How Engineering can Cause a Product Company to Fail

If you look at most products on the market today, they are no longer the widgets they used to be. When you look at the simple telephone; it journeyed through mechanical, analogue and digital landmarks in time. It went from a wired device to a ‘cordless’ device and now cellular. New functionality, such as texting and apps, created new revenue streams for phone companies and carriers and expanded the relationship a consumer had with their phone, but also required new engineering skillsets. Everyday products are now in a similar transformation.

Why design cycles are slowing

Engineers are amazing, they absolutely can adapt to meet the skillsets companies and products demand, but in this new Connected Product — Internet of Things world, there is one enemy fantastically focused on helping companies fail — time, or lack thereof.

IoT products demand many new engineering skillsets that are introducing product development risks. CxO’s are under-investing in their engineering headcount because they are under-estimating the demands of an IoT product. There’s under-investment in toolsets because it’s believed that the current team can execute the IoT product. Finally, CxO’s are often overly focused on product cost resulting in ground up design, which is interesting because if they wanted to build a mobile app, they wouldn’t first try to build the operating system and cloud services, they’d build their application on top of those pre-built toolsets. This is the same as with your connected products today. You’d want to develop your application on top of an IoT platform. But, a company’s first reaction is they need to do it themselves. And each of those previous ‘mistakes’ extend the product’s time-to-market, allowing competition to either catch-up or continue to expand their market adoption leaving a smaller and smaller window for your product introduction.

Insurgency of competition

When it comes to competition, time is of the essence… now more than ever. A 30-year old doorbell manufacturer that is now developing connected doorbells will be met by cloud companies entering the doorbell space to capitalize on the generated data. Extended design cycles cause a company to lose market traction, spend more money being ‘in design’, launch when products are already commoditizing, and encounter stiffer competition, making it imperative to get to market faster than ever before.

A company that invests in experienced engineering and that uses tools or products designed to speed time to market or reduce learning curves are substantially better positioned to win.

Many IoT platforms already include such toolsets that include the operating system, cloud services, and more to be able to deliver your connected product to market in months. Find one that fits your needs and you can deliver your product in months, not years.

Test the product

The best way to see if a solution fits your requirements is to test it. There are many opportunities to get your hands on an IoT toolset to start your development. Sign up for one of the five free workshops offered at Maker Faire to use a combined Avnet, Zentri, and IBM IoT solution. Not going to be at Maker Faire NYC? A number of similar, but more in-depth, 1-day, hands-on workshops will be available at the end of Oct. and early Nov. Sign up here.

By: Nick Dutton

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