Internet of Things, Product Design, and Poor Robot

The barriers between software and the physical world are falling
-Jon Bruner, Industrial Internet, O’Reilly Media

I attended Thing Tuesday – The Portland Internet of Things Meetup event last night not really knowing what to expect, only to be pleasantly surprised that I found a group of people who are just as interested in hardware startups and hardware hacking projects as I am.

The term “Internet of Things” was foreign to me until last night as well.  Within the first 15 minutes it became clear to me — this is all about the different things that can be connected,  how they connect, and the limitless possibilities that opens up for innovation.

One of the presenters that stood out to me was Zac Wheeler of Poor Robot. His presentation, “Electronics For Products – Things To Keep In Mind”, hit the nail on the head by pointing out things that people overlook when developing their products. Many of these things we’ve seen multiple startups and product developers stumble over.

Two of the highlights he mentioned that I would like to reiterate based on our experiences at RelianceCM are:

- Be careful with the stated performance of components compared to their actual performance.  I believe he gave the example of a thermistor that was unable to withstand the temperatures claimed on the data sheets. Another example I would add is to be careful when it comes to products that claim to communicate with other networks, especially when the products have not had much time to be tested in the real world.

- Make sure your design has been reviewed for manufacturability.  Be careful when you are designing something that it can be manufactured as designed. Also, be aware that just because something can be designed a certain way, that may not be the most efficient when you are ready for production. I’d recommend having a manufacturer review your product design early. That way you’ve got a second set of eyes evaluating your design from a different perspective.

All in all I enjoyed the presenters. I’d recommend anyone that has an interest in hardware, startups, or just looking for a good networking event in Portland to check this one out. I plan on attending the next one on April 16.

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