Industrial Design for the Internet of Things

Anyone developing smart, connected products will at some point come in contact with an industrial design studio. This holds true for everyone in the Internet of Things, whether designing a new product or modifying existing ones to be connected and smart. Companies without an internal design team turn to third-parties to oversee the look and feel, user experience, aesthetics and ergonomic capacity of the physical product.
Yet IoT product design does not take place in a bubble. The design team you choose must consider the smart technology and integrate electronics into the design. Learn how the IoT design process works, how it links to other players in the IoT production process, and what to consider when choosing an Industrial design studio for your connected product.
IoT product design process overview

This guide will give you valuable tips on how to work better with the industrial design studio, beginning with an overview of the entire design process:

Internet of things industrial design

Once you understand the IoT product design flow, explore the factors involved in choosing the right industrial design team for your connected product.
Choose the right industrial design service

Design studios can join a project at different stages:

Design Research: When a client wishes to understand and get familiarized with products on the market, with different design approaches for those products, or with innovative designs and products currently in production.
Concept Design: The process of building a concept for the product. This could mean the design concept, but can also refer to the operational concept and functionality of the product.
Product Design: The development of the design of the product – from basic sketches, to prototypes or even production.
Specific Design Needs: I.e. ergonomics, packaging, User Experience (UX) or others.
Consulting: The design studio’s involvement may only be required on a limited basis, for example when the creative process is in very early stages or, alternatively, the product is in its final production stages.

Potential risks

Working with an industrial design studio can greatly improve the quality of the product, but it can also cause setbacks and create potential risks:

Delays in the Timeline: The design process and research can consume quite a lot of time. In a project with a tight schedule, it is important to take the timeline into consideration.
Project Costs: Working with an industrial design studio translates to additional costs for the design process, as well as shipment costs, travel expenses, and additional costs.
Product Costs: Changes to the product may result in additional expenses.
Engineering Efforts: Significant efforts is needed in order to synthesize both engineering and design into the desired smart product. For more information, see Seebo’s Guide on IoT engineering and product design.

Industrial design and the IoT environment

IoT is a fast-paced world. Its environment changes rapidly and demands that anyone looking to design smart, connected products take several practical considerations into account:

Experience: Today, many industrial design studios already have experience designing IoT products.
Target Price: Keep in mind that a well-designed IoT product is not necessarily an expensive and complicated one. Good design can give a product an aesthetic appearance without utilizing particularly expensive production techniques or materials.
Timelines: Make sure the design process timeline matches the production timeline.
Design: The design of the product is meant to support and emphasize its technology. Always ensure that the product design does not create obstacles for the technological environment it supports. Read more on the subject of industrial IoT design here.

Pablo Villaronga is a IT Manager with a passion for connecting businesses with digital transformation technologies through compelling, inspiring, and thought-provoking content. Proven experience in leading all-things-IT at startups, upstarts, and large enterprise software companies.