The Advantages of Deploying SharePoint 2013

In the online collaboration and portal development space, Microsoft SharePoint has grown into something of a behemoth. A lot of companies are adopting SharePoint in order to help them in centralizing knowledge, improving workplace collaboration as well as developing applications on the SharePoint platform that will help these businesses to improve productivity and maintain a competitive edge. With MS SharePoint, organizations are able to have actionable intelligence that can help them in better business decision-making. Thanks to its rapid growth and adoption by many enterprises, there is an increase in demand for SharePoint end-user training services that can help these organizations in fully leveraging this platform.

Advantages of Deploying SharePoint

SharePoint has certain winning edges and with SharePoint end-user training, organizations are able to fully leverage these capabilities. These include the following:

Get better handling of your web presence

SharePoint has made the handling of the various aspects of web presence considerably easier. It is no longer an arduous process. You no longer have to grapple with those complex style sheets, packaging or even the designer assets. With SharePoint end-user training, users need only basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills in order to create robust intranet as well as public facing websites. This in turn will cut down on the costs internal support and unlocks lots of efficiencies in the business.

Improve hosting of public facing websites

Hosting of websites on SharePoint is no longer a complex and frustrating process. Users now have a fully-featured product that can compete with some of the best hosting platforms out there. With SharePoint end-user training, users will learn how to easily serve web pages on a multiplicity of devices. In SharePoint 2013, you also have numerous host-panel like features such as search engine optimization, sitemaps based on XML, SEO-friendly URLs as well as various SEO settings.

Better business intelligence

With SharePoint, there are greater capabilities for business intelligence as well as comprehensive data reports. Businesses that deploy the platform can now delve deeper into data insights and analytics. With SharePoint 2013, there is even better integration with MS Excel.

Mobile Support

It is impossible to imagine the modern environment without all those tablets and smartphones. Every employee is using them and SharePoint supports that. It is now possible for users to get better SharePoint experience in all kinds of devices. With the contemporary view on SharePoint that allows very quick access in a multiplicity of platforms ranging from iOS devices, Windows Phones to Samsung Galaxy amongst others. It also has built-in location awareness features that can enable businesses to build location-aware applications on the platform.

Thanks to these advantages and many more, MS SharePoint is now a great staple for a lot of organizations worldwide. It comes with lots of enhancements including a lot features that will help you gain greater insight into your business. With SharePoint end-user training, you and your staff will be able to leverage these features in order to deliver on efficiency and productivity gains for the business. New Horizons Australia offers professional SharePoint training that helps organizations in building the right level of expertise for SharePoint deployment.

Achieving Top Performance in Capacitive Touchscreens with Simulation

To make a phone call, compose a text message, or even to beat the next level of an Angry Birds™ game, we rely on being able to pick up our smartphone and interact with it without a second thought. No matter the size of our fingers, whether or not we have recently applied hand cream, or if the phone is resting on a flat surface, the touchscreen responds seamlessly, bringing just one more thieving farm animal to justice.

Optimizing touchscreen design with COMSOL Multiphysics

Engineers at Cypress Semiconductor, the lead­ing supplier of smartphone touchscreen technologies and touch-sensing solutions, are hard at work mak­ing this possible, ensuring that touchscreen applications perform flawlessly under a variety of conditions. “And it’s not just about smartphones,” says Peter Vavaroutsos, a member of the touchscreen mod­eling group at Cypress. “Our technologies are used in smartphones, mp3 devices, laptops, automotive environments, industrial applications, home appliances, and more. For each of these uses, a different design is needed.”

Capacitive touchscreens are by far the most commonly used method of touch sensing in the elec­tronics industry, and consist of varying layers of transparent lenses, substrates, adhesives, and indium-tin-oxide (ITO) electrodes. Together, these elements are known as touchscreen panels (TSPs) or stack-ups. Depending on the type of product in which they will be used, each stack-up and electrode pattern is customized for its intended environment and use. A stack-up contains an LCD layer, followed by a sub­strate, a pattern of horizontally and vertically aligned dia­mond-shaped ITO electrodes, and finally an optically clear adhesive layer that bonds the glass cover onto the screen.

