Your Strategic Partner for Smart Product Design and Development
At OST, we help product and medical device companies design, build, and manage smart, connected products and the infrastructure to support them.
From developing strategic market insights to ensuring edge device connectivity, OST delivers effective solutions for industry-leading smart products. With our deep expertise in all the competencies for successful smart product development and launch, you can expect OST to work alongside you and your team from inception to post-launch support.
We can come in at any stage of the product development process to guide or augment your team with our expertise in these areas:
- Product Viability and Development Strategy
- IoT and Cloud Architecture
- Data Analytics
- User Experience (UX) Design and Development
With OST, you can go beyond just creating a connected product. We’ll help you connect with your customers in meaningful ways that distinguish you from competitors, drive new revenue, and provide data-driven insights that will fuel future innovation.
Think big. Start small. Move fast.
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A Product Company’s Guide to Launching a Smart Product
From managing and sourcing suppliers to machines and logistics, you have plenty of experience making products. Now it’s time to turn those products into ones that generate data to improve your business.
In this guide, you will discover tips from OST to connect the previously disconnected and create a world of opportunity for your business. We are here to share our experience, some possible pitfalls, and how to get setup for success.
Common Challenges in Smart Product Design and Development
When making products “smart” and connected, most organizations underestimate the work involved, and they encounter seemingly insurmountable hurdles at different phases of the product design and development process. We’ve repeatedly seen our clients struggle with challenges like the ones below before reorienting their approach, aligning stakeholders, and accelerating product development.
Rising Project Costs and Missed Deadlines
When costs start to rise and deadlines start to get missed, you’re likely experiencing one of the first signs that your product development project is starting to fall off the rails. Creating fully integrated experiences with your connected product is incredibly complex work. It requires diverse skillsets, alignment across teams, conscientious project management to create and adhere to a product development roadmap, and much more.
Rising budgets and missed deadlines are symptoms of underlying problems that you, your team, and your vendors may be facing. Most of the time, companies don’t need a bigger budget to build a smart product; instead, the project stalls as teams discover that there are more steps involved in successfully creating a connectd product. And for some of those crucial components of the smart product development process, your team may not have the necessary skills to fully execute the product design, development, and launch.
A Fundamental Skills Gap
One of the reasons product development timelines and budgets are so often underestimated is that businesses don’t know what they don’t know. As your team works through the smart product design process, they will likely encounter unforeseen skill and knowledge gaps. Overcoming this challenge typically requires professional development, hiring new talent, or contracting with an outside vendor for those specific needs.
Successful connected product development requires experts in:
- Program and Product Management
- Scrum Master
- Hardware Design
- Firmware Development
- Industrial Design
- Mobile and Voice Development
- Cloud Architecture
- Data Analytics
- And More
Unfortunately, niche vendors for these types of services can only deliver part of the puzzle. They’ll provide you with what you ask for—but that isn’t always what you need. Niche vendors may also lack a wider understanding of the project as a whole, how it fits into your business model, or even your industry.
This is one reason why so many product and medical device manufacturers work with OST. Our deep expertise aligns across every step of connected product development, from ideation and market research all the way through support and end-of-life product management. Plus, our SAFe methodology keeps teams organized, efficient, and working toward the same goals.
Making the Product-to-Platform Shift
It used to be the case that businesses would create a product, consumers would buy that product, and that was essentially the whole story. But traditional business models and product lifecycles are losing relevance, and they are quickly becoming a liability in the face of shifting consumer expectations about connectivity and digital experiences.
To successfully create smart products, connect with consumers, and remain profitable, there’s more to the story now. You need a platform that connects your products, your consumers, their devices, your teams, and all the data going in every direction. You need to pull meaningful, actionable insights from that data to drive new innovation. And you need to maintain that platform to continue providing a top-tier experience. It needs to be extendable for future product releases, security fixes, and new features.
A connected product isn’t simply a new product that you’re offering. It requires fundamental shifts in your business model, product lifecycles, operations, team composition, and much more.
With OST, you gain a strategic partner who can help you navigate the changes required to successfully make these shifts both internally and externally. We’ve done this many times before. We can help you plan for the journey, get past the pitfalls along the way, and keep moving forward.
We’ll get you there.
