How to get started developing IoT hardware devices.

The opportunities for smart, connected hardware products are enormous. So are the product development challenges.

50 Billion IoT devices by 2020, and some of them need to be yours.


Video: The challenges of IoT product development

Real World IoT Product Development Case Studies

Learn how our predictable four-step development process delivers IoT devices to market.

Choosing the right IoT development team is crucial for success

You work directly with our senior product development team from the beginning.

We have successfully developed connected products since 1996, and have learned how to handle its particular challenges. This includes how to connect hardware devices to a range of wireless protocols. From RFID in the late 90’s to SigFox, LoRa, BLE, NFC and LTE in past couple years.

Our team includes a broad array of experts under one roof including embedded software, RF, electronics, industrial and mechanical engineering plus a senior leadership team in each discipline.


Peter - VP Electronics

James Henderson - VP Design

James - VP Product Design

Matt Bailey - VP Product Engineering

Matt - VP Engineering

Dave Ingram - VP Production Setup

Dave - VP Manufacturing

Complex IoT Technology Stack Creates Challenges

Companies are aware that IoT development is difficult, but most underestimate how difficult.

The development projects for even the simplest IoT products must integrate technical elements and effectively coordinate the activities of experts from many disciplines across multiple organizations.

There are also new challenges posed by system testing, security, maintenance, support, warranty, regulatory compliance, data governance, and user privacy—IoT development faces unique obstacles in all these areas.
No wonder the risks of delays, cost overruns, and overall failures are so great.

To help companies understand the complexity of IoT device development, we created the IoT technology stack diagram below. It shows IoT devices are made up of multiple technology layers including, the physical hardware device, IoT cloud platform, embedded software, network communication protocols, and security.

Where to Start: Criteria for Developing IoT Devices

Mistakes early on in IoT hardware development can cast a long shadow during production.

Experience and effective project leadership are crucial for success.

That is where Design 1st can help. We have successfully developed connected products for over 22 years (since 1996), and know how to embrace the ever-changing nature of wireless standards, protocols and IoT platforms. This includes developing products during the rise of RFID technology in the late 1990's to SigFox, LTE-M, LoRa and BLE today.

Plus our team includes a broad array of experts, with specialties in embedded systems, firmware, RF, industrial design, mechanical engineering and manufacturing support. This means you get access to a wealth of talent — all the skillsets you need to get to market fast.

So, whether you are a hardware startup looking support, or a software company looking to launch a hardware-enabled SaaS service we can help.

Why are we the right IoT development partner for you?

We deliver predictable IoT product development results every time.

  • We have the leadership skills to effectively coordinate multiple supplier relationships including radio selection and sensors
  • We use a proven product development process that captures the needs of users and supports your business model.
  • Our systems design expertise can help you architect your overall solution.
  • Our design and development capabilities stretch across the complete IoT technology stack.
  • We have the knowledge necessary to design for the regulatory requirements in the medical device and other industries.
  • Our experience ensures a smooth transition to hardware production, as well as careful management of cloud infrastructure setup and operation.
  • Hardware business models are changing and time to market is more critical then ever before - our development speed can be your competitive advantage
product development process

Spotlight on the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Connected IoT technology combined with machine learning is creating new opportunities for medical devices

Smart, connected devices promise to enable better patient care and new efficiencies in healthcare delivery.

Design 1st has been developing connected medical devices for over a decade.

We understand the unique regulatory, privacy, and security requirements related to IoMT.

New IoMT solutions have many applications:

  • Remote healthcare, such as the March Telehealth solution
  • Vitals monitoring (temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, glucose, etc.)
  • Medication tracking
  • Movement, location, and workout tracking
  • Implant and wearable device monitoring (pacemakers, hearing aids, etc.)

They also take many innovative forms:

  • Ingestible pill sensors
  • Infant breathing monitors (SIDS)
  • Living space monitors
  • Other consumer devices, such as connected scales

Take the next step today

Schedule a free 30min Q&A consultation with our senior team

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We help business teams develop physical product ideas into working products.
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Suggested Information

  • Is product partially designed already?
  • Is there a prototype model available?
  • Is this an existing product re-design or cost reduction?
  • Does the new product have wireless radio, connect to the internet? to smartphone? other?
  • Does product require more documentation for regulatory certifications, medical certifications?
  • Is your company new to hardgoods development?
  • Product challenges, risks, need for early research on difficult to figure out features?
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