 At Cypress, multiphysics simulation and simula­tion apps have emerged as key tools for ensuring effective product development, allowing design­ers to predict and opti­mize the behavior of numerous designs with­out needing to build mul­tiple physical prototypes.

AN ENGINEERING RULE OF THUMB

As a rule of thumb, touch­screens must track fin­ger or stylus positions with high accuracy. This means that at any point in time, a touchscreen must not only be able to determine that it is being touched by an object of variable size, but also where, for how long, and whether the “touch object” is moving in a cer­tain direction. To achieve this, a capacitive sensor is composed of a pattern of horizontally and vertically connected ITO electrodes, where a touch object is sensed at the grid intersec­tion. When a finger or stylus touches the screen’s surface, it distorts the electrostatic field and causes a measur­able change in the coupling capacitance between the transmitting and receiv­ing electrodes.

Depending on where and how the touchscreen will be used, the stack-up components are configured in a variety of ways. “The design of a touch­ screen stack-up for the automotive industry is very different than one used in, say, a laptop,” says Vavaroutsos. “My job at Cypress is to design dif­ferent stack-ups for dif­ferent consumer products, taking into account such things as how interactions between a horizontally mounted GPS, for example, will differ from a smart­phone, which can be held and interacted with in a myriad of different ways.”

Cypress R&D engineers create multiple electrostatic simulations for a par­ticular device geometry and for many different parameters, what the team refers to as a “design box”.

“Our findings from a specific design box are then used by our sales engineers and customer support team so that they can optimize cer­tain design specifications in order to meet a customer’s individual needs,” explains Vavaroutsos.

Using the COMSOL Multiphysics® simula­tion software, R&D engi­neers at Cypress perform analyses to determine the electrical performance of the ITO pattern, includ­ing measuring the change in mutual capacitance between electrodes when a stylus or finger is pres­ent. In one example, floating poten­tial boundary conditions were used in the electro­static model, a feature that is instrumental in allow­ing Cypress engineers to simulate the boundaries of touch objects and any elec­tric shielding or electrodes that are not currently being excited. Because these objects are affected by an externally applied electric field, they will be at a con­stant but unknown elec­tric potential and therefore are represented as surfaces over which a charge can freely redistribute itself.

“Since the screen can be interacted with in so many different ways, in order to optimize a stack-up for use in a certain device or product, we have to run numerous electrostatic simulations in order to test different touch object posi­tions,” says Vavaroutsos. “We try to minimize effects such as when you get water on your screen and it doesn’t work as well, or when you put your phone down on the table and the screen responds poorly. Simulation has been a very valuable tool for ensuring that our product responds effectively over a range of different environments and conditions, since we can single out certain fac­tors and determine how to most effectively opti­mize performance. ”

Because COMSOL® software can be run on unlimited multiple cores and using cluster and cloud computing with no limit to the number of compute nodes, Cypress engineers are able to quickly run many simu­lations with virtually no limits on the size of the design boxes analyzed. “We can reduce the num­ber of assumptions we have to employ and accu­rately model capacitive touchscreens by captur­ing changes between active electrodes in great detail while working with real­istic geometry and materials,” says Vavaroutsos.

Within a single design box, Cypress engineers might test different cover lens thicknesses, alter the permittivity of various lay­ers, or change pattern parameters. Depending on the application area, a sin­gle touchscreen may be designed to have more than one electrode layer, or have different layers in a different order. For example, a design box might include a range for cover lens thick­nesses from 0.5 millimeters to 1.5 millimeters. The R&D team at Cypress will model a variety of different parameter ranges in order to precisely understand a cer­tain design, but anything outside the modeled range will remain unknown.

