Recognizing the Unsung Heroes | Cypress Semiconductor
Recognizing the Unsung Heroes
We like to celebrate makers here at Cypress by blogging examples of people doing innovative things with our technology. But, while the makers get most of the headlines, there’s a small army of talented engineers who enable that creativity and often go unrecognized. They don’t carry a Cypress business card, but they know our products inside-out. They are the unsung heroes in the tech world.
Arrow is a great example of a company with a large organization of tech experts. They are a trusted partner of Cypress and provide critical front-line support in the field. Companies like Arrow are not just resellers, they work together with customers to specify a solution and help to implement it. Far from bag-carrying salespeople, these folks get their hands dirty in the trenches of where the real engineering work happens.
Mike Roberts typifies the type of support and value that Arrow provides to Cypress makers. Mike has been at Arrow for seven years, and his experience with Cypress products goes even further back in previous jobs. In his role, he is dedicated just to supporting Cypress products, and has become a PSoC programmable embedded system-on-a-chip solutions expert.
Roberts is involved in five- to six projects a week and gets a taste for a wide range of applications and design challenges. Often, given the breadth, flexibility and functionality of the Cypress family – and his deep experience with Cypress-enabled designs – he can recommend a reliable pathway to success for customers. Like most of the field-engineering support network behind Cypress’ products, Roberts is a veritable ‘black belt’ in the engineering world who draws on his deep experience and exclusive focus on Cypress solutions.
“All I do is Cypress, and that helps me really derive the most value for customers,” said Roberts “I get involved early in the product design process, even before the customer has decided to use Cypress in some cases. I work with them to model a design, and maybe do some proof-of-concept work to understand the tradeoffs and options that the Cypress solution offers. I get to see a little bit of everything.
“Although I’m not the one coming up with the idea in most cases,” he continued “I do play an important role in bringing these concepts to reality.”
Most field experts supporting Cypress have experience in a variety of applications. For instance, Roberts has been involved in wearables, home automation, health, IoT, and several other use cases. He’s seen some far-out ideas that never made it to market and some that were ahead of their time. He recalls one customer that was developing a Wi-Fi- enabled video doorbell product, like what Nest and Ring now popularly offer. “This was several years ago, and these guys were really ahead of their time,” said Roberts. “T What I remember most is that we did one of our fastest concept-to-production turns ever for a customer, like in a few days, thanks to how efficient the PSoC platform is. They were really happy and actually did enjoy some early success in the market.”
Cypress design environment helps streamline the process
The technical experts in the field supporting Cypress products are highly skilled with the latest tools that help get the most out of the company’s programmable platforms. This includes the new ModusToolbox™ IDE for IoT designers which provides a single design environment combining the industry’s most-deployed Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies.
The ModusToolbox IDE enables concurrent hardware and firmware editing, compiling and debugging of PSoC-based designs. Experts, like Roberts, can leverage the open-source nature of the environment, which includes input from hundreds of contributors and provides access to more than 150 pre-verified, production-ready peripheral components, all in an intuitive and easy-to-use drag-and-drop environment.
For Roberts, the robust environment helps him determine the best parts for his customers’ requirements and quickly do sample projects. In many cases, he’ll be involved with a concept through to layout, board development, debugging, and firmware. “With the Cypress IDE it’s very easy and fast to model designs and we can turn design concepts around quickly,” he said.
“There are hundreds of man-years of middleware in WICED and that makes it so simple to do an API call, for example. I can work at a high level of abstraction and still have confidence that it will work,” Roberts said. He noted one customer design of a touchpad that required Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and he was able turn a design in a half day using PSoC and WICED.
One of Roberts’ trickiest designs was also one of his most rewarding. It was a medical application that focused on a condition in the human ear. The approach being developed by the customer involved a way to run electrical current through the ear to make the treatment process faster. Roberts worked with the customer team to come up with a solution based on PSoC4, implementing Bluetooth Low Energy in a customized application.
Great technology is key, but great people make the difference
Cypress prides itself on the wide spectrum of successful products that are enabled by our technology. A big part of the reason for that success goes beyond the core capabilities of our various solutions. It’s the expert know-how and creative thinking of people like Mike Roberts, and others like him around the world, who can transform our customers’ ideas into working designs. From his perspective, Roberts sees a key to it as being pretty simple: “Cypress builds really reliable products. That makes it easier to deliver great support and do very innovative things.”