Prototyping an Internet of Things connected product:

As computer algorithms evolve to better manipulate our data, many of our customers see opportunity having the products we develop and manufacture connected to the internet.

We currently have two projects in production that enable data to be sent via the cloud to a user enabled app... Knoxxa monitors security guards by requesting that the security guards trigger various GMU boxes in the building, either by simply pressing a button, or scanning a finger print. This is fed back to a central control centre via a WiFi router or over the GSM network. The property owner is kept up to date with the security guards’ rounds via a user friendly app.

FWIP, is an IoT connected vending machine that advised the store user how much stock has passed through the machine and when it is advisable to re order. As well as giving forecasts on the most popular types of ice cream depending on the time of year.

The challenge

Electromagnetic Compatibility, (EMC), is the interaction of electrical and electronic equipment with its electromagnetic environment, and with other equipment. All electronic devices have the potential to emit electromagnetic fields especially an IoT connected device. The development process has to plan around the passing of an EMC test, which is only granted when a final production product is submitted. Therefore, electronic projects have to be planned out to meet specific gateways and prototypes built to verify if they will not only be user friendly and function as intended, but pass testing when in production.

IoT devices are common and the technology is readily available off the shelf, which is certified. However, units such as the Raspberry Pi, although being incredibly good value, carry a lot of tertiary components that may not be required for the function of the product. So, depending on production forecast, it may be more efficient to look at developing a bespoke board. Product cost may well be lower if using a bespoke board, however development time is increased and bespoke boards will require their own certification.

The solution

The first aim is to make a proof of concept prototype. (PoC) and we will use the off the shelf electronic components. To save cost at this stage, the functioning electronics are put in simple boxes with simple buttons. The aim of the PoC prototype is to test user interfaces and the electronic user experience.

Once this is settled, we need to make WLLL, works like looks like prototypes, to put into user trials. These need to be representative of what the product would like in production, so the industrial design will also be tested. The product may still be a shell, and not engineered for production.

For Knoxxa we developed 5 'gateways' – a router and 15 gmu units. Each gateway was paired with tow GMU units and sent for user trails. We learnt early on that the function was fine, and if anything the electronics requirement was over specified for use, but the mechanical units for the gateways needed to me IP65 (dust and splash proof) rated. We also sent units off for an EMC review to learn if our design would pass an EMC test and made amends so that they would.

It is a good idea to get a safety test review at this stage to see if we have any safety concerns and we often ask for an EMC review.

Following these prototypes, it is very common to make changes to design in the feedback from user trials and testing. This development loop can be repeated until we are completely satisfied that the design will delight the user, will comply with any standards and can be made for a marketable cost.

The outcome

We often work with our production partner engineers to then take the design into production engineering. Each physical component is designed for manufacture, and each part is prototyped either using 3D prints or CNC parts to produce a pre-production prototype. (PPP) The electronics boards are made, and the firmware code is embedded into the hardware. The development team will overlay the latest release of software. This PPP must be signed off by the client before 'opening the tooling' – start the production tooling. (link to manufacture section)

During the production process several 'Pulls' are made from the tools for the physical and mechanical parts, and the hardware is supplied to be built into a series of 'engineering prototypes' (EPs). When the team and client are happy with the production test samples a Final Engineering prototype (FEP) is signed off by the whole team prior to batch production. These FEPs are production samples and can be submitted for an EMC test certificate and then placed in the field for user trials and marketing activity prior to starting production.

Find out more about prototyping:


Types of prototyping

Prototyping a consumer product

Prototyping an Internet of Things connected product:

As computer algorithms evolve to better manipulate our data, many of our customers see opportunity having the products we develop and manufacture connected to the internet.

We currently have two projects in production that enable data to be sent via the cloud to a user enabled app… Knoxxa monitors security guards by requesting that the security guards trigger various GMU boxes in the building, either by simply pressing a button, or scanning a finger print. This is fed back to a central control centre via a WiFi router or over the GSM network. The property owner is kept up to date with the security guards’ rounds via a user friendly app.

FWIP, is an IoT connected vending machine that advised the store user how much stock has passed through the machine and when it is advisable to re order. As well as giving forecasts on the most popular types of ice cream depending on the time of year.

The challenge

Electromagnetic Compatibility, (EMC), is the interaction of electrical and electronic equipment with its electromagnetic environment, and with other equipment. All electronic devices have the potential to emit electromagnetic fields especially an IoT connected device. The development process has to plan around the passing of an EMC test, which is only granted when a final production product is submitted. Therefore, electronic projects have to be planned out to meet specific gateways and prototypes built to verify if they will not only be user friendly and function as intended, but pass testing when in production.

IoT devices are common and the technology is readily available off the shelf, which is certified. However, units such as the Raspberry Pi, although being incredibly good value, carry a lot of tertiary components that may not be required for the function of the product. So, depending on production forecast, it may be more efficient to look at developing a bespoke board. Product cost may well be lower if using a bespoke board, however development time is increased and bespoke boards will require their own certification.

The solution

The first aim is to make a proof of concept prototype. (PoC) and we will use the off the shelf electronic components. To save cost at this stage, the functioning electronics are put in simple boxes with simple buttons. The aim of the PoC prototype is to test user interfaces and the electronic user experience.