TOUCHSCREEN SIMULATION APPS FOR CUSTOMIZED DESIGNS

In order to extend the usability of their mod­els, Cypress engineers are using the Application Builder in COMSOL Multiphysics® to create simulation apps based on their models. “In order to com­municate more effectively with our customer support teams, we’ve started using the Application Builder to build simplified user inter­faces over our models,” says Vavaroutsos. “Before we started using simulation apps, any time a customer wanted a design that was slightly outside of the design box, we’d have to be involved again to run simulations for minor parameter changes. A lot of times, a sales engineer might try to run the simulations themselves, even though they had little expe­rience using the COMSOL® software. Not only would we have to check the simula­tions, but they also took up a seat on the software as well.”

For instance, in one app, the user can change design parameters ranging from the finger location to the thickness of the different layers in the sensor. The app then generates a report detailing the capacitance matrix, an integral piece of information for capacitive sensor design. The app can also show the elec­tric field distribution in the sensor and a drop-down list can be used to select a solution corresponding to the excitation of different sensor traces.

Cypress is also using the COMSOL Server™ license to share their simula­tion apps with colleagues around the world, which allows anyone to access simulation apps using either a Windows®-based client or a web browser. “We’re finding that letting our support teams have access to multiphysics simulation results is hugely helpful. We can control the parameters that the app user has access to so that we know the apps are delivering accurate results, while also letting our sup­port engineers experiment with thousands of differ­ent design options with­out the need to involve an R&D engineer—or use a seat up on our COMSOL Multiphysics® license.”

TEST-DRIVING AUTOMOTIVE TOUCHSCREEN DESIGNS

In addition to touchscreens for consumer products, Cypress also cre­ates touchscreen designs for use in the automotive industry. For these applica­tions, engineers experiment with different designs in response to certain automo­bile requirements.

“In the automotive group, our designs are more cus­tomer driven and are often created on a case-by-case basis for a specific product or customer,” says Nathan Thomas, an R&D engineer working in the automo­tive group at Cypress. “Our design boxes are irregu­larly shaped, and we do more simulations that are customer-specific. For example, an automotive company might use touchscreens for different appli­cations such as in the cen­ter console, in rear seat entertainment systems, or in overhead entertainment systems, all of which will need their own models.”

Instead of creating a new model for each and every instance, the automotive group is now using apps to let field engineers test new designs that would other­wise have been outside of the design box. The apps can be used to explore spe­cial requests from customers who are interested in how varying a parameter will affect end perfor­mance. “For cases such as these, we’ve been using the Application Builder to cre­ate simulation apps that our field engineers can apply directly without having to go through us to create the simulation for them. While it’s still a new technology, I can foresee simulation apps becoming the primary tool used by our field engineers.”

POWERING UP

Whether it be smartphone designs, auto­motive applications, or other industrial processes, Cypress R&D engineers can create simulation apps that allow other support engineers to experiment with designs that would otherwise have required the expertise of an R&D engineer. Through the use of simulation, Cypress engi­neers are delivering more customizable designs faster than ever before.

Modeling Reality: Putting Systems Engineering Theory into Practice

As a tool for diagramming and understanding complex processes, Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is a powerful engine for growth. It’s endlessly adaptable to human needs and technological trends, unlocking incredible potential for analysis, and helping solve tomorrow’s grand engineering challenges.

At least, that’s the theory.

In practice, adapting lofty MBSE principles to real-world conditions can be challenging. Over the last fifty years, models have become dramatically more complex, adding more functions, non-linear interactions and emergent properties with every iteration. What’s more, systems failures remind us that for all its promise, MBSE is an inherently human endeavor – imperfect, yet filled with promise.

The friction between MBSE theory and practice is one of the core themes explored by MIT’s “Model-Based Systems Engineering: Documentation and Analysis,” a four-week online course led by Dr. Bruce Cameron starting on June 5.

“Our aim is to put theoretical ideas alongside real-world examples – from companies like Boeing, GM and GE,” says Cameron, who serves as director of MIT’s System Architecture Lab. “You can see examples of MBSE being used to drive business outcomes across many different fields.”

