A key measure of success for OEMs is their ability to get new products to market quickly. Early on, wireless manufacturers must find and source the right components and parts during product design and manufacturing stages to meet demanding deadlines.

It's no secret this task has been transformed by the Internet through online search. What may not be as widely known is to what extent working online has become embedded in every aspect of our business lives.

According to an online trends survey of engineering, technical and industrial professionals we completed earlier this year, 56% spend more than six hours online each week for work-related purposes, 83% use the Internet to find components and suppliers, and 81% use it to obtain key product specifications. Additionally, nearly 80% use the Internet to perform research, 67% use it to request a price quote and another two-thirds of the surveyed group use it to compare products across a mix of suppliers.

Knowledge of these trends sends a clear signal: This audience expects vital, valuable information from their online resources.

Any Internet tool used to help engineers pinpoint components and parts must be fast, easy to use and something that works collaboratively. They want to eliminate the time-consuming process of sorting through non-relevant search results or visiting Web sites that don't fulfill specific needs.

Product searches aren't all that engineers do online. This audience has a thirst for white papers, technical content, social networking and collaborative tools, all of which now play an important role in all phases of the product development process.

To meet this need for comprehensive information, Internet discovery destinations and tools must offer a variety of features to help engineers and technical professionals stay up-to-date on their industries or preferred product areas. An easy-to-navigate, free library of technical and application articles and other educational content must be available upon a single click.

What Internet-driven engineers and technical buyers want today is an online environment — a place they and fellow professionals search for and find solutions, connect with suppliers, and collaborate with and learn from peers via discussion groups, technical question-and-answer sections and blogs. With GlobalSpec, they benefit from all of this, plus smart use of product-specific e-newsletters, access to recent technical and engineering news and e-mail alerts about products pertinent to their areas of interest.

The bottom line is this: As engineers and technical professionals continue going online to find information they need and to collaborate with peers, we expect and plan for a greater proliferation of innovative tools and resources designed specifically to enhance their work processes and improve productivity.