Finding Inspiration for the Next Breakthrough Discovery
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Customer Success Story: IEEE Xplore Inspires Innovation

Market pressures call for engineers to develop new products and enhancements that offer increasingly creative solutions to real-world problems, and it can be challenging to find inspiration for these ideas. The research phase plays a major role in the innovation ideation process. During this time, it’s important that engineers have access to the right resources to formulate their ideas and figure out how best to execute them.

With documents spanning varied topics and disciplines, the IEEE Xplore digital library has been an invaluable starting point for many of these engineers. By browsing the platform and reviewing past research, engineers are able to bring novel, unexplored concepts to light—concepts that could spark the launch of the next big product and increase their company’s bottom line.

Innovations from the world’s leading technology organizations are built upon IEEE research. With three times more patent citations than any other publisher1, studies show that IEEE Xplore content encourages the out-of-the box thinking engineers need to stay competitive. 

 

Improving the Product Line with Disruptive Innovations

Designing disruptive technology is the day-to-day charge for many engineers who work for corporations. One senior researcher and IEEE Xplore user, for example, works for a large telecommunications company that produces everything from cell phones to virtual reality devices. Because these technologies are evolving on a daily basis, it’s essential that he keeps up with industry developments and stays in tune with customer demands, as well as reviews previous research.

This engineer specializes in video processing and digital media and uses IEEE Xplore to find ways to improve product performance, sometimes by tenfold. In his last 11 years as a researcher, he says that some of his best ideas came about from reviewing older papers.

“Sometimes good ideas were invented and published in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but couldn’t be pursued at the time due to the state of technology,” he said. “But, to revisit it now can sometimes lead to very big innovations.”

For a constantly evolving technical concept or process, such as video coding, he says it’s necessary to know what has been published on a topic in just the last two years. In some cases, it might show that an area hasn’t been extensively studied, which can be beneficial for pitching new ideas that could significantly differentiate and improve a product line.

“With disruptive innovation, just having those kinds of numbers can be handy when trying to make a point,” the engineer said.

Studies show this research engineer isn’t the only one interested in understanding past research to improve upon current work. A recent survey  found engineers are constantly looking for information that may lead to the next big idea—with about three quarters of respondents seeking out unfamiliar information at least once a week.2

 

Inspiring Creative Solutions that Improve Work Processes

Having the right research can lead to more innovative solutions. In this next case, a study from IEEE Xplore inspired the use of a superior testing method that improved productivity and streamlined operations within an organization.

A systems engineer for a large defense company was searching for information on antenna radiation. For this specific project, the engineer needed to determine the best process for testing an array antenna and recording the measurements. Fortunately, he came across a document while searching IEEE Xplore on ‘near-field testing’. The document showed him how to conduct the test on a bench top as opposed to a large outdoor range.

Testing antennas outdoors on the far-field range is typically impacted by a number of uncontrollable variables—weather, traffic, etc. Using near-field testing, he saved the customer thousands of dollars by reducing test time and potentially eliminating schedule delays. 

“The article gave good information on how to address the problem, how to set up the test, and the math needed to get an accurate result. This is exactly the type of information I needed,” he said.

Accessing research from IEEE Xplore means tapping into premium, peer-reviewed content from the brightest minds in the industry. With the world’s leading scientific publications at their fingertips, the platform has been an essential tool for propelling engineers in the right direction. 

In a recent survey of IEEE Xplore users, 92 percent of respondents said IEEE Xplore improves job performance, and ultimately, the performance of the entire company. Ninety-four percent said they would recommend keeping their IEEE Xplore subscription to company management. 

In today’s fast-paced world where technological advancements are happening at lightning speed, engineers need the right resources to encourage innovative thinking. For many, there’s no better tool than the IEEE Xplore digital library.

Learn more about how IEEE Xplore can benefit your organization. Request a quote today.

1 1790 Analytics, LLC, 2017. Analysis of Patent Referencing to IEEE Papers, Conferences, and Standards 1997–2016.
2 Report: How Engineers Find Information (Engineering.com, 2016).

 

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