The mandate of engineers today has gone much beyond simply creating, designing and building tools and systems to bringing solutions to problems and transforming the environment for betterment of whole community, nature and human groups. They have a big role to in the deep transformation of human activities impacting social, economic and working environment.
A new era in working environment has started in sync with the need to keep pace with newer modes of communications, mobility and globalization. These aspects enable engineers to act in an environment that demands a very flexible and innovative mind that is not supposed to be focused merely on calculations, simulations and projects, but has the ability to interact with and respect fellow human beings and nature. By becoming aware of the need to realize the existence of other attitudes, opinions and beliefs different from theirs, they need to combine their technical skills with the human potential.
Impact of electronic engineering at global level
Electronics engineers research, develop, and evaluate electronic components, devices, systems or equipment that use electricity as part of their source of power. Globalization has brought its own challenges in its wake with scientists, educators and engineers worldwide searching for sustainable development along with social promotion. Engineers all around the world have been diligently building and transforming the environment to make men’s life better in areas such as renewable energy smart grids, high-speed fibre optic broadband, digital infrastructure, broadcast and communications systems, navigation networks, medical devices and internet security.
Fig. 1: Inside a spacecraft – An engineering marvel
Electronic engineers help make the air, waters, and land better and safer for humans. Their work includes designing, building, and operating systems to manage wastewater, cut air-pollution, improve solid-waste disposal, and make recycling more cost-effective. They also find ways to reduce emissions from vehicles and power plants, and clean up toxic-waste sites.
Guided by environmental law, regulators, and public health concerns, electronic engineers are required to focus their technical capabilities on evolving science that affects human quality of life on a global scale. Emerging issues include maintenance of public health, conservation and restoration of natural systems, water and wastewater treatment, pollution prevention, and more.
With environmental crisis attracting global attention, scientists, environmentalists, engineers, and artists have come together to tackle the most serious problems facing communities.
Advancements in Virtual Reality, Robotics and Technology Entrepreneurship
The electronics industry is one of the fastest growing ones in the global arena, boosted by the rapid advancements in engineering and technology. These advancements provide various opportunities for entrepreneurs to set up innovative enterprises. New millennials have an inherent interest in electronic gadgets and their operations. Aware of the latest trends in the electronics industry, many of them choose to become entrepreneurs in this field.
Fig.2: Computer hardware – Technological leap
Now-a-days electronic gadgets and equipment such as television sets, computer systems, music systems, digital camera, video games, mobile phones etc. have become intrinsic to life. The market for consumer electronics has been fuelled by a continuous rise in disposable incomes and higher standards of living, making it a very attractive option for entrepreneurs.
Not long ago, it was not advisable for small entrepreneurs to enter this field as it demanded huge capital investments and complicated manufacturing facilities, but the scenario has greatly changed now. The spurt in the market for digitally driven and small sized appliances like cell phones and tablets have made it possible for smaller units to enter the electronics business.
Several emerging technologies such as industrial robots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are advancing at a rapid pace. These types of technologies are broad-based in their scope and significant in their ability to transform existing businesses and lifestyles. They have the potential to ease people’s lives as well as improve their personal and business dealings.
One of the rapidly proliferating technologies is Virtual Reality (VR) whose usability is constantly on the increase. Some of the applications related to VR technology have already matured but others are still in their infancy. This technology offers new possibilities in the field of product development by speeding up the pace and improving quality. With the help of this technology prototypes and products can be tested virtually (virtual prototyping) before final verification with physical prototypes is performed.
Users can virtually test and experience the use of the products before they exist, which can lead to improved usability and better ergonomic design. Customers and users can interactively influence the product idea and the layout plans for a factory, a hospital or a city, thanks to VR.
Electronic engineering has also got a fillip with the advent of robotics which has greatly impacted the human world. There have been number of developments in the field of robotics in India, both institutionally driven as well as more subtle percolations within business processes and consumer lifestyles. The government’s vision for a smarter ‘Digital India’ is at the core of the perceptions of decision makers and employees regarding the impact of robotics on businesses as well as on society and the challenges that stand in the way of maximising gains.
Contribution of electronic engineering to national development
Electronic engineering has an all important role in the development process of any country today. It serves as a catalyst in enhancing production and productivity in major sectors of the economy such as infrastructure, process industries, communication or even manpower training. In many advanced countries, electronic engineering is contributing nearly seven percent of the GDP. Significantly, electronics is one of the oldest sectors which began with the development of radio receivers post-invention of the triode.
Fig. 3: Computer hardware – Technological leap
It is well known fact that the present era of Information Technology is heavily dependent on electronics. The intergraded circuit is the base of computers which are in turn used for designing better, large-scale integrated circuits particularly microprocessors and memories. Better computers again help to improve communication systems. Electronics engineers work in areas closely related to computer hardware. It has made possible the use of ECG recorder as well as NMK scanner and other measurement equipment in the medical field.
Electronic engineering has become very crucial in the context of tackling national challenges. In the long term, electronics has tremendous potential to improve the quality of life. For instance, electronic mass media can be an effective method of eliminating illiteracy in rural areas. It is amply clear that electronics is the sector of industry which is highly important in the national development efforts and has been significantly contributing to the improvement of the way people live and work in our country.
Impact on workforce
Electronic engineering technology is becoming more and more sophisticated by the day and this is having a substantial impact on the workforce whether working on electronic devices and systems encompassing satellites, flight systems, radar and sonar systems, and communication networks. One of the repercussions is that it has helped improve the speed, quality and usability of goods and services but it has also displaced a large numbers of workers. Industries need fewer workers due to automation and robotics, so, it also presents the policy-makers with the challenge to deliver social benefits in the new digital economy.
The advanced societies are at a major turning point in terms of how we think about work, leisure, and social benefit delivery. In case these economies need fewer workers to complete needed tasks, there is a danger that many people will have difficulties getting income and social security they need to sustain their lives. This is really a matter of a particular concern at the time of large income inequality and highly skewed economic distributions.
No doubt, technological advancements in electronic engineering tend to substitute for labour and this has dramatic consequences for middle-class jobs and incomes. On the whole, however, technology is not simply doing away with certain jobs but also creating new and better ones. With the rapid technological advances, the electronics sector is not destroying jobs but revolutionizing many businesses. It is doing this by transforming operations and systems. Electronic engineering is, in fact, enhancing productivity and improving efficiency manifold.
Undoubtedly, electronic items have become an integral part of our lives. Electronic engineering has played an important role in digital camera technology as well. Digital camera in our smart phone enables us to capture high definition pictures and do video recording, which can be uploaded on internet instantaneously.
Man is relieved from heavy physical labour by the use of electronic/electrical devices. With a significant increase in industrialisation, a growing proportion of equipment need to be harnessed for the lighting of shops, offices, dwellings and for outdoor lighting. Pertinently, electronic engineering has helped in the development of communication systems and networks for a wide variety of applications in business advancements and technology entrepreneurship.
Electronic engineering is at the heart of today’s changing landscape whether it pertains to designing, building, operating and maintaining global power systems, telecommunications networks and computing infrastructure or developing electronic systems essential to industry, health and entertainment. Starting from designing electronic components, software, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications, the goal of electronic engineers is to find innovative and progressive solutions to today’s global challenges.