The Growth of Smart Home Products
Consumer products aren’t what they used be. With more products becoming, connected, or “smart” consumers replacing products look for the smart version. Manufacturers, responding to this growing market demand, implement rapid innovation cycles to deliver home and lifestyle devices that offer more functionality, higher reliability and are easier to use.
Designing smart devices instead of “dumb” products involves more complexity than traditional processes (such as machining, forming, joining and mechanical assembly). Smart products include data-driven, software-intensive cyber physical systems supported by step-changing technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT). Fundamentally, this makes a smart home product qualitatively different than previous product generations and far more involved to develop. Plus, smart product development requires the use of advanced digital tools and methods, such as Model-based Systems Engineering (MBSE), as well as the integration of multiple engineering disciplines.
Rapid Innovation of Smart Products Requires Close Collaboration
For their part, consumers not only have grown used to the introduction of successive waves of new and improved smart products, but they now expect them. If manufacturers think they’re going to differentiate their product offering based mainly on affordability, they may be putting their businesses at significant risk.
Rapid innovation cycles, with an eye toward trend-setting functionality, are key, according to Dassault Systemes’ Kunal Potdar, Industry Solution Experience Senior Manager. “To succeed in this highly competitive market, manufacturers must undertake major product redesigns regularly, starting at the conceptual stage, otherwise they will be left behind,” he said.
“To succeed in this highly competitive market, manufacturers must undertake major product redesigns regularly, starting at the conceptual stage, otherwise they will be left behind.”Kunal Potdar,Industry Solution Experience Senior Manager
Ensuring the product’s overall performance and reliability typically falls to the systems engineer. The electronics engineer usually has the responsibility for validating product specifications, selecting the appropriate electronic components for their compatibility with the rest of the product, and making sure the design complies with relevant industry standards. Among the software engineer’s responsibilities is ensuring that the product is fully functional and the software is able to control all functions.
The more functionality users demand, the more engineering and technical specialists involved in defining the product. Large product teams introduce yet another challenge: how to ensure close collaboration during the development process..
“Information must be shared across all of the key disciplines, and the collaboration must be seamless,” Potdar said. “Our business and innovation platform provides organizations with a holistic, real-time view of all product development plus the related business activity and ecosystem.”
The Matter Industry Standard for Smart Home Products
The data generated by smart products could be vulnerable to certain cyber theft unless devices are designed and built to meet certain standards. Ensuring security, becomes a major requirement for smart devices—minimizing the risk they could be hacked.
A new Smart Home standard called Matter may offer the solution to security and interoperability issues across products regardless of the brand. Using the Matter standard companies now have the ability to design products that can connect to a competitor’s product. This new global, open-source standard, allows interoperability among devices. Matter-compliant smart home products provide users seamless and secure control of home devices via the platform of their choice, Potdar said.
The Matter certification program officially launched last fall. Since then, more than 190 hardware and software products have received certification or are in the process of being verified, according to the Connectivity Standard Alliance (CSA) website.
Software and hardware components used in smart devices help define the extent to which their security is sufficiently robust and adhering to Matter standards is the ticket, Potdar said. “Every team member who has anything to do with the product has got to make sure that what they’re doing conforms to the highest standard for quality and security,” he said.
For those setting up a smart home or purchasing smart home devices, this industry-unifying standard changes the game. Consumers can pick and choose products from different manufacturers. Plus, consumers have more peace of mind that products will provide reliable, secure connectivity and that devices from different brands (for example Amazon and Google) will work together seamlessly, (CSA website).
Model-based Systems Engineering via a Business Innovation Platform
Applying an platform-based, MBSE approach simplifies the complexity of developing smart consumer devices that comply with Matter standards. Find out the details In Part II of this blog post. Using a home robot as an example, learn how manufacturers can implement a business and innovation platform that supports a unified, transparent product development process across disciplines..