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Toolwire Puts Electronics Design Online

Toolwire claims it has dramatically cut the cost of designing and making new communications, computer, networking and other electronics products with the launch of its Design Chain Management (DCM) Network yesterday.

The DCM Network is a set of online services for designing, building and sourcing electronics components. It includes online applications for designing custom chips that engineers can rent as required. Toolwire claims that eliminating the cost of acquiring full-price software licences, IT staff and in-house infrastructure cuts the startup cost for a chip design business from millions of dollars down to just a few thousand.

"Companies have good ideas that become stale because they lack the resources to translate the concepts into products," said Dan Hodges, Toolwire president and CEO. "Design Chain Management makes a zero-latency design chain a reality, allowing today's organizations to deliver the next generation of Internet appliances and communication devices to market faster than ever before."

Since Santa Clara CA-based Toolwire, Inc. began offering online chip design capabilities in December 1999, over 700 jobs have been run on the system by designers from all over the world. Today's launch introduces the full DCM service, with three main elements.

DCM Workbench is the core ASP service, offering an integrated set of electronics design software applications on a pay-per-use model. Today's launch introduced tools for designing Configurable System-on-Chip (CSoC) devices and Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), alongside the existing Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) tools introduced in December.

The second element is the DCM Device Exchange, an online library of technical information on over 700,000 semiconductor devices that users can refer to during the design process. Toolwire also introduced an online learning resource, the DCM Institute, offering electronic training courses for designers.

The third element adds a business-to-business exchange for electronics design skills and services. The first participant in the DCM Services Exchange is electronics distributor Avnet, which will offer online support from its Xilinx product team. The Exchange uses online collaboration services from WebEx to allow experts in the supply chain to give live help and assistance to designers using the system.

"In less than five years, all electronics products will be designed on the Internet," said Hodges. "Because of the Toolwire DCM Network, for the first time ever, engineers from around the world will design, learn, and help each other create without any barriers. Design without barriers will result in thousands of new products from hundreds of new companies."

For further news and analysis, see ASPnews.com story ASP opens up electronics, Apr 18th).