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Electrical and Firmware Development Advice That Makes a Difference


Efficient electrical and firmware development is paramount for feeding our ever-increasing reliance on technology. Everywhere you look, devices are getting more intelligent, streamlined, and capable than ever.

The global consumer electronics market is set to reach nearly $990 billion by 2027. The IoT and wearable spaces, in particular, are experiencing substantial growth. The same applies to medical technology, which projections show reaching over $570 billion by 2023.

Investing in new development projects to cash in on our current tech boom is more than valid. But it's not as straightforward of an undertaking as some assume.

Electrical and firmware development is a complex process, and inexperienced companies can sink millions into a project without getting a final product to bring to market.

Whether this is your first development project or you're looking for ways to improve your approach, here are some need-to-know tips from Voler Systems president Walt Maclay.

1. Keep the Lines of Communication Open from Start to Finish

Do you know why so many development projects ultimately fail? While all efforts are unique, there's almost always one glaring issue that is universal: A lack of communication!

Communication is critical, and we're not talking about simply "touching base" with your various teams occasionally. To complete these projects successfully, you must make regular communication the thread that binds everything together. Otherwise, misunderstandings and careless mistakes are bound to happen. That inevitably leads to delays, which balloons your budget and brings you one step closure to failure.

Start this process by creating crystal-clear requirements. Project requirements are your guiding light. They define your product, providing crucial details about its look, functionality, and more. Think of it as your blueprint to success. Your teams can use requirements to set milestones, stay on track, and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Don't create requirements alone. Involve every stakeholder and team member to eliminate any ounce of uncertainty. Then, continue with regular meetings to maintain a single source of truth for your project. It is rare to over-communicate, so make meetings a reoccurring event.

2. Adopt Project Management Best Practices

The quality of your project management strategies can make or break a project. Many moving parts work in tandem to bring an idea to life. You have design teams, engineering teams, marketing professionals, and many other contributors working tirelessly to develop your product.

Who's going to keep everything running like a well-oiled machine? Invest in an experienced project manager who knows how to put best practices to work. That includes writing well-defined project requirements, identifying and mitigating risks, etc. Good project management keeps teams on schedule and within budget.

Don't forget to check out our project management series to learn more ways to complete development projects more efficiently.

3. Keep Your Customer in Mind

Don't forget to consider the voice of your customers when designing your device. Ultimately, the end user's opinion matters more than any designer or engineer. If your product doesn't meet the customer's expectations or needs, why would they buy it?

Market risks are a big deal. There's no shortage of devices from the last two decades that were released with little fanfare or not meeting customer needs. Those products either sank companies entirely or severely damaged their bottom line. Don't let that happen with your next project.

Include your marketing team when writing requirements. Let them pull up a chair and be part of the discussion. Their input is more important than you may realize, and they can actively contribute to your project's success by performing market research to guide your decision-making.

4. Take Time to Write Complete Firmware Requirements

Firmware is one of the most critical aspects of the development project. You can have all the sensors and complex circuitry in the world. But if you don't have well-designed firmware, none of that advanced electrical work will do your customers much good.

Writing firmware requirements is notoriously tricky. Take extra time to develop them correctly. Sketch any display screens. Describe what the device will do and be as specific as possible regarding calculations, inputs, outputs, etc.

5. Identify Technical Risks Early

Technical risks refer to the technology itself. There are always risks in pushing the envelope. It's a trade-off you must balance strategically. Go too far, and you risk making something too complex or not technically feasible. But do too little, and your product could get lost in the mix.

Identify technical risks early. There's nothing worse than realizing that your design is not feasible when you're already deep into working prototypes. Encountering technical issues late in the game can severely eat into your budget and bring progress to a grinding halt.

Technical risks are ever-changing. But efficient project management involves identifying and mitigating them early. Have contingencies for every worst-case scenario, and you can avoid inflating budgets, missed deadlines, and wasted resources.

Turn to Voler Systems

Electrical and firmware development can be a colossal undertaking. However, the rewards are nothing short of inspiring when you do it right. Follow these tips, and you can bring your ideas to life in the most efficient way possible.

Voler Systems is an experienced product design consulting company with over four decades of experience. With a passion for excellence and a deep understanding of the consumer and medical tech industry, we are here to guide you toward success in the competitive market.

Contact us today to discuss your project.

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