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<p>The authors describe a virtual reality prototyping (VRP) and virtual product design approach that uses a modeling strategy to design, test, and evaluate concepts and products in advance-before creating any physical design models. Their design decisions reflect solutions and practices derived from systems engineering and software engineering research in projects that focused primarily on developing small-sized consumer electronics and telecommunications products such as cellular phones, other personal terminals, set-top boxes, and wrist computers. Close competition has forced companies to focus on tailoring technological products to meet customer preferences in user interface design, usability, and appearance. Often, implementing new features has assumed less importance than creating an optimal product variation for different customer segments in international markets. </p><p>Modern computer-based systems result from a multidomain development process, and organizing this work requires developers to communicate, cooperate, and coordinate effectively with nonengineering teams. Early linking of product development to other company operations supports this activity. Geographically dispersed development teams must communicate and coordinate effectively. Distance and time differences provide the first obstacles, but businesses also must overcome linguistic and cultural challenges. </p><p>Extending the use of interactive, functional, and photorealistic 3D product models into other company domains can facilitate effective business practices that cover the entire value chain, from simulated product idea to Web-based customer support of the final product. This wider adoption of the VRP technology and process offers ample scope for further research. </p>

M. Kerttula and T. Tokkonen, "Virtual Design of Multiengineering Electronics Systems," in Computer, vol. 34, no. , pp. 71-79, 2001.
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