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Blog

How to Make Hardware Less... Hard

December 21, 2017

 

As I mentioned in my last post, LooUQ is adding hardware products to our lineup.  This has been both exciting and challenging. 

 

Our first offering is a LTE Cat-M1 cellular modem for the Verizon network in North America; this is the LooUQ iotQc CTA-LTEM1. iotQc is our new brand for the communications products we are working on. To complement the LTE modem and future iotQc communications products, LooUQ will also be selling a breakout board to make it easy to include the modem in your breadboard projects; this is our HA-Breakout product. LooUQ is already designing additional "Host Adapters" to make it easy to connect to popular development boards. 

 

If you have a particular development board you would like to have us create a "host adapter" for, send us an email or post a comment with your suggestion.

 

Why would a software company like LooUQ start building IoT hardware?

 

By developing our iotQc line of communications and host adapters I feel that LooUQ can better predict and build tight interoperability between hardware and software into our platform.  I believe that the current collection of readily available, open-hardware development boards creates an opportunity rapidly create scalable IoT applications.  But, the heart of IoT is communications and that is what iotQc is set to deliver.

 

To better service LooUQ's market focus on smart cities, energy and agriculture we needed a robust ability to reach out.  Our LTE modem enables that, along with iotQi existing support for LoRa.

 

How did LooUQ extend into IoT hardware?

 

To start, a couple of the LooUQ staff members had hardware and electronics experience.  If your starting up a hardware project, you don't need to be an expert in all things hardware; but I believe it essential that you have someone with electronics experience on your team.

 

If you are experienced in software products or professional services you may be closer than you think.  One the challenges for many organizations starting to build a product is understanding component costs and the various fixed and variable costs that are part of your final deliverable.

 

Your turn.

 

With some core product knowledge you can leverage the "gig" economy and build-out a physical product economically.  Your costs, will be a direct reflection on how many tasks in the product development process your team can accomplish without outside help, or tasks that you can perform with outside review.  Hiring an expert to review something is less expensive than hiring that expert to do the work... provided you have the ability to get it reasonably correct.

 

One resource I would recommend is Predicable Designs. John at Predicable has a deep understanding of electronics and building "electronic things".  He also writes an extremely readable blog.  To get a quick primer on the process of what it takes to build a new electronic hardware product, download John's guide from the link below.

 

15 Steps to Develop Your New Electronic Hardware Product

  • Review John's guide.

  • Think about what you and your team can accomplish for yourselves and where you need outside help. 

  • Then formulate your plan.

 

As your design takes shape, another challenge you will likely face is the intricacies of designing of a printed circuit board.  This is a specialty all its own and one resource I can confidently recommend is DipTrace PCB Design service.  In addition to their excellent (and reasonably priced) DipTrace schematic and PCB design software, DipTrace offers this service and lets you easily outsource you physical board design to individuals well practiced in this essential area of building an electronic device.

 

Of course once your hardware is developed, if you are building an IoT device consider how LooUQ can help you build robust and secure applications quickly and allow you bring your IoT application to market more quickly without up-front infrastructure costs and with a subscription pricing model that grows only as your revenues grow with our iotQi framework.

 

Thanks for taking a look at LooUQ,

Greg

 

 

 

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