Study: Four out of five engineers take dev kit designs through to production

November 25, 2014 OpenSystems Media

In recent years development kits have become instrumental in taking electronic designs through to production. The democratization of these ready-made, low-cost boards has allowed finished products to go to market faster than ever before. At element14, we set out to better understand the attitudes toward development kits among professional engineers who comprise a growing segment of dev kit users. Today, three-quarters of professional engineers agree development kits play a critical role in pushing the boundaries of product design.

This new study, called Dev Kit Dilemmas, surveyed 244 engineers around the world who regularly use development kits. Participants were asked about the extent to which they use dev kits in the design and production process and the factors that influence which kits they are choosing. Roughly 79 percent are now using all or part of their development kit designs in their final production designs, and roughly 44 percent agree they could not do their jobs without them.

It is clear from these findings alone that development kits have become a driving force behind the advancement of new technologies. Nearly three-quarters of engineers surveyed say they actively use dev kits on the job to keep up-to-date with new technologies, and 89 percent use dev kits to experiment with new systems on a regular basis. The survey also found 77 percent of engineers regularly check to see if a development kit is available for an accompanying component they are evaluating.

The components and features engineers look for when selecting a development kit also sheds light on the role these kits play in inspiring innovative new products. For example, connectivity is the primary component to look for among 47 percent of engineers surveyed, reflecting the increasing demand for designs within the Internet of Things, wireless, sensing, and power management industries. The remaining ranking characteristics include useful onboard features (43 percent), OS support (36 percent), and processing data width and speed (36 percent).

As demand for development kits continues to boom, professional engineers must have access to development kits that will meet their specific design needs. OEMs, suppliers and other distributors must work together to provide turnkey solutions to engineers who need them most. Doing so will help bring products to market faster than we have ever seen before.

To read more about element14’s findings and download the full Dev Kit Dilemmas report, visit

Dianne Kibbey is Global Head of Community at element14, an online community of more than 275,000 electronic design engineers and hobbyists.

Dianne Kibbey, element14
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