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How to Make a Connected Product

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OH HAI.!


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SO YOU WANT TO! QUIT YOUR DAY JOB TO! BUILD A CONNECTED PRODUCT?! @iotwatch! alex@designswarm.com!


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Based on my experience as the ! ! First UK distributor of the Arduino (2007-10)! ! Founder of the Good Night Lamp ! ! Organiser of the London Internet of Things Meetup ! ! Independent #iot consultant! linkedin.com/in/designswarm!


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Some of this may not apply! links are UK-centric!


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Let’s assume you are building! ! A consumer* product that uses some connectivity to! offer customers a novel experience. ! *much of this applies to B2B!


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You will have to consider! ! consumer product ! ! web connectivity! ! novel ! ! experience. !


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Which means! ! Designing a consumer product that people will ! want to buy ! ! Offering solid web connectivity! ! Offering something new (let’s leave this aside for a second)! ! Designing an easy and enjoyable user experience. !


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This in turn means! ! Designing a consumer product that people will ! want to buy (product design, pricing, marketing)! ! Offering solid web connectivity (electronics design,! firmware design, backend design)! ! Designing a universal user experience. ! (User experience design, web design, e-commerce)!


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Product design! ! The process by which you translate your Arduino/Rpi ! prototype into a certified, desirable competitive product.! ! Product ! Accessories! Packaging box! Shipping box!


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Some ways to do that! ! Work it out on your own (£)! (1 year) ! ! Hire an industrial designer (££)! (6-8 mo)! ! Hire an industrial design company (£££)! (3-6 mo)!


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Work it out on your own! ! Join a hacker/maker space! Learn CAD online! Use laser cutting to experiment! Use 3D printing to prototype the final thing! Don’t forget material costs! Sketchup! Autodesk 123D Design! Meshmixer! Tinkercad! FormZ! Designing the Internet of Things, Adrian McEwen!


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Hire an industrial designer! ! Starting to be more common to find freelance ! industrial designers.! ! An industrial designer may not be able to help! with all aspects of production.! ! You will need to design your own supply! chain.! Red Clay Design! Makersco.com!


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Hire an industrial company! ! A contract with an industrial company doesn’t mean! you gain knowledge around what to do but! it means you may go faster.! ! Read your contract carefully.! Map Project Office! RPD International! Ask Joanna Montgomery!


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Pricing! £! £! Recommended! Retail! Price! Wholesale! Price! 50-65%! £! Your costs! 20%!


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Your costs! ! Bill of Materials! Labour! Shipping to and fro every single vendor ! Shipping worldwide! Tax! Cost of Returns! Customer support! Dragon Standard BOM Google Sheet!


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Marketing! ! Prepare a press release and high res photos with a ! white background, journos will like that.! ! A good 2mn / 30 sec video! ! Have spare units to give away. ! ! ! Be careful with ‘marketplaces’ !


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Marketing! ! Build a list of websites and magazines and their! lifestyle and tech editors contact details.! ! Consider that to be included in Christmas editions, ! you may need to be ready with materials by Spring. ! ! ! Do tradeshows, it’s the best way to get feedback! from potential customers. (££)!


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Marketing! ! Ideally don’t invest in marketing until you can ship the! product.! ! This applies to large tradeshows like CES.! ! People will forget you very quickly until you are selling. ! Then they will wait a few years before investing. !


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Marketing! ! Crowdfunding is another marketing tool. ! ! Consider you may not be able raise enough ! money .*! *I’ll come back to that.!


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So! ! Designing a consumer product that people will ! want to buy (product design, pricing, marketing)! ! Offering solid web connectivity (electronics design,! firmware design, backend design)! ! Designing a universal user experience. ! (User experience design, web design, e-commerce)!


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Electronics design! ! You will have to go from a prototype with Arduino/Rpi ! to a PCB with surface mounted components.! ! Again you may want to do this on your own but the ! product will eventually need to be certified, ! so you want to make sure you know what ! you’re doing.! Eagle software! Fritzing App!


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Certification! ! You will need your final product (the one! customers will receive) to be certified as safe! and not interfering with other household devices! & radio frequencies when you’re exporting.! This doesn’t apply to kits a customer assembles.! ! CE (UK & EU): £4K+! UL: £15K+ !


