IoT 101, Part 1: Introduction to Designing IoT Devices

The innovative process that is applied to the design and development of IoT objects must guarantee, as for any other product, on the other hand, high performance compared to some aspects, among the bases to be taken into consideration:

  • Quality, seen with respect to the customer satisfaction and to be monitored in order to not to leave the market;
  • Times, in terms of promptness and speed in placing the product on the market in order to take advantage of opportunities (time to market);
  • Costs, in terms of maximizing the value and therefore of the product performance ratio on costs incurred to obtain it;

These fundamental aspects are to be considered in a market context where the life cycle of the product is becoming shorter and shorter due to the continuous progress and, consequently, the competition in terms of costs becomes more and more ruthless.

The phase of conception of the object is of fundamental importance as a careful design of the product acts so much on customer satisfaction, and therefore on the competitive advantage of the company, as well as on costs and efficiency in general and in way, much more incisive compared to other factors such as process design, industrialization or production.

On average, 80% of the total life cycle costs of the product are used before the first product has been manufactured and therefore, in the phase of the specification and product design phase.

In the traditional process that generates a new product or service, we often make the mistake of being in a hurry to get to the prototype and then devoting few resources to the embryonic phases of conception and design of the product / service.

This happens due to the erroneous and dangerous belief that only when the first piece is in hand can you verify and optimize its costs and its characteristics.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the industrialization phase or even the production phase, it becomes too late to think of being able to intervene with changes also aimed at reducing costs, among other things, to keep in mind that most of the costs it will have already been used in the conception and design phases.

This is why, already in the initial phases of the product life cycle, we need a process of innovation and development that is extremely structured and oriented towards optimization, as well as the reduction and control of the time to market.

The ideal process to inspire consists of two fundamental aspects: target costing and concurrent engineering.

The process develops as follows:

An expressed or unexpressed need of the market is defined, if it is possible, with a high potential for spreading and growth, the business opportunity is assessed and a business plan is defined as well as the product strategy, the design solution of the defined need in the beginning is realized , the project is refined considering the production phases and after the integration of the technological components is carried out, the production cycle is optimized, the project can be retouched, followed by the validation process, the sampling, the pre-series and, finally, the production.

From here, it is clear that the optimization of the design process necessarily requires its placement within a fundamental macro process that is composed by a design process, a production process and a consumption process.

This method of process management is focused on the cancellation of the extra costs generally due to changes in the various phases, to problems related to the quality or disservices, to production difficulties or, for example, to dissatisfaction with the product created.

It becomes more and more fundamental therefore, in order to reduce development time and costs, to adopt the concurrent engineering process in the product development program.

Not to be underestimated, as already anticipated, are the diversified and inter-functional skills of the development team. These last can allow a reduction of the main costs of product in the phase of conception and definition of specifications.

Next: IoT 101 Series, Part 2: Technology and Design of IoT Devices

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