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Teardown of an Internet of Things (IoT) Wireless Device with Bluetooth Low-Energy and ZigBee

Article Technical Rating: 8 out of 10

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the hottest areas of new product development. By 2020 it is estimated there will be 50 billion IoT devices.

Since all of the products I design are protected by NDA, I’ve decided to instead show you the details behind a IoT reference design from Texas Instruments (TI) that offers Bluetooth Low-Energy, ZigBee, and 6LoWPAN wireless protocols.

TI has developed a IoT reference design they call SensorTag that’s purpose is to showcase their IoT system-on-a-chip called the CC2650.

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Hiring an Electrical Engineer to Develop Your New Electronic Hardware Product

Developing a new electronic product absolutely requires that you hire the right electrical engineer(s).  As with medicine, electrical engineering is a broad field of study with countless specializations.

Not all engineers are created equal. If you hire the wrong designer your project may take twice as long, cost twice as much, and not even work.

Regardless of the engineer you hire, one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and lower your risk is to also hire a second independent engineer to review the work of the primary designer.

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How Much Does a Prototype Cost?

One of the first steps on the road to developing and marketing a new product is the creation of a prototype. The cost of a prototype can be broken into two parts: the engineering cost to design it, and the actual cost to produce it.

The total cost of the prototype (assuming an electronic product) usually includes the cost to manufacture the custom Printed Circuit Board (PCB), plus the cost of assembly, plus the cost of the components, plus the cost of the enclosure prototype.

Engineering costs vary greatly depending on the product complexity, engineering specialty required, product size desired (smaller usually takes longer and thus costs more), location, etc.

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The 5 Steps of Product Development for a New Electronic Hardware Product

The new product development process for an electronic product (or any product) is by no means simple. It’s a pretty overwhelming task especially for those with limited resources such as entrepreneurs, makers, start-ups and small companies.

However, the process can be simplified by breaking it down into five steps. The steps summarized below will get you to the point of having a fully functional prototype.

There are many other steps (13 in fact) to getting a product to the point of being manufactured in volume and sold to the general public.

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