New Mil-Embedded website and cover design, plus the debut of Embedded Tech Trends

When I joined Military Embedded Systems magazine last summer, I was fortunate to inherit a publication that was already well known and well respected. However, the magazine’s website needed a big upgrade to make it relevant in today’s digital media world. While we were at it, we also decided to freshen up the look of the print product too.

We’ve had the most fun online. If you have visited our website – www.mil-embedded.com – during the month of February, you’ve already had a taste of our new look. Our editorial team, along with the OpenSystems Media in-house web designers, completely modernized Mil-Embedded.com to deliver more fresh content than ever before, with a clean design that uses a keyword architecture to make navigation more intuitive. Mil-Embedded.com also will have new content in the form of blogs, news articles, and more. Unlike our previous website, the redesigned site can be viewed as easily on an iPad or iPhone as it would be on a PC or Mac.

The topics on our navigation bar – embedded hardware, embedded software, signal processing, unmanned systems, and safety certification & security – enable website visitors to easily find all the articles, blogs, news, and white papers on those topics just by clicking on the appropriate menu button. The topics are also tied into OpenSystems Media’s (OSM’s) popular TechChannels such as DSP, VPX, FPGAs, and Safety & Security. Navigation also improved for our videos and white papers, as well as the links to the OSM online events.

Our print design changes were more subtle, enhancing the magazine’s visuals and style while maintaining its familiar flow and content.

The new print style starts with this edition’s cover, which has two very cool shots highlighting features inside – one of the Lockheed Martin MONAX 4G wireless technology and below it, a shot of the Air Force AN/FPS-117 long-range surveillance radar in a remote northern location. We’ve also brightened up the colors inside and freshened up sections such as Managing Editor Sharon Hess’s Daily Briefing: News Snippets column, which is now called Defense Tech Wire.

We’re very excited about our new look online and in print and hope you are too. Please tell us what you think and keep an eye out for new digital features later this year.

Bus & Board returns

We weren’t the only ones kicking off 2012 with a redesigned product. The folks over at VITA revamped their media networking event – originally called Bus & Board – with a new name and location: The Embedded Tech Trends (ETT) conference was hosted by VITA in January in Cocoa Beach, FL. ETT 2012 was a good start to recreating the positive networking environment that made Bus & Board (B & B) a go-to event for those in the single board computer industry.

The new conference was built around media meetings just as B & B was, but this year it had a more laid-back, informal atmosphere than its previous incarnation for editors to meet with key companies. Of course, this could be because there were fewer sponsors attendees – which is expected in a rebuilding year. However, I also attribute the collegial atmosphere to companies wanting to network and discuss market trends and publication directions more than just promoting their latest press release or product announcement, which can be accomplished over email. Face-to-face meetings should have a little more depth.

The conference content was steady, with updates on various VITA initiatives such as small form factors and optical computing. One complaint I heard was that the conference seemed heavily tilted toward the defense market, with not as much emphasis on the medical, transportation, or industrial markets. One way to address that at the next ETT would be to recruit focused market presentations from system integrators in the defense, medical, and industrial fields: Essentially, get the integrators to tell the audience what challenges they’re facing that can be solved by a standards body such as VITA. Another way would be for ETT to re-engage with the PICMG standards body to broaden the reach of the conference, as many of the sponsoring companies also produce CompactPCI and other PICMG standard-based products.

Overall the conference was a success and a strong retooling of the former model. Jerry Gipper, Marketing Director for VITA, did an excellent job as host and created a bit of momentum going into next year’s event, which heads back to Long Beach, CA. ETT 2013 will be held in January 2013 on the Queen Mary in the Grand Ballroom. The Queen Mary is anchored in Long Beach, and is also a full-service hotel.

It will be the first conference I’ve attended on a cruise ship. Should be fun.

John McHale jmchale@opensystemsmedia.com