5 reasons why companies outsource IoT development.

Bring connected IoT hardware products to market is complex.

There are so many working systems, technologies, and variables at play, that getting it right the first time without deep expertise is tough. When companies do go at it alone they often end up making decisions outside of their comfort zone, compounding their business risk.

But by outsourcing IoT development to the right team companies can transform the development risk into a competitive advantage. Learn how:

1) You can hire 5 times more design and engineering staff, for less.

2) Get to market faster, often within 9 months.

3) Uncover more creative ideas and business opportunities.

4) Flexible access to resources throughout the life of your product.

5) More control over project costs and business outcomes.


1) Hire 5 times the design staff, for less.

How so? When you outsource development to a team, they get up to speed quickly and you have access to expertise in a multitude of disciplines.

To get the same expertise in-house would cost easily $500K/year - and even outsourcing key positions through to staff agencies can hit similar numbers.

One Design 1st client, Fantasy Scoreboards, experienced this first hand during the development of a connected scoreboard. To get access to the range of skills to build the product Fantasy Scoreboards hired multiple vendors and attempted to manage costs, quality, and timelines in-house. The result was a projected product cost that far exceeded the business and revenue models, so they looked for an outsourcing partner and chose Design 1st.

“After a costly false-start with another design company, we came to Design 1st and they quickly got us back on track. Their IoT experience saved us.” 

Fanatasy-Scoreboard-IoT-con

Fantasy Scoreboards


2) Get to market faster, within 9 months.

One recurring comment we get from customers is the speed at which we move. When you fire up a multi-disciplined team on a project product development moves fast - especially when they follow a predictable process. In 1 to 4 weeks you can move from an idea to a high-level manufacturable product concept.

For example, Liberty Pumps, a global manufacturer of sump pumps, had a full development team but no connected experience. They turned to Design 1st to get them up to speed and into the market faster than the competition.

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Liberty Pumps NightEye® IoT Development


3) Harness more creative ideas and business opportunities.

Getting feedback on your products from a dozen sets of experienced eyes with deep experience in hardware development is a huge competitive advantage. This organic process often enables the discovery of new IP, new product features and applications, and cost-saving opportunities.

A great example of this is Toddler Monitor, a connected children alert device. Toddler Monitor came to Design 1st with a Frankenstein-style prototype and the desire to connect via Wi-Fi. But after talks with our team of designers —who are also parents—a few issues arose with that concept. In the end, they shifted their strategy to the latest low-energy Bluetooth option to maximize battery life and range—a solution that made better sense for parents and for the business.

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Toddler Monitor moves from proof-of-function to production in 9 months.


4) Increase your organization's capacity

Even after a full development cycle is complete, you still have access to an expert design and manufacturing team that is intimate with your product. All products get fine-tuned with better features, accessories, and lowering the cost of manufacture. With a one-stop team you access anytime, you have a large virtual company at your fingertips.

A good example of this is how Design 1st remains in close contact with NYC based Cloud 9 Technologies even after product development is complete to organize new orders, manage the manufacturer, and fine tune product quality.

Design 1st Quarterly Visit to China

Design 1st team visits a Hong Kong - ShenZhen manufacturing facility


5) More control over project costs and business outcomes.

The biggest hurdle for hardware startups is development cost. Outside of pure research and experimentation time, there are prototype expenses, component purchasing, visits to manufacturing facilities, certifications, regulatory, trade shows—the list goes on.

If your internal product development team doesn't have the necessary range of experience, it always results in unforeseen costs and expenses. That causes friction with your suppliers and partners on the path to market.

That happened to our client ModGarden, a Toronto-based IoT self-managing organic farm for the home. The founder Aamar Khwaja came to Design 1st for product development and hit some roadblocks as funding stalled. Together we worked with Aamar to help him defer the full development costs and produce a world-class working prototype to be used to drum up both investment and more customers.

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Tiny Farm


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