I think I'm not alone in saying 2020 was a challenging year. I think that would also apply to element14's RoadTest program. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to forego their offices or traditional workspaces and work from home. It took us at element14 a little while to adjust, and there were a few hiccups along the way as far as shipping roadtest products out. (By the way, I'd like to thank my colleague, Dan Zima ( danzima ), for doing a fantastic job at working with the roadtesters and following up with the shippers when there was a problem.)
Despite the problems, we launched about 50 roadtests in 2020 and many of them had 100% review completion rates. Way to Go! I would like to thank all the element14 members who participated in the RoadTest program, as an official roadtester or as a roadtest "hero," which I will talk about in a moment. The RoadTest program has been successful because of you.
*Cumulative applications numbers from 2016-20
Since I have been working at home, I had some extra time for examining roadtests and reviews since I began managing the program in October 2016. During that time, 213 Roadtests were launched, 12,446 applications were submitted, 6,803 comments were written, and 1,753,697 pages viewed (as of November 2020 when I gathered the data). Another piece of Roadtest trivia: the top 10 product groups that received the most applications overall across this 4-year period (213 roadtests cumulative) were: Test Equipment, Raspberry Pi, IOT, Microcontroller, FPGA, Sensors, Hobbyist Kits, Beaglebone, Hand Tools, and Arduino.
In this past year, I became much more mindful of how many of our members participate in the RoadTest program. Of course, there are the active members who submit applications to perform roadtests. But there are also our RoadTest Heros -- those dedicated members who help in a roadtest by way troubleshooting, correcting code, and identifying inaccuracies. Our RoadTest Heros underscore how the RoadTest program is truly a collaborative relationship, the essence of what a community is all about. I'd like to give special thanks this year to all our Roadtest Heros. (I encourage you to participate in our discussion Who Are Your RoadTest Heros of 2020?)
I would also like to mention that in November (2020), we rolled out the Reliable RoadTester Badge. This badge is automatically awarded to any roadtester who has successfully completed three roadtest reviews. And I'm proud to announce that we have awarded 138 members the Reliable RoadTester badge.
I'd like to wrap up year-in-review summary by reminding our new and less active members that any member is eligible to be a roadtester. I realize that not every member can participate due to other commitments, both professional and family. But when you get the time, I encourage you to take a look at our enrolling roadtests (RoadTests & Reviews) and submit an application for a product that interests you. I have recently shortened the application to make it easier to apply.
So, without further adieu let me announce the 2020 RoadTest Program Awards:
The Best RoadTest Reviews of 2020
This award is in recognition for an outstanding roadtest review that combines a review with a tutorial, useful insights, background information, and market trends. These reviews are written by professionals who are at the top of their game. They not only understand the technology but are able to communicate expertly about the product and its associated technology.
- Shabaz Yousaf shabaz -- Portable Multi-Channel Recorder - Review
- Frank Milburn fmilburn -- PicoLog Data Logger + Raspberry Pi 4 (included) - Review
- Jan Cumps jancumps -- STM32H7B3I-DK - DISCOVERY KIT - Review
- Donald Lane three-phase -- 3 Series MDO Mixed Domain Oscilloscope - Review
- Gough Lui lui_gough -- Vishay Synchronous Buck Regulator EV Board - Review
- Rod . 14rhb -- Weller Soldering Station WT Series - Review
- Gerrit Polder gpolder -- R&S NGP814 Power Supply - Review
- Michael Kellett michaelkellett -- PicoScope 6424E Oscilloscope + Accessories - Review
- Steve Smythe stevesmythe -- Raspberry Pi4B (4GB) plus POE Hat - Review
The Best Emerging Technology Review of 2020
The RoadTest Program typically reviews products that are currently available in the marketplace or are new product introductions and are just entering the marketplace. But there are times when we roadtest products are best defined as "emerging technology." Products based on blockchain technology would fit in this latter category. In 2020, we had the opportunity to roadtest a smart card product by Infineon Technologies that supports blockchain processes. This roadtest required time, research, and a learning curve. Jan Cumps wrote a superb review that's essential learning content for this emerging technology.
The Best "New" Roadtesters of 2020
This award is in recognition for a commendable roadtest review by first-time or relatively new roadtester during a roadtest that was launched in 2020. It often takes some practice to write a roadtest review that is interesting, detailed and well-produced. Roadtests are a learning experience, so I am not looking for perfection; rather, a review that provides useful information. These roadtesters produced good reviews on their first solo flights.
- Navadeep Ganesh U navadeepganeshu
- ABY RAJ PLAMOOTIL MATHAI abyraj
- Raymond Koppen rkoppen
- Surbhika Rastogi surbhika
The Best Student RoadTester of 2020
This award is in recognition for a great roadtest review(s) by an undergraduate college student.
- Moinak Ghosh moi8765
Moniak is pursuing a major in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a minor in Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. At college, he is involved in the Kharagpur Robosoccer Students Group (KRSSG), a group which focuses on developing autonomous soccer-playing robots to participate in Robocup SSL(https://www.robocup.org). He is also part of the embedded team that works on the motor driver circuitry, communication systems, kicking mechanisms, swarm robotics modules and the control systems for the BLDC driven quad-omni wheeled team of robots. He produced three roadtest reviews as well. Needless to say, he is a VERY busy student!
The Roadtest Heros of 2020
I am introducing the RoadTest Hero award. I think working at home (alone) has given me more time to contemplate the inner workings and the community participation of the program. I think RoadTest Heros are a really important part of the program since they provide essential help, new ideas, and verify accuracy of the roadtests. I usually go through all the roadtests and select members based on my observations. But for this award, I have relied on community input. I don't think this list is by any means comprehensive, so if you would like to add a RoadTest Hero, please free to make a comment.