers' e-mail messages by sending dynamically-updated lists of probable answers to questions in order of relevance. The information that is available through e-FAQ to consumers and to support reps is almost identical. Unlike customers, support reps can view the number of times visitors to the Web site chose a certain question, and they can find out the weight of one potential answer to a question relative to other potential answers.

999-175 NT_Datasheet PDF

The information that resides in e-FAQ is at Digital Convergence's headquarters, and the company e-mails the latest version of the questions and answers each week to the two service bureaus. At press time, Digital Convergence had also updated its manuals and CD-ROMs four times since the consumer launch to reflect customers' questions.

Davis credits e-FAQ with reducing the number of calls that directly reach the company. Of the 157 calls the company received last November, only one required escalation to Digital Convergence.

PALO ALTO, Calif. — New approaches that may radically change chip-design tools and methodologies were advanced by researchers at the December annual review of the Gigascale Silicon Research Center. The multiuniversity GSRC is now entering its third year with a mission to get technologies in place to develop billion-transistor designs by 2010.

The urgency of the GSRC's mission was underlined in a keynote speech by Richard Newton, GSRC director and dean of engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. We've got to get design productivity up, or the whole industry will slow down,” Newton said.

Not doing the research, Newton said, will result in increasing unpredictability in the design cycle, inability to verify complex designs, and major nonrecurring engineering (NRE) cost increases for chips. Those factors could make large markets inaccessible, make it impossible to hit market windows and cause quality problems in the field, he said.

The GSRC is putting a lot of resources behind solving the much-described design-productivity gap. The consortium has requested a 2001 budget of $9.4 million, and expects to involve 14 universities, 37 faculty, 91 students and 15 researchers. Newton said that the GSRC is drawing together the silicon research community much as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency did in the 1980s and 1990s.

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