How to make smart hardware under the wave of Internet of Things?

Under the wave of the Internet of Things, the popularity of smart hardware is heating up. From innovation to product, how should developers work step by step?

The popularity of smart hardware continues to heat up. This technology concept, which is called by the industry insiders as a new entry point for the Internet of Things and after the smartphone, has stirred the hearts of almost all technology companies, hardware manufacturers and entrepreneurs.

In fact, people's lives have always been inseparable from hardware. From the previous PCs to the current smart phones and tablet computers, there have recently been wearable devices. The technology wave has been continuously innovated, and waves have come one after another. Among them, the Internet of Things is developing rapidly. According to statistics, the total amount of connected devices in the world will reach 50 billion in 2020. Domestically, the industry began to talk about the concept of the Internet of Things from 8 or 9 years ago. In the past two years, with the proliferation of electronic devices, the need for intelligence and networking has become more urgent, the Internet of Things has begun to be mentioned in large numbers.

In Intel's view, the Internet of Things is divided into three scenarios: first, industrial-grade solutions, followed by home-centric products, and then products in the mobile environment. Regardless of the scenario, whether it is a person, an object, or a human-machine collaboration process, it is difficult to achieve intelligence without a cloud. why? After the emergence of the cloud, computing technology has changed a lot. When a product is put on the market, it can be used by thousands of users at the same time. This is something that could not be done before because the system backend can mark features and iterate. The algorithm makes the recognition rate grow by leaps and bounds. This is the technological advancement brought by cloud computing technology.

In this environment, the hardware design is more complicated. In the past, hardware engineers looked at a hardware system design in isolation, and now hardware and software engineers must be highly coordinated, considering the way hardware and software and the back-end services are presented. Intelligent systems are so complex, do we have processes, systems and methods that we can follow?

The life cycle of consumer electronics is getting shorter and shorter, many or even less than a year. In China, the development time of intelligent hardware has also become shorter, and it is very important to seize the opportunity. Faced with such challenges, Intel divides process management in the development cycle into four phases: market demand analysis, product concept formation, R&D control, and after-sales considerations and strategic synergy. In fact, it turns the potential consumer demand into engineering, and then Form the product, develop the prototype, and enter the formal production process. Let's talk about the key elements of each stage.

How to make smart hardware under the wave of Internet of Things?

First, market demand analysis

How to identify customer needs? There are two main types of practices:

1. Market research. The usual method is to have a discussion with the customer, a questionnaire, including a large-scale consumer behavior survey, to get feedback on the various sub-categories of the product. By statistical means, we can classify a number of potential variables into several categories. However, market research also has certain limitations. For example, customers may answer in the disturbed state, which is not necessarily natural. In addition, customers may not be able to judge their own needs. So is this kind of market research useless? Of course not. If you do product line extension development, this method is actually not useful, especially when a fist product is already famous.

2. Scene observation. It is also a means of demonstration to send a special person to observe in depth the actual consumption scene to visually understand the problems that customers will encounter when using the product. For example, the Beijing subway has a high passenger load. Many office workers have the need to read newspapers when they take the subway. If you want to build a newsstand on the subway platform, it will be too small to put on the newspaper. Too big will affect the peak ride. In this kind of scenario, it is best to use an empirical method, pull on the simulating kiosk, mount the camera on the surrounding, take pictures of the peak period, analyze the video afterwards, and resize and find a reasonable size.

All in all, in terms of market demand analysis, not only smart hardware, but also high cost of money and time in any product.

Second, product concept formation

After grasping customer needs, how can we shape customer needs into conceptual products? This stage is especially important. When customer needs are fed back from the marketing department, sales department, customer service department, and product department to the development department, it is necessary to convert the intuitive language into an engineering language, which forms a complicated process.

1. This is a process of integration of science and art, engineering and design. In China, the development of intelligent hardware often pays too much attention to engineering and technology, and neglects design and art. The resulting products may be technically very good, but not easily accepted by consumers. In fact, consumer preferences have a strong emotional color, so traditional hardware design engineers must be combined with companies that integrate product features and appearance. In the process of cultivating new products, all aspects of the profession are very important, and the exquisite design is the best presentation of products and technology.

2. Technology should not be used to show off, but hidden behind the consumer experience. Many companies are doing robots, but what are the practical uses of the robots now made? In addition to showing a variety of human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, cloud intelligence assistance, limb control technology, the degree of fit with life scenes is worth pondering. If the product can't be highly integrated with real life, then it can't be called a product, just a test concept. And if the technology can be displayed in a specific life scene, reflecting the value of a service, or even the value of entertainment, once combined, I believe that mature products are not far away.

3. The refinement of product characteristics must be chosen and adhered to. Never mind people. In the past, many products claimed to have to be done without people and people. This kind of thinking reflects that we only look at competitors when we conceive products, and ignore the most essential needs of consumers, ignoring the most authentic characteristics of the company, thus blurring the meaning that products really want to convey.

Third, research and development control

In the actual system development process, many aspects need to be noted, including talents, supply chains, etc.:

1. The core R&D team needs continuous experience accumulation. Not only do you have to stick to it for a long time, but your partner is the same.

2. Be sure to understand the boundary capabilities of the supply chain and consider the factors of productivity. Any innovation is inseparable from the supply chain. I have seen a good product design, it took a year and a half, and finally the entire product line was canceled just because of the antenna wiring problem. The reason is that innovation is too much, its scale is small, there is no corresponding parts, and production is not in vain. This kind of problem should be avoided as early as possible. In order to manage and achieve a balance between quality and cost, it is very important to adopt a platform and modular design. Many German cars, including SUVs and cars, are now made on the same chassis. This is the typical platform design.

3. After-sales consideration and strategic synergy

When the product is delivered to the customer, the box is opened but not lit. This is called the death of light, which is the biggest problem. Product reliability design, testing, and the entire packaging process are critical.

In addition, in the process of hardware innovation, it is necessary to clarify the relationship between brands and products. For a company that has already formed a good brand, if the product is too innovative, and out of the existing knowledge that the brand has built in people's minds, it will be accompanied by very big risks. The product is the specific presentation of the brand. If you really want to innovate, you should also pay attention to the coordination of the next generation of products and brands.

The innovation and incubation process of intelligent hardware is very complicated. It is a difficult integration of planning and planning, engineering and design, art and science, data and inspiration. It requires the participation of all departments of the company and the entire supply chain. We need to design the product's complete lifecycle and intelligent experience model to deliver the values ​​of the company and the designer through the product.

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