Effective product development involves coordinating a large number of tasks in complex relationships, managing risk, and dealing with the unexpected. Development teams are typically multi-disciplinary, including mechanical design, electronics design, software development (embedded, desktop, mobile and cloud), testing, and manufacturing, each with its own unique processes and workflows.
Regulatory requirements must be met before a product can be placed for sale, including meeting electrical emission and compliance regulations, safety related requirements that may impose specific product requirements or following specific development processes, and environmental requirements affecting component selection and recycling of packaging and eventually the product itself. Managing regulatory requirements and demonstrating compliance is a critical part of the development process.
Software development today commonly includes a wide variety of open-source software components, such as operating systems, device drivers, database systems, data encryption, and network communication stacks. Each software component is licensed by its creator, and imposing specific requirements on use. In addition, use of encryption technologies is usually subject to national security regulations. Managing this complex interrelationship of requirements requires careful attention to ensure the final software application will be free of undesired encumbrances and can be distributed legally.
Dale has considerable expertise leading engineering development and new product introduction, including
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
- New Product Introduction (NPI)
- Embedded System Development
- Cloud Computing
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Development of a high-tech product can be a complex undertaking, involving a complex relationship of simultaneous tasks. Dale has amassed considerable experience in this area, finding the right balance between attention to detail and time to market, without increasing risk or sacrificing quality.
PLM and NPI
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) means consciously managing a product from concept through design, manufacturing and sales, product management, continuous engineering to correct found defects and add new features, and eventually terminate the product and support. PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems, and provides trust-able and transparent design and manufacturing data.
New Product Introduction (NPI) is that portion of PLM that is involved with introducing a product to market. Traditionally referring to product that is manufactured, and involving such areas as Design for Manufacturability, Pilot Production, and Verification and Validation testing, NPI is now understood to include other aspects of product release including creating marketing and sales materials, managing sales campaigns and events, eCommerce and service subscription processes, etc.
Embedded System Development
An Embedded System is a computing device that the user doesn’t really know or care is a computing device, such as a smart phone or tablet device, an HVAC monitoring and control system or a GPS-based vehicle navigation system. Developing an embedded system often involves a highly technical cross-functional team, involving product conceptualization and user experience (UX), low-power analog, digital and RF electronics design and regulatory compliance testing, and complex embedded firmware with a unix-like operating system and variety of network protocols.
Cloud Computing just means “not on my computer”. If it happens in the cloud, it’s happening on a computer somewhere, just not on yours. A web site is “in the cloud”, but is still just software running on a computing system somewhere. The technologies involved vary wildly depending on the application and the implementation strategy, but often involves a mix of unix system administration, web application development and database design and administration.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a nice marketing story with devices everywhere communicating with cloud-based services that together make the world a better place. However the success of products will depend on solving real problems for real people. Sensors will need to function in real-world conditions involving extremes in temperature, moisture and mechanical stress. The real world also has varying degrees of fault-tolerance and criticality (how likely a failure is, and what is the effort of the failure).