An Interconnected World
So many of the products we interact with on a daily basis are connected to the digital world. Not only are our phones, tablets, and computers internet enabled, but our cars, streaming devices, and even refrigerators are online in what some people call the “internet of things.” There is both a need for new and exciting ways to evolve everyday products by bringing them online, and a need to harness the power of already connected devices by bringing them into one ecosystem.
Hardware is a broad term, not only containing internet-upgraded devices, but also accessories for apps, either integral to their function, or adding features. Hardware can be accessories we use every day like headphones, chargers, or phone and tablet cases. We have experience in designing and manufacturing many different projects, and are ready to bring your idea from the light-bulb moment to the hands of your consumers.
When considering app development with hardware, it’s important to consider what relationship the hardware will have with the app. Is the hardware necessary to the function of the app? For example, think of the Square card reader as it pertains to the Square app. The app has limited functionality without the addition of hardware. We can design and manufacture these pieces and ensure they work seamlessly and intuitively together. From streaming and audio-visual devices to financial or camera accessories, there is an unexplored market and untapped potential waiting out there for your idea.
What about an add-on accessory to an app? For example, think of the Pokémon Go Plus, the watch accessory to Pokémon Go. It’s not necessary to experience the full functionality of the app, but is a helpful addition for users. Whether or not you have an existing app, or if during the development process you become inspired, we can create and integrate beautifully designed hardware seamlessly into an app that customers will love the moment they see it.
Other Accessories & Digital Products
Apple recently eliminated the analog headphone jack from the iPhone and introduced a slew of new products, notably the AirPods, which are basically a computer for your ear. Apple essentially forced the acceleration of the Bluetooth headphone market, even though their new offerings are not mere Bluetooth headphones, but a combination of Bluetooth with proprietary technology. Bluetooth headphones are already the revenue leader in headphones, and are only growing. Wireless speakers are likewise experiencing growth as consumers look to their smartphones as their main music listening device. We are experts in Bluetooth technology and can integrate it into apps or hardware to make your product as connected and future-ready as possible.
Do you have an idea for something else that’s not necessarily an app-connected or Bluetooth enabled device? For example, we could develop a new phone or tablet case, a toy or video game accessory, or a new internet capable-device with its own GUI. In the next section you’ll see our 6 Steps of Hardware Development, which we’ve used to great success in the business of hardware development. We are confident our comprehensive design and development process can help to bring your idea to life. Speak with an account manager today to discuss how we can get started on creating your project.
Courage Beyond Convention
The last few years, an entirely new category of technology has been created. Wearables like smartwatches and fitness tracking devices are relatively well established at this point. Virtual reality also has been around for a few years now. Platforms like the HTC Vive are proving it’s not just a fad. Augmented reality and holodeck technologies are being developed all the time, notably with Microsoft’s upcoming HoloLens.
There are many concerns and variables when developing these kinds of devices. We have an excellent track record of developing wearables of all sorts. The internal hardware, overall design, ergonomics, and haptics all need to be both beautiful and intuitive. Intuition is absolutely important. Caring about intuition is analyzing with fresh and critical eyes every detail to see if it’s worthwhile to bring through our extensive design process.
6 Steps of Hardware Development
- Feasibility and Early Development: With your idea, we construct early foam prototypes and engineering breadboards. We are seeing here if your project is technically feasible.
- Engineering Prototype: In this phase, we create a fully integrated, working prototype that looks like the final manufacturing product. We interview and test parts manufacturers to make sure every aspect works well and is compatible with the manufacturing process.
- Engineering Verification Test: At this point, having adjusted any issues from the Engineering Prototype, we produce up to 50 copies of your product, perform field and early durability tests. We will still be assembling the product in-house at this stage. Our supply chain is assembled.
- Design Verification Test: At this stage, the DV prototypes will be constructed by the manufacturer for them to learn the assembly process and identify any design-for-manufacture (DFM) issues. There will be little difference between DVT and EVT Builds.
- Process Verification Test: Now all engineering and design changes stop. The manufacturing process takes over. This build tests out the manufacturing processes invented in the EVT and DVT phases.
- Mass Production: Finally, mass manufacturing begins. Our focus is now on sustaining engineering to stabilize your product on the manufacturing line and ensure the high quality output you expect to see.
Wearables & Virtual Reality
Not only do we develop apps for wearables, virtual reality, and augmented reality, we also develop the hardware from motherboard to manufacture. If you have a new idea for a fitness tracker, smart watch, or other wearable digital device, we can develop and market your device. We give you constant feedback throughout the process to make sure your product’s stakeholders are satisfied and updated. The wearables we develop can be fully independent devices, or pair successfully with any major platform.
Virtual and augmented reality devices are always improving, and constantly being adopted by consumers, but the immersion can still go deeper. If you have ever experienced the remarkable technology currently available, you know that there are still limits to what the headsets can detect in your hands and body. Let our account managers know if you have an idea that you’d like to work with our expert development team on.