How to develop a working prototype of your IoT startup idea?
The shortage of on-demand IoT resources is a challenge most businesses face on a daily basis
To speed up the prototyping process, several on-demand solutions have managed to ease the burden on developers.
These solutions consist of pre-built kits such as printed circuit boards, pre-built product mock-up design models, component rental services, developer-friendly DIY boards, and access to a wide range of IoT professionals for different jobs.
Each new technology comes with its own pool of challenges and opportunities. For the IoT, the fact that it is preparing for $ 1.4 Tn market heading by 2026 is a testament to tremendous opportunities. Likewise, the scarcity of on-demand IoT resources is a challenge that most businesses face on a daily basis. IoT is complicated and building IoT products is expensive. Small mistakes can quickly become very costly and cause irreversible damage to your IoT project. Careful prototyping is essential for avoid these costly mistakes during IoT product development. To provide rapid execution, prototyping in IoT involves building an MVP mockup of the final product that includes a series of development tasks across hardware (mechanical and electrical), software (UI, UX, backend) and middleware (connectivity development). . Does this mean that IoT prototype development consists of multiple prototype development projects? This is not wrong, however.
To speed up the prototyping process, several on-demand solutions have managed to ease the burden on developers. These solutions consist of pre-built kits such as printed circuit boards, pre-built product mock-up design models, component rental services, developer-friendly DIY boards, and access to a wide range of IoT professionals for different jobs.
For those exploring possible solutions to building an IoT prototype, start by making a choice between DIY and outsourcing.
DIY: get IoT prototype development kits
Go for DIY kits if you have budget constraints. The following solutions were first introduced for students and lightweight prototyping. Today, these help various companies to update their production. While Arduino Uno continues to be the best DIY board, here’s the list of others that you can use for cheaper, less critical development projects.
Mediatek Linkit One
The MediaTek Linkit One chipset is based on the MT2502A and achieves a speed of 260 MHz. Its suite of radios such as GPS, GSM, GPRS, WiFi and Bluetooth make it one of the best connectivity providers in the industry. Moreover, it uses Arduino IDE to provide rich API working experience. Linkit One is widely used for rapid prototyping of various IoT products such as wearables, tags, and electronics.
Next on the list is Particle Photon which is powered by the ARM Cortex M3 processor. This one is equipped with a flash of 1MB and 128KB of RAM. The map is easily accessible from the web once the basic configuration is complete. Particle Photon has 5 analog pins and 8 digital pins for connection with actuators and sensors.
However, when it comes to ease of use and affordability, CHIP is without a doubt the better choice.
CHIP is powered by a 1 GHz processor (Allwinner R8) and has built-in Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi radios thus providing seamless connectivity. Moreover, it comes with 4GB high speed storage and does not require an SD card to run the operating system. That being said, the 8 pin GPIO board supports a wide range of sensors.
Outsource: contact Markets
If you are working on an IoT product and you are not benefiting from the services of an IoT marketplace, you are already lagging behind your competition. Like other technologies and industries, IoT also has a dedicated marketplace that startups and businesses can engage in to find the good product development company for their IoT idea. Here are the most reputable IoT marketplaces for building prototypes:
AT&T – For purchasing IoT starter kits
AT&T provides a cloud platform to build and launch IoT solutions on demand. The beauty of AT&T is its huge market library for browsing prototyping development kits, connectivity module solutions, and a wide range of consulting services. As a reputable telecommunications technology service provider, AT&T was one of the first platforms to deliver end-to-end solutions in a single dashboard.
Ioterra – Single Market for IoT for Services and Solutions
Ioterra is the backbone of the company with a complete market solution. It is detailed, covers all solutions and has an exclusive section for building prototypes. Ioterra connects interdisciplinary professionals with companies looking for them. What makes it superior are the widespread prototyping services such as purchasing components, hiring prototyping specialists, and supporting tenders.
Thanks to an automated RFP tool, the platform disseminates the need to targeted resources, those who are specialized in the construction of IoT prototypes. The RFP tool receives your request via a form in which you specify product specifications, budget, lead times, and a low-level explanation of the effort estimate. Subsequently, it produces a complete tender document and disseminates it to the community.
Additionally, Ioterra provides an interface to connect with resources from any discipline and skill within the IoT spectrum.
Libelium Marketplace – Ready-to-use IoT kits with cloud connectivity
Besides a catchy name, Libelium IoT Marketplace tries to help users click and buy a wide range of IoT development kits and components. The platform provides a dashboard for deploying smart applications across all disciplines of IoT, primarily hardware and software. Assuming prototyping is the starting point for all IoT projects, the platform allows direct access to resources that can help with the task.
Explore 3D prototyping (rapid prototyping)
Rapid prototyping provides a faster mechanism to walk through a focused design by producing 3D components. Needless to say, this is a more interactive and accurate method of evaluating the prototype under development. It is best suited for most low to medium cost IoT objects. Different 3D printing techniques include fusion deposition modeling (FDM), stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS).
IoT prototyping won’t be difficult if you diligently pursue any of these services. To continue the list, companies can also try social media outreach, broadcast on tender boards and communities, rental of ready-to-deploy prototypes, and more. As the IoT grows, companies must use the services available to accelerate the development of their IoT products in a secure and qualitative manner.