The IoT product development journey is long and challenging. It involves taking an IoT product from an idea to a thoroughly tested prototype and detailed design, including a complete bill of material (BoM) and design for manufacturing and assembly. But IoT product lifecycle doesn’t stop there. After a product is launched, and it is taken into use, its battery life, wireless performance, and compatibility with the ecosystem and other devices are put into a test every day. The software must be continually improved, tested, and distributed across the installed base throughout the product lifecycle. Finally, products must be decommissioned and recycled without jeopardizing users' private data.
IoT market is intense. Everyone wants to win the customers’ hearts with ever more innovative products. Device makers must accelerate time-to-market while raising the bar for innovation. Developers must determine how to merge embedded software and hardware quickly, creating outstanding products with robust security, superior wireless RF performance, long battery life, and excellent user experience. They must test and certify wireless stacks, ensuring compliancy with the frequently evolving wireless standards, security regulations and ecosystem certifications.
The proliferation of outsourced production services has made IoT product manufacturing easy. Anybody with an innovative idea can hire a manufacturer and scale production globally. However, the ease of contract manufacturing comes with risks such as counterfeiting, over-production, fake components, cloning, and copying. Thus, one of the most critical lifecycle challenges for IoT device makers is, how to protect intellectual property (IP) during outsourced manufacturing?
Distributing the IoT products through the global supply chains to the buyers can take several months. During this time, IoT device makers must consider several critical challenges, including how to preserve the batteries during the long wait in the supply chain, how to eliminate RF radiation during air freight, and how to prevent various tampering attacks.
The lifetime of an IoT device can extend from days to months or years, depending on the application. When a user takes a product into use, all the design choices, software implementation, hardware design, wireless performance, energy efficiency, security capabilities, and compatibility with networks, companion devices, and ecosystems are put to an ultimate test. The device must deliver its user a great experience every day while the device maker must maintain the installed base with fresh software and latest security updates throughout the lifetime.
Disposal of a modern wireless IoT product doesn’t end the device maker’s responsibility. It may still hold user’s private information, which is why the so-called trash can attack is widespread. Device makers must have a plan for how to wipe user information and re-assign a secure key upon the recycling phase.
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