Whether you’re preparing to bring a consumer, industrial, or medical IoT device to market, you can count on facing five challenges. In the end, the success or failure of your product will ride largely on whether your new product development (NPD) partner possesses the three core competencies needed for overcoming them.
At Pivot International, we help companies worldwide capitalize on the rapidly expanding IoT market. We are a U.S.-based global partner that leverages DFM to integrate design, engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain management under a single company umbrella. Our single-source model fosters alignment and collaboration between stakeholders and ensures a seamless, error-free, and optimized NPD process. It also delivers unmatched project visibility and quality control, increases supply chain security, and drives significant cost savings.
Understanding the top five challenges you’ll face when preparing to bring a new IoT product to market, along with their solutions, serves two primary purposes. First, it can help you conceive of your broader NPD process more holistically. Second, it can provide a valuable framework for vetting a prospective NPD partner.
Top Five IoT NPD Challenges
1. Range Challenges
Depending on the distances across which your IoT innovation is intended to function, you’ll need different technologies for solving your range challenges. And for many IoT products, range challenges aren’t just a matter of distance; they’re also a matter of density, or how many devices you can cost-effectively connect within a larger area.
2. SWAPc Challenges
SWAPc stands for size, weight, power, and cost, and the challenge here is how to make deliberate trade-offs between them. As the term suggests, SWAPc challenges are multifaceted. They relate to questions about the degree to which a product can be created that is compact, lightweight, and powerful without consuming excessive energy, generating excessive heat, and incurring excessive costs.
3. Maintenance Challenges
All IoT devices require maintenance and management, but many industrial IoT innovations up the ante on this challenge. How? By needing to be deployed in remote locations or signal-blocking terrains (forests) or obstructive conditions (factories) that make them extremely difficult, impractical, or overly expensive to access. For such products, it’s not enough to solve range-related challenges; you’ll also need to ensure that your product will be designed to require as little onsite maintenance and management as possible.
4. Security Challenges
Between May 2020 and May 2021, complaints of cyber attacks on private and public entities increased by one million, with manufacturers proving to be the number one industry target for cybercrime. For this reason, privacy concerns and data security are key challenges that must be factored into any IoT NPD effort.
5. Supply Chain Challenges
It’s not a stretch to say that supply chain challenges have never been steeper and disruption will remain the norm for the indefinite future. Even in the best of times, robust supply chain management is essential for managing risk, but it has now become a do-or-die proposition. While risk can never be eliminated, IoT NPD can often proceed successfully if alternative supply chain solutions can be identified.
Successfully Solving All Five Challenges Requires a Partner With Three Core Competencies
The solution to all five IoT NPD challenges is contained within three areas of specialization.
IoT NPD should never be a paint-by-numbers affair, which means that each of the five challenges must be carefully assessed and optimized in the context of product requirements and use case. At Pivot, we’ve built our reputation on a highly integrative, individualized, and collaborative approach to use-case creation and NPD. Our approach ensures we identify the optimal solutions to range, SWAPc, maintenance, and security challenges, making deliberate trade-offs that preserve product quality, functionality, and performance while maximizing cost savings.
2. Technological Diversity
Use-case optimization depends on technical diversity. When you work with an NPD partner that lacks technical diversity, the chances are good that use-case solutions will be seen through a narrow lens. (You know the saying: When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.) At Pivot, we bring extensive experience in multiple technologies, including NB-IoT, Cat-M1, LoRa, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular, all backed by our award-winning portfolio of IoT products.
3. Design For Manufacture (DFM)
At Pivot, we like to think of DFM as our chief superpower. DFM is an incredibly valuable core competency because it kills many birds with one stone. DFM approaches design from the supply chain and manufacturing perspective to ensure your product can be cost-effectively manufactured at scale. (At Pivot, we deliver 320,000 square feet of flexible manufacturing capability across three continents, including domestic options.)
DFM also plays a crucial role in optimizing product design for use cases and identifying potential engineering workarounds and alternative supply chain solutions for fulfilling ambiguous requirements. Not only does this promote greater supply chain security and drive cost savings, it also fuels innovation. (When designers and engineers must contend with supply chain hurdles and manufacturing limitations, they’re forced to think outside the proverbial box in order to come up with novel solutions.)
Are you gearing up to bring an IoT innovation to market? We’re the partner you’ve been looking for! With expertise across fourteen industries and nearly fifty years of trusted experience, we will work closely with your team to make your product vision a profitable reality! Contact us today to learn more about how we will help you achieve market success!