Issue: Jun 2007


ALT Software Demonstrates Breakthrough in User Interface Workflow Technology



by John Beckman

This week at Telematics Update, ALT Software will demonstrate a new innovative technology that will revolutionize the way Tier 1 auto suppliers design and deploy next-generation telematics systems. Building on its success as the leading OpenGL 2D/3D graphics solutions provider for the embedded market, ALT Software is introducing its first middleware technology that is designed to simplify the user interface (UI) design workflow process and help automakers differentiate themselves by producing more vivid, better performing, higher quality navigation, telematics, and in-car infotainment systems.

The new ALT Software Vector Engine will be an integrated package of software tools and run-time elements that will streamline the UI design workflow by using existing graphics editing tools. Common design software such as Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) Editors and Adobe/Macromedia Flash are used to create dynamic user interface content which is qualified and prepared to run on embedded devices. Combining a Translation Tool and a fully featured Runtime Engine, ALT's Vector Engine will thus provide a rapid development framework for digital automotive platforms. The translation tool enables the qualification and configuration of vector files created in Flash and other common inputs, for immediate use on the target system and allows the creation of associations between various GUI elements and the real-world interfaces.

The resulting Vector Engine files are used with the Runtime Engine in the target system. The Runtime Engine is analogous to a "player" for the graphics but goes far beyond simple player functionality. It also provides the mechanism to accept and utilize real-time data streams, including user inputs, to affect the on-screen graphics in a way that customers can easily configure to their own requirements.

"Enabling the use of SVG or SWF content in embedded products is a significant benefit, especially when compared to traditional HMI tools, because of the vast pool of Flash designers," said Dan Joncas, vice president of sales and marketing at ALT Software. "Laborious and time-consuming steps required to re-create design applications are eliminated from the equation, drastically reducing development cycles and needless integration phases."

Freescale Semiconductor, the world's leading semiconductor provider for the automotive industry, also sees this new UI workflow technology in-step with the forecasted benefits of their state-of-the-art MPC5121e processor family.

"ALT Software's new Vector Engine technology bridges the gap from desktop graphics to embedded graphics development," said Mike Bryars, manager of Freescale's Telematics Operations Business Unit. "ALT's technology will help developers take full advantage of the high-performance graphics features of our recently announced MPC5121e multi-core processor. We are proud to have ALT as one of our key
mobileGT(TM) alliance members, and together we are building innovative solutions to help accelerate product development cycle times and bring advanced desktop graphics capabilities to the embedded world."

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