Hardware is big business, and the barrier of entry is lower than ever. Add to this new crowdfunding opportunities, and virtually anyone with a sound concept and the wherewithal to get it to market can launch a product nowadays. However, it’s also easy to fail, usually because of a poor quality product, lack of demand or other logistical issues that could’ve been easily avoided. That’s why it’s important that you do not jump in head-first, even if you believe you have a sound foundation. Here are some things you’ll have to know before you get in the hardware field.
Keep it Simple
Well-designed simple products will usually always beat complicated ones. This is why you should focus on keeping things as simple as possible if you’re just getting started. Not only will these be easier to build, but they will be much cheaper too. And you’ll be able to do some of the initial development yourself. For instance, Gumstix has a great PCB design tool that anyone can use to formulate a quick draft of what their final circuit board will be. It will then be sent to engineers who can make the adjustments necessary and build a prototype or move it straight to production. This alone could save you so much money and allow you to have more control over the whole process.
Have Independent Opinions
You should never understate the importance of outside opinions when building hardware. With the world at your fingertips, we suggest you have your designs reviewed by as many engineers as you can from different areas. Some may have greater expertise or a better approach and could use solutions other engineers may have not thought of or may not even know about. This is all part of risk management, as having multiple opinions will reduce the chances of errors.
However, when it comes to building the team closest to you, you have to make sure that you actually trust them and that their skills complement yours. You want to have as much diversity of experience as possible, so you’ll be able to feed off each other.
Design from a Manufacturing Standpoint
This is one of the most important aspects that you’ll have to consider, and one that is too often overlooked. Anyone can come with a nice design. But designing for manufacturing is a whole other thing.
Designing for manufacturing means designing with cost and mass production in mind. In some cases, you might have to sacrifice aesthetics to reduce manufacturing cost or difficulty. Making just one modification could make a big difference to your margins and production time. So, make sure that you pick engineers who are working from this optic if you don’t want to end up overspending on superfluous features that look good on the surface.
The hardware game is a tough and competitive one. But with the right team, expertise, vision, and strategy, it’s a sector where anyone with a good idea and viable product can thrive.