Smart Home Engineering
Smart Device – Networking – Control
Leveraging extensive experience with smart device design and IoT app development, Cardinal Peak empowers clients with the ability to quickly build smart home products that seamlessly integrate with mobile applications and cloud systems. Smart devices, by their nature, are complex systems requiring detailed knowledge of communications protocols, security standards, data collection, AI/ML and analytics. As many smart home products are high volume, it is crucial to design to minimize both the device BOM and the long-term cloud costs. Our team understands those requirements and possesses the skills and experience necessary to develop smart home devices that can thrive in today’s networked ecosystems.
Our deep smart home product design expertise ensures your IoT device will be intuitive to set up and use while maintaining security. We work with many of the major IoT platforms and component suppliers. Use our smart device algorithm engineering services to help you reduce both cost and time to market.
Our Case Studies: Smart Device Engineering
As one of the top smart home product design companies, Cardinal Peak supports innovative smart device engineering, including the projects below. If you’re looking for a partner to help design smart home products, from connectivity and the cloud to edge AI/ML and IoT app development, contact us.
FAQs About Smart Home Product Design
What is a smart home device?
Smart home is a category of internet of things (IoT) products that are specifically designed for use in the home. Common examples of smart home devices include thermostats, Wi-Fi or BLE door locks, lighting controls, outlets, etc. In addition to the connected devices, smart homes often include hubs or gateways that allow products using a variety of protocols, such as Zigbee, BLE, 6LoWPAN and others, to connect. Increasingly popular in smart home control are smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home products, which allow homeowners to control smart devices with just their voice. Primary use cases for smart homes include 1) home automation, 2) home security and 3) monitoring while away.
How long does it take to design a smart device?
For a ground-up design of a new smart home product (not a white-labeled product), a reasonable expectation for product design and testing is six to nine months. This includes the industrial design for the package, including molds. It also assumes the development of a new printed circuit board and the embedded software necessary to run the device, communicate with the cloud and perform over-the-air software updates. Much of the electrical design happens in parallel to the mechanical design as does the design of a mobile app and any cloud services supporting the device. Included in the schedule is time for alpha and beta testing of the end-to-end product. For products that are leveraging an existing product design, timeframes can be greatly compressed.
What are the steps in smart device design?
The first step in all product design is envisioning the value proposition of the product (ideation) and documenting the features that need to be implemented (the requirements). For smart home products, this step needs to consider compatibility with other smart home products, such as Alexa or one of the other voice assistants. Leveraging existing infrastructure can greatly reduce your development cost and speed the schedule at the expense of limiting your market. For example, developing a device that is exclusively controlled through Alexa eliminates the need to develop an app, but only customers that use Alexa can use your product.
When it comes to smart home engineering, the first step is to describe the data that needs to be collected, processed and displayed by the device so that the device-to-cloud and the cloud-to-app interfaces can be described. Given a good interface description, the development of the device, cloud application and end-user app can proceed in parallel as engineers work to the API (application programming interface), which has likely been mocked up with a test harness. As features are implemented end to end, the system undergoes regular QA testing for each new feature, as well as regression testing for previously developed features. When the system is complete, testing expands to alpha testing (“friends and family”) then beta testing (small set of customers), during which any manufacturing test and configuration tools are prepared. Finally, the product is released. As widespread user data comes back and the marketing team sees the features that resonate with customers, functionality is added or tweaked and pushed out through OTA updates.
Smart Device Design Resources
Do you want to work in smart home engineering and IoT? Our expert highlights the IoT expertise necessary, how to gain those skills, and the most exciting and challenging parts of the job.
Have you ever wanted to turn your lights on/off using either a physical switch running Zigbee or a BLE application on a smartphone? Read more to discover how to build a smart home lighting device that does precisely that.