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Working with electronics / embedded software! engineers! ! More of them have started to freelance.! ! Doesn’t mean they are cheap. ! @develangel! @thinginnovations!


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Connectivity! ! Every form of connectivity has its problems.! None is totally seamless or never drops off.! ! Make sure you plan for this.!


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Connectivity! ! Radio / Xbee (£) You’ll need a ‘hub’ plugged into the ! customers router and possibly repeaters. Batteries in the! devices.! ! Wifi (££) You’ll need your customer to connect the product! to your network.! ! GSM (£££) You’ll need to secure global deals with M2M ! providers.! British Gas Hive / ElectricImp / Eseye!


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Backend design! ! There are a lot of middleware products out there. ! Consider what you want it to do or how you’d like to build it.! ! ! ! You may need to know ! •  the status of every device ! •  control it remotely! •  push out updates! •  link it up to orders! •  connect it to a customer support request! SmartThings! Thingworx! Evrythng! Resin.io!


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And then! ! Designing a consumer product that people will ! want to buy (product design, pricing, marketing)! ! Offering solid web connectivity (electronics design,! firmware design, backend design)! ! Designing a universal user experience. ! (User experience design, web design, e-commerce)!


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User experience! ! Think about the way in which a customer:! ! •  •  •  •  Sets your product up! Checks its status! Knows something’s gone wrong! Knows how to react when something’s wrong!


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User experience & web design! ! Think about the technical literacy of your customer.! Your user may not be your customer (gifting).! ! This will help you decide on whether to invest in ! designing an app, a web service or a really good FAQ.! Designing Connected Products, Claire Rowland!


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e-commerce! ! Watch out for e-commerce fees & cost of! add-on features.! ! Use Stripe over Paypal if you can. More flexible fraud! detection policies especially if you’re doing pre-ordering.! ! Fulfillment services can be interesting add-ons.!


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STOP!


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IP! ! If you’re going to be looking for investment, you! will need to try to protect your idea.! ! If you’re at the early stages of your idea you may want! to join an incubator which would support you! in searching for competing patents, and applying for ! a worldwide patent. !


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IP Search! ! You can do a patent search yourself, just make! sure you go to a public library for it.! ! You can also trademark the name of your product! and register the design for cheaper but it isn’t the same.! British Library IP Centre.!


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Investment! ! Investment in this space is very difficult.! ! If you’re looking at raising below £50K you should! be talking to angels. Below £150K you will have a group! of angels. Between £150K-£1M is very very difficult.! VCs step in at £1M.! Venture Deals, Brad Feld! Cap table!


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Investment! ! Incubators will typically take about 5-8% of your! business. Make sure they are facilitating access to ! follow-on investment and/or IP & technical support. ! ! Not all investors know about #iot or are interested ! in its ROI (5+ years).! ! A pitch day doesn’t guarantee investment.!


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Crowdfunding! ! Investors will typically push an #iot startup to do this! to prove interest in the market. ! ! 30 days isn’t enough to prove market interest. ! ! If you fail, it gives them a justification for saying no! in the first place. !


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STOP! COLLABORATE! LISTEN!


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What then?! ! If you end up self- funding your product development: ! ! Think about investing about 3-5 years minimum! and building an eco-system of vendors with a small! team of 1-3 people. You may lose money for! the first few batches.! ! ! Have another source of income while you do this.!


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Money! ! Plan to need between £50K-£100K to be put towards! your first batches.! ! Look for government and academic grants.! ! Venture Deals, Brad Feld! Cap table!


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So should you quit your day job?! ! Yes, once you have something that’s ready to ship.! ! Plan for at least 8-12 months without a salary.! ! ! Before that, use that paycheck wisely ! and pace yourself. !


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More help?! ! Lots of blog posts on #iot! designswarm.com/blog! ! Nice books to read! iot.london/bookshelf! ! ! A great community! meetup.com/iotlondon!


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THANK YOU.! QUESTIONS?! designswarm.com! goodnightlamp.com! iot.london! @iotwatch! alex@designswarm.com!


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