Designing products with IoT
The market demands digital, user-centric and sustainable products. To deliver this your innovation process must support enriching physical components with IoT technologies - and traditional product development with design thinking approaches.
IoT is here to stay
Today, product innovation must address digital business opportunities. Unless you take advantage of the possibilities provided by IoT, your product will not have necessary properties to deliver on market demands for functionality, usability, effectiveness or sustainability. This goes for almost any industry - and both for consumer-oriented and business-to-business products.
Designing products that take advantage of the possibilities that IoT provide is an absolute core capability for FORCE Technology. We have been designing IoT-enabled products for more than 10 years and delivered more than 80 IoT-enabled product designs across a range of industries and applications. The experience gained from all these projects gives us a second-to-none competence in rapid and agile design using sensors, electronics and wireless communication - all of it built into in our unique approach to IoT-based product design.
How to make a stable, scalable and profitable product with IoT
Unfortunately, many product innovations have not been able to deliver on the IoT promise. Products end up being unstable due to wrong choices in sensors and technology. Also, many products get stuck in the prototyping phase unable to scale into mass production and market usage – or are stopped because they end up being too expensive or fail to address actual pains for the users.
The problem is typically not the maturity of the technological IoT possibilities at hand – all of them are ready to be used. The problem is the lack of understanding of the product context and usage, lack of in-depth technology skills and lack of real market and customer insights. Design thinking and design methods have proven to be an effective approach to designing products with IoT – especially when combined with rapid prototyping using real electronics to test both usability and functionality.
DIPS – rapid and systematic IoT innovation with real electronics design
Our innovation method DIPS (Demands, ideas, prototype and specification) looks like this.
The preferred starting point for the design process is a business idea described as a strategic product proposition – please see Starting with IoT. Following this, DIPS rapidly and systematically takes you from a business idea to the specification of a feasible and well-proven solution – thereby solving all given technology challenges to meet the market demands, customer needs, desired usability and required price tag.
The four steps of DIPS
Step one: Frame IoT product demands
The first step is to frame and understand the exact problems you must overcome in your design process, including requirements related to the market and the customer needs, the demand to reach a certain cost price and the actual constraints on the technical design. The latter could for example be a product working in an extremely cold environment and with no space for a battery.
We use data from market research, user feedback, observations, interviews, etc. to frame the IoT product demands.
Step two: Explore IoT product ideas
The second step is to create and explore different ideas to meet the framed demands.
The ideas form hypothesis in respect to feasibility, desirability and viability of a possible IoT product solution. They are iteratively validated with a mix of methods like contextual inquiry, modelling and mock-ups.
This may also include minor specific prototypes to test the technology for a given functionality or maybe an energy harvesting solution.
This step will either result in the ability to build a real-life prototype meeting all the demands – or the necessity for a reframing of the demands.
Step three: Final proof-of-concept with IoT product prototype
In the third step, we build a final real-life prototype in electronics using real network technologies to collect data and maybe control the product with.
This prototype forms the basis of a final proof-of-concept process to test and validate the envisioned solution with customer and users.
Commonly, the proof-of-concept validation will confirm the design decisions from step two. But issues may arise from this process which then needs to be resolved by reexploring or reframing the IoT product.
Step four: Specify the IoT product
In step four, by using the validated prototype as reference, we specify the final IoT product for building.
This can be a conceptual specification to be discussed and further detailed with a possible group of suppliers, a very detailed specification used for a tendering process with suppliers, or even a ready made “design for manufacturing” for an electronics manufacturer.
The outcome of step four is agreed when starting the design process.
After the first two steps, our experts can determine if there is a feasible solution meeting all the different product demands including price tag. If not, the innovation should be reframed or stopped. If needed, the full process can be performed in less than 6 weeks. The final building of the solution can start immediately after this process – see Building products with IoT.
If you want to learn more about designing IoT solutions, please contact us or read more about IoT solutions here.
Driving IoT projects
To succeed with IoT projects, you need experience to guide you safely from idea to solution.
Starting with IoT
Start your IoT journey with a strategic mindset to define the right approach.
Building products with IoT
Find guidance in choosing the right IoT suppliers and manage the cooperation.
Gain from broad IoT expertise to troubleshoot and find causes for failures.