Consider BMW. Optimizing its suspension systems used to mean physically swapping out individual springs, dampers and chassis components, and hoping for the best. But with MBSE, the company was able to create a new, predictive model of its vehicles that virtualized each suspension component – and simulated their effects on ride quality. This allowed for extensive iteration and experimentation without costly early-run manufacturing and time-consuming physical testing.

Early-stage MBSE benefits like these are well established: Low-risk exploration of new design ideas, and simpler collaboration based on common understanding. The long-term indicators have been just as encouraging. In many cases, MBSE has not only enabled next-generation traceability, but has become a powerful tool for validation, verification and testing.

While benefits like maximizing time efficiency and lowering production costs can be a siren call to aspiring MBSE practitioners, Cameron stresses the importance of critical thinking when using models in real-world situations. “Antoine Vernon, a systems engineer for a large energy company who has completed his certificate, agrees.” “I’ve learned to be more critical of the models I’m using. Sometimes it’s best to say, ‘We do not know and we cannot tell,’ which is a difficult thing to admit as a professional.”

The origins of MBSE can be traced back to work done at Bell Telephone Laboratories and the US Department of Defense during the 1940s. As the discipline has evolved, it has been adapted by numerous large organizations. However, many participants in this course find the principles applicable to organizations of any size. “I may not be able to deploy MBSE at the scale of some of the examples seen in the class, but I think by modularizing and reusing parts of larger models, the main concepts can be applied in ways that are very useful,” says recent participant Lydia Lostan, a program manager at a large energy company.

This course, beginning on June 5, is part of a 4-course program “Architecture and Systems Engineering: Models and Methods to Manage Complex Systems”. The course may be taken individually, without enrolling to the full certificate.

Accelerating Research and Development with Multiphysics Simulation

This Manager’s Guide is a window to ways that leading tech companies have incorporated multiphysics simulation into their workflow. This resource illustrates the mathematical modeling functionality of COMSOL Multiphysics® software and how it can be used by simulation experts to overcome design challenges that, among other issues, are not always possible to resolve experimentally. Read to learn how engineers across a wide range of industries used multiphysics simulation to improve critical aspects of product design.

An integrated platform for performing powerful simulations and analyses

One story highlights how Boeing used multiphysics simulation to model thermal expansion in protective coatings for aircraft composites, which allowed engineers to use a lighter material, and still maintain sufficient lightning protection. An electrically conductive expanded metal foil (EMF) inner layer was added to the composite structure such that excess current and heat would dissipate rapidly in the event of lightning. However, thermal cycling induces stress that can result in cracks in the coating, which is not ideal for the EMF. Engineers at Boeing used COMSOL Multiphysics® software to optimize EMF layer design, balancing current-carrying capacity, displacement due to thermally induced movement of protective layers, and weight, to create an optimized design that is both lightweight and protective against lightning.

Another article describes how the car manufacturer, Toyota, optimized topology for improved cooling in their hybrid vehicles. Toyota’s hybrid vehicles contain complex electrical systems that contain power semiconductor devices such as diodes and insulated gate bipolar transistors that are used for power conversion. To keep the systems within thermal operating conditions, the devices are mounted on aluminum heat sinks, around which a water/glycol coolant mixture is pumped. Engineers at the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRI-NA) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, used simulation to redesign the topology of the aluminum heat sink to reduce the size by half while dissipating the same amount of heat.

Miele, the German manufacturer of induction stoves, is also highlighted in the Manager’s Guide. Engineers at MieleTec FH Bielefeld (a joint research laboratory between Miele & Cie. KG and the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld, Germany) used COMSOL Multiphysics® to solve important design challenges in the development of their induction stoves. Simulating the induction heating process involved solving heat transfer concurrently with electromagnetics to determine the best operating conditions, materials, and geometry. Making use of simulation, the engineers were able to reduce the number of experiments needed to finalize their designs by 80%.

Continue reading here to see how companies in industries ranging from auto manufacturing to graphene and plasmonics incorporated multiphysics simulation into their work flow to optimize production design.