As associated costs decrease and consumer demand increases, the Internet of Things will continue to expand into new markets. By 2020, thirty billion connected “things” are forecasted to be in use.
With all the disciplines under one roof, Delve is prepared to meet this challenge.
Our complete systems integration expertise enables us to partner with clients to develop connected solutions that are optimized for user experience and ready to bring to market.
Two Essential Pieces
While Internet of Things products are complex and multi-layered, two essential pieces—user experience and technology—determine their ultimate success:
There are a growing number of ways to interact with a device, including via mobile or Web app, ambient interactions, and transparent interactions. In the case of learning devices, interactions are initiated by products at appropriate times.
Our interaction designers are concerned with the user experience (UX) of the product—the unique combination of macro- and micro-interactions that add up to the whole. They work with our human factors experts to ensure use of best practices and to lend rigor to research findings.
Read more about how we set out to design a holistic experience that creates an emotional connection with the user at Digital-Physical Design.
IoT moves quickly. Its technology landscape can transform in as little as three months. Because of the nature of consultancy work and short design cycles, we have multiple products in development at all times. This accounts for our broad and always evolving knowledge base.
We’ve implemented a wide range of solutions using emerging technology, and we have our eye on technology that is still in development.
We’re positioned to confidently recommend what’s best for a client’s project from a wide and growing catalog of options.
Delve’s electrical engineers are experienced with many wireless platforms, including: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and cellular radio. There are many different methodologies and protocols for connecting.
Our team is also experienced with many standards and with integrating devices with Google, Nest, Health Kit, and Home Kit among others. Read more about our electrical engineering expertise.
With more products featuring digital interfaces, design doesn’t end with the physical product. Our interaction designers and electrical engineers are often part of the project team.
Their contributions may include user interface architecture and visual design for embedded touchscreens as well as the underlying electronics hardware and firmware.
The development of mobile apps as companions to medical devices often comes into play. (Learn more about our integrated Digital-Physical Design expertise.)
All Disciplines Engaged
Though user experience and technology are king, IoT products are truly integrated devices that require experienced project teams working nimbly across all disciplines.
Working from the inside out, or from cloud to user, the first layer is Electrical Engineering (EE).
The EE guts contain the hardware and firmware that allow the device to connect to the cloud and talk to the Internet and other devices. Delve’s electrical engineers have deep embedded-development experience—this helps us avoid pitfalls. The decisions an engineer makes today about an IoT product’s guts can have ramifications years from now.
Our software engineers are involved throughout the entire process. Architectural and design decisions have implications on software; both the firmware embedded on the device as well as the software residing in a mobile application or on a server.
Software empowers device-provisioning, which could be on a home WiFi network, a digital/physical association, or another means of identification.
Software also enables users to control devices remotely from their phone, from a web application, or via voice, and it provides scheduling, access control, data visualization, and integration into other data sources, such as weather. And software collects data that can be analyzed for machine learning and can be used to influence the product roadmap.
Mechanical Engineering (ME): The layer surrounding EE denotes the device’s physical makeup. Our Engineering Optimization & Analysis section lays out our ME expertise.
Industrial design (ID): Industrial design wraps all of the above into a package that’s physically appealing, ergonomic, and reflective of brand values. Read more about industrial design in Digital-Physical Design and Product Brand Language.
Interaction Design (IxD): Interaction designers look at the entire ecosystem of interaction between a device and its user, from unboxing through end of use. They design the user interface (UI), which can be a screen, physical buttons, a combination of both, or something else entirely.
Our Integrated Process
The shared process we’ve developed to align our core IoT development disciplines—electrical engineering (EE) and interaction design (IxD)—encourages tight end-to-end collaboration between user experience and technology.
Working closely together throughout the process saves time by preventing significant reworking of features later on, when things are more difficult and costlier to change. It also allows us to ask and answer the following questions early on in development:
- What are the customers’ needs and expectations, and which problems does the product need to solve? What should it be able to do, and for which types of users?
- Can we make a device that meets users’ needs with the parts available on the market? What works best from a cost, footprint, and connectivity standpoint? Most importantly, from a user standpoint, how are we going to get the best solution to work?
- How do representative users interact with prototypes, and what feedback from testing should we integrate into the next prototype?
- How can we design the user interface (the visual design — colors, branding, etc.) to create a really delightful user experience?
Read more on our blog about our shared EE-IxD process.