Mass market vs Custom Designed

Thread Starter

BGinCT

Joined Apr 9, 2024
2
We are working on a prototype for a new IoT product with virtually no size requirement, so no its not another doorbell or thermostat, and developing on a Pi Zero. We will need something with similar specs when we go to market, it will need wifi + bluetooth, camera, storage, processing power, etc. So, the question is are others beta testing with real users with Pi, Arduino, and similar? Or after POC is it best practice to immediately have your own PCB designed? I have searched the forums, maybe I missed similar, if so I apologize in advance. Also, regardless of when we decide to have our own design, is it better to work with a design company or hire an EE on a contract basis?
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
21,264
The answer to your question is difficult to construct based on the limited information you have provided. The problem with hiring work done on a contract basis is that you are probably not in a good position to precisely define the requirements. Contract people need that in order to define a set of deliverables required for successful satisfaction of the contract. Once you are done you will probably need some ongoing support as you progress to ramping up production and supporting your customers.

IMHO, a startup enterprise needs to do the initial development of a product in house. The alternative leaves you fatally exposed to unnecessary risk. Getting a prototype to production should have been part of the original business plan. It almost seems like your plan has a major hole in it that you are trying to patch.
 

Thread Starter

BGinCT

Joined Apr 9, 2024
2
The answer to your question is difficult to construct based on the limited information you have provided. The problem with hiring work done on a contract basis is that you are probably not in a good position to precisely define the requirements. Contract people need that in order to define a set of deliverables required for successful satisfaction of the contract. Once you are done you will probably need some ongoing support as you progress to ramping up production and supporting your customers.

IMHO, a startup enterprise needs to do the initial development of a product in house. The alternative leaves you fatally exposed to unnecessary risk. Getting a prototype to production should have been part of the original business plan. It almost seems like your plan has a major hole in it that you are trying to patch.
Thanks for the reply Papabravo! Yes, the details were a little sparse, on purpose on my part. When we engage with either a direct hire, contractor, or design company we will have plenty of details + known and unknown blanks or trade-offs, for instance, we don't have an exact camera speced out, but we know it has to be better than vga, but it doesn't need to be able to count freckles on a person 50 ft away. So, assuming we do have those details, you are still thinking that an EE on staff is the better route?

And your point about the plan is well taken and yes, it is part of the plan, so, we are not necessarily patching the hole, as we are changing the wheels as the train goes down the track :) The product is not strictly an IoT device, it does contain electronics that fall into the IoT space and has software that will interface with it. The item up for debate is can you beta test a product like that in the field with Pi/Arduino, or is that usually limited to and handful of proof of concept devices?

Again, really appreciate the feedback!
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,250
What form it needs to be in to be able to beta test it in the field depends on what it is you are trying to test. If you want to see if the user's like and can work with the user interface, then you can use any form that provides the user with the interface in the form that they will interact with it. It can be an Arduino or an FPGA or whatever inside the box. But if your beta test is to see how the product stands up to environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and vibration, that isn't going to cut it.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
19,033
We are working on a prototype for a new IoT product with virtually no size requirement, so no its not another doorbell or thermostat, and developing on a Pi Zero. We will need something with similar specs when we go to market, it will need wifi + bluetooth, camera, storage, processing power, etc. So, the question is are others beta testing with real users with Pi, Arduino, and similar? Or after POC is it best practice to immediately have your own PCB designed? I have searched the forums, maybe I missed similar, if so I apologize in advance. Also, regardless of when we decide to have our own design, is it better to work with a design company or hire an EE on a contract basis?
My experience in having things designed by talent selected by others have usually been unfortunate. One example was a package providing a total of 100 amps DC, regulated, to a total of eight different loads. A great design except for running 100 amps thru connectors rated for 15 amps. This caused problems.
 
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