Once this is settled, we need to make WLLL, works like looks like prototypes, to put into user trials. These need to be representative of what the product would like in production, so the industrial design will also be tested. The product may still be a shell, and not engineered for production.

For Knoxxa we developed 5 'gateways' – a router and 15 gmu units. Each gateway was paired with tow GMU units and sent for user trails. We learnt early on that the function was fine, and if anything the electronics requirement was over specified for use, but the mechanical units for the gateways needed to me IP65 (dust and splash proof) rated. We also sent units off for an EMC review to learn if our design would pass an EMC test and made amends so that they would.

It is a good idea to get a safety test review at this stage to see if we have any safety concerns and we often ask for an EMC review.

Following these prototypes, it is very common to make changes to design in the feedback from user trials and testing. This development loop can be repeated until we are completely satisfied that the design will delight the user, will comply with any standards and can be made for a marketable cost.

The outcome

We often work with our production partner engineers to then take the design into production engineering. Each physical component is designed for manufacture, and each part is prototyped either using 3D prints or CNC parts to produce a pre-production prototype. (PPP) The electronics boards are made, and the firmware code is embedded into the hardware. The development team will overlay the latest release of software. This PPP must be signed off by the client before 'opening the tooling' – start the production tooling. (link to manufacture section)

During the production process several 'Pulls' are made from the tools for the physical and mechanical parts, and the hardware is supplied to be built into a series of 'engineering prototypes' (EPs). When the team and client are happy with the production test samples a Final Engineering prototype (FEP) is signed off by the whole team prior to batch production. These FEPs are production samples and can be submitted for an EMC test certificate and then placed in the field for user trials and marketing activity prior to starting production.

Find out more about prototyping:


Types of prototyping

Prototyping a consumer product

Prototyping an Internet of Things connected product:

As computer algorithms evolve to better manipulate our data, many of our customers see opportunity having the products we develop and manufacture connected to the internet.

We currently have two projects in production that enable data to be sent via the cloud to a user enabled app... Knoxxa monitors security guards by requesting that the security guards trigger various GMU boxes in the building, either by simply pressing a button, or scanning a finger print. This is fed back to a central control centre via a WiFi router or over the GSM network. The property owner is kept up to date with the security guards’ rounds via a user friendly app.

FWIP, is an IoT connected vending machine that advised the store user how much stock has passed through the machine and when it is advisable to re order. As well as giving forecasts on the most popular types of ice cream depending on the time of year.

The challenge

Electromagnetic Compatibility, (EMC), is the interaction of electrical and electronic equipment with its electromagnetic environment, and with other equipment. All electronic devices have the potential to emit electromagnetic fields especially an IoT connected device. The development process has to plan around the passing of an EMC test, which is only granted when a final production product is submitted. Therefore, electronic projects have to be planned out to meet specific gateways and prototypes built to verify if they will not only be user friendly and function as intended, but pass testing when in production.

IoT devices are common and the technology is readily available off the shelf, which is certified. However, units such as the Raspberry Pi, although being incredibly good value, carry a lot of tertiary components that may not be required for the function of the product. So, depending on production forecast, it may be more efficient to look at developing a bespoke board. Product cost may well be lower if using a bespoke board, however development time is increased and bespoke boards will require their own certification.

The solution

The first aim is to make a proof of concept prototype. (PoC) and we will use the off the shelf electronic components. To save cost at this stage, the functioning electronics are put in simple boxes with simple buttons. The aim of the PoC prototype is to test user interfaces and the electronic user experience.

Once this is settled, we need to make WLLL, works like looks like prototypes, to put into user trials. These need to be representative of what the product would like in production, so the industrial design will also be tested. The product may still be a shell, and not engineered for production.

For Knoxxa we developed 5 'gateways' – a router and 15 gmu units. Each gateway was paired with tow GMU units and sent for user trails. We learnt early on that the function was fine, and if anything the electronics requirement was over specified for use, but the mechanical units for the gateways needed to me IP65 (dust and splash proof) rated. We also sent units off for an EMC review to learn if our design would pass an EMC test and made amends so that they would.

It is a good idea to get a safety test review at this stage to see if we have any safety concerns and we often ask for an EMC review.

Following these prototypes, it is very common to make changes to design in the feedback from user trials and testing. This development loop can be repeated until we are completely satisfied that the design will delight the user, will comply with any standards and can be made for a marketable cost.

The outcome

We often work with our production partner engineers to then take the design into production engineering. Each physical component is designed for manufacture, and each part is prototyped either using 3D prints or CNC parts to produce a pre-production prototype. (PPP) The electronics boards are made, and the firmware code is embedded into the hardware. The development team will overlay the latest release of software. This PPP must be signed off by the client before 'opening the tooling' – start the production tooling. (link to manufacture section)

During the production process several 'Pulls' are made from the tools for the physical and mechanical parts, and the hardware is supplied to be built into a series of 'engineering prototypes' (EPs). When the team and client are happy with the production test samples a Final Engineering prototype (FEP) is signed off by the whole team prior to batch production. These FEPs are production samples and can be submitted for an EMC test certificate and then placed in the field for user trials and marketing activity prior to starting production.

Find out more about prototyping:


Types of prototyping

Prototyping a consumer product