Failures in Adoption or Commercial Success
In some cases, businesses invest vast amounts of time, energy, and budget to get a connected product developed only to have it fail in some way. The two primary issues that businesses face are related to adoption and commercial success. Consumers aren’t interested in the product, or they don’t keep using it.
Another problem businesses face is one of scale: their platform can’t handle the number of devices that they sell, and they have to go back to the earliest stages of product development to rebuild their foundational architecture on a new platform.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “fail fast,” and there is a kernel of truth in that. Instead of failing fast, though, you should fail early. One of the primary reasons smart products fail is that developers get ahead of themselves. They set off on a journey to see if they can create a connected product, but they skip the crucial first step of asking if they should create a connected product.
At OST, we help teams step back to see the bigger picture. We can help you ask the right questions early on so you can move forward in a strategic, intentional way. And our SAFe approach means that we will work alongside your team on lower-risk projects to make meaningful strides forward toward your final goal: getting a viable, functioning connected product to market that consumers are excited about and that solves for a real need that they have.
While this may be the first connected product you’re building, we’ve helped global manufacturers and businesses successfully create and launch dozens of products. At OST, we can help you avoid the biggest pitfalls and overcome challenges just like the ones outlined above.
Smart Product Design Process Overview
Traditional product design processes are not well suited to designing smart products. Below, we outline the most important steps for creating your connected product and how OST can help you succeed along the way.
Product Viability and Development Strategy
Have you considered the ways that launching a connected product will fundamentally change your business? A connected device can involve everything from your organizational structure and processes to revenue streams and infrastructure. We work with companies to determine consumer interest and the core value of your product. Then, we develop a strategy for your product’s success with customers and its long-term success within your organization.
User Experience Design and Development
Every great product begins with an understanding of its users. We can help your team take an in-depth look at your customer’s journey, including their motivators and inhibitors to truly understand how your product creates value for them. Then, we use this work to support your strategy and create a delightful experience for end users that is consistent across multiple points of interaction, including physical, mobile, web, and voice.
IoT Cloud Architecture
To achieve your vision for UX, we can help your team set a solid foundation of technologies that moves your strategy forward. We build data processing architectures that ingest, process, and store large, complex data sets at a low cost and at scale. These architectures allow your brand to create industry-leading digital experiences and insights.
At the heart of a successful connected product is an effective data analytics strategy. We leverage the data generated by your product to create insights that are useful to both end users and your organization. These insights can drive new product features, new innovation, and new revenue streams.
“OST’s work to develop the cloud infrastructure, data analytics, and systems architecture for Live OS has been outstanding. Not only have they helped us to provide our customers with robust, data-driven insights, but they did so in a manner that combined the highest standards for information security with a deep respect for end-user privacy.”
Sr. Program Manager for Live OS
Not Sure Where to Start With Smart and Connected Products?
OST’s free digital maturity assessment will provide a deeper understanding of your capabilities and concrete suggestions for next steps.
Go Beyond IoT Product Development With OST
Experience is the center of today’s digital universe. Connected products have revolutionized the experience for consumers, and that shift has raised the bar for medical device manufacturers and businesses of every kind. To stay relevant and compete, your team needs to reorient your business practices to meet these new needs and expectations. That requires a deep understanding of customers and alignment across teams to deliver a meaningful experience to those customers.
To accelerate business growth, it’s not enough to simply offer a smart product. It’s not enough to have an app. You need to think bigger and connect with your customers in meaningful ways by creating meaningful experiences.
At OST, we are uniquely qualified to help you overcome the challenges slowing down and blocking your success in this new, experience-driven digital landscape. And that goes beyond customer research, connecting devices, and designing an app. It can involve rethinking your business strategy, using data to gain actionable insights about your customers (and how they’re using your products), freeing up your internal team to focus on innovation, and more.
Get Started With OST Today!
At OST, our unique expertise in strategy, design, application development, and technical services helps companies reorient their focus onto consumers, align stakeholders across departments, and leverage technology to gain a competitive advantage. Our team of connected product design and development experts is ready to help you move forward and start driving new revenue. Call (616) 574-3500 or complete a simple form on this page. We’ll get back to you right away!
Where Do You Begin?
We can jump in at the beginning, or anywhere along the journey.
Let’s discuss how connected products can have the biggest impact your business.