Six stages of IoT (Internet of Things) product development

Concept

At this stage, it’s all about a great idea.

POC: Proof of Concept

If it is a new product, it is very important to verify the idea first. For the initial idea verification and testing, there are many resources available to assist. Product developers and Makers with basic technical capabilities can use off-the-shelf “development boards” or various methods to quickly simulate the prototype of the product.

The above-mentioned so-called development board is to combine the CPU that is currently popular in the embedded industry with related peripherals, such as infrared temperature measurement, pH value, air quality monitoring, and other sensors, and make the whole into a circuit board, so that people who want to invest in embedded system can start validating ideas faster, such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel Edison, MediaTek Linkit one, MTDuino…etc.

For initial idea verification and testing, you can also use more counseling resources to obtain free development boards, which can not only quickly verify, but also obtain various mass production oriented documents required at the SMT or PCB stage. It is quite suitable, and then the EMS factory or the foundry will assist in the manufacture and verification of the function. However, if you do not have the technical ability, you do not have to verify the idea at the beginning. If the idea is good enough, you can also hand over the prototype to the interested manufacturer.

EVT: Engineering Validation Test

The difficulty of IoT products is that software and hardware must be considered at the same time. In the engineering validation stage, the software part will start electronic engineering. The main reason is that the engineer will first put the ideas he wants to verify or the undecidable design in the assembly. The circuit board is tested. Once the feasibility of the circuit and program is verified, a circuit board will be redesigned, and the board will be washed, printed, and tested continuously. In terms of hardware, industrial design and mechanical design should be started, each component will be disassembled for design and confirmation, and a bill of materials (BOM) of electronic and mechanical components will be generated for cost calculation.

DVT: Design Validation Test

At this stage, the overall appearance is very close to the finished product! The internal parts and circuit boards are close to the size of the finished product, and the mechanism is also starting to make models and can be assembled for testing. Due to the high cost of opening the mold for the appearance part, the proofing model is used at this stage to test whether the design of the shell meets the requirements, and the internal software part must be tested many times, including software quality assurance (SQA), as well as environmental testing such as pressure and temperature, bug testing, and electronic products must also pass safety regulations.

The most important thing at this stage is to find out the overall design and manufacturing problems, to ensure that all designs meet the specifications related to software and hardware, and to confirm the possibility of subsequent mass production with the production side.

PVT: Production Validation Test

At this stage, in addition to finding a mass production manufacturer to confirm all the details, all parts and materials should be manufactured according to the confirmed process, so that not only can the production line be checked, but the production capacity can be confirmed, and the man-hours and actual working hours can also be estimated. Testing the production situation can also confirm that the factory has made the originally designed product according to the standard process, and obtain the manufacturing cost of the final product confirmation.

MP: Mass Production

At this stage, in addition to maintaining the quality of mass production and improving the yield as much as possible, packaging, shipping, and sales have also begun.

On the whole, it is a long road from concept development to mass production, and it is even more difficult for electronic products, especially for new start-up teams, which usually have only a few people, and have to face both hardware and software R&D, market development, and marketing. Testing, mass production, and even marketing, it is difficult to take into account all the details, which is why people often joke that “Hardware is Hard”.

Therefore, it is very important to make full use of various services, including supply chain vendors, incubators, accelerators, etc who can assist in the development.

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