Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Along with this are quickly changing customer preferences, which is why companies need to adapt their systems and processes to accelerate product development and time-to-market.
A faster time-to-market has many benefits, including:
Agility towards changing market needs: The ability to satisfy evolving consumer wants and needs at the speed customers require allows you to build, and keep, a loyal following.
Maintain your competitive advantage: Being first to market with a new product (or product enhancement) lets you reach customers before your competitors do.
Save on costs: Streamlining your processes, utilizing more efficient tools and platforms, reducing slack, and outsourcing where it makes sense will save you time and valuable resources.
Generate more sales: Companies that quickly deliver new products to market generate 30% more sales than their slower counterparts.
However, cutting down time-to-market, if not done carefully, can have negative repercussions. While speed is essential for success in a volatile business environment, product quality is equally, if not more important. In the case of IoT products, data security is also an absolute priority.
So, how can IoT companies keep that delicate balance between speed, quality, and security?
Breaking Down the IoT Product Roadmap
Before jumping into product development, create a roadmap, or blueprint, if you will, to guide you through the process, from ideation to prototyping, from mass production to lifecycle management.
Your IoT product development roadmap has several key stages:
Establishment of Product Requirements
This stage is when you need to be specific about your IoT product’s functionality, its data requirements, format, size, ecosystem, etc. You want to anticipate every hardware and software need so you don’t have to go back to the drawing board for a major redesign later on.
Think of processes you can outsource to third parties so you don’t stretch your team too thin. IT and manufacturing are two of the services that are commonly outsourced. Research those with a proven track record and see if they’re a good fit.
Planning and Design
Tasks, roles, budgets, timelines, and constraints are mapped out at this stage. Possible contingencies are laid out, as well as the corresponding mitigating actions to keep the project on schedule and on budget.
At this point, your engineering team is ready to create 3D renderings of your IoT product. Refine and finalize the product’s features before moving on to the prototyping stage.
Initial Product Testing
Get early adopters to test your product and give their feedback. Test every aspect of the product: user experience, setup, installation, design, and usability. Polish the product as necessary, keeping user feedback in mind. The goal of this stage is to get the product ready for production.
At this stage, the product’s design and firmware should have been finalized. The manufacturing team should have also conducted a final test run prior to integrating the necessary hardware and software components into the end product.
Once your product is out in the market, gather and analyze data on a continuous basis. This will help you improve the next version of your product. Also, be ready to roll out updates without negatively impacting the user experience.
Increasing IoT Time-to-Market Without Compromising Product Quality and Security
IoT product development involves several stages, and each stage poses a potential to delay your timelines and increase your costs. To speed up time-to-market without sacrificing quality and security, it’s important that you keep the following pointers in mind:
Get the Fundamentals Right
What issues or challenges will your product be addressing? Be very specific about the hardware, software, data, and other relevant requirements of your product. You don’t want to move to the next stages, such as mass production, only to discover an issue you and your team have not thought about.
Get Key Stakeholders Involved
Clearly communicate with your team how the end product will look like and what it’s expected to accomplish. Get upper management buy-in. Onboard suppliers and outsourcing partners via a vetting process that guarantees their reliability from beginning to end. You can’t involve unreliable providers in your project, particularly when you’re running on a very stringent timeline and a limited budget.
Know Your Team’s Limitations
Outsource where necessary. Don’t overwork your team and risk them compromising quality due to lack of time. Third-party service providers generally have expertise your team may not possess.
Leverage Technology to Simplify Your Processes
Use software solutions, such as collaboration platforms or lifecycle management systems, to streamline communication and speed up the process effectively.
Monitor and Correct Workflow Bottlenecks
Especially during the manufacturing stage, track and monitor assembly line processes so you can easily pinpoint where the bottlenecks are located. Only then can you devise ways to eliminate them.
Improve Your IoT Time-to-Market with Dynamic Computer Corporation
Reduced time-to-market can be a significant competitive advantage in the IoT space. With Dynamic’s proprietary asset and lifecycle management solution, Q-wrxSM, you get a partner that can help you manage risks, simplify your processes, minimize costs, and improve time-to-market. Contact us today to launch your IoT project.
Farida Ali is CEO and President of Dynamic Computer Corporation. She is an experienced executive with over 25 years of experience building and transforming Dynamic to be uniquely positioned as an expert technology solutions provider in highly regulated industries. Farida holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan, as well as a Juris Doctor degree and membership in the State Bar of Michigan. As a certified woman-owned business and a certified minority business enterprise, Dynamic has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, with Farida spearheading this initiative.