Even in these early days of IoT development, there are already a number of different form factors available in the market. Look at the differences between Nest Cams, Ecobee4 Thermostats, Philips Hue lighting, Fitbit smart watches, and Ring doorbells.
There are four main challenges to keep in mind when choosing a form factor for your IoT device:
- Lightweight: Many IoT products are consumer-focused and your users don’t want to adopt something bulky and heavy.
- Miniaturized: In many cases, IoT devices are carried everywhere. You want it to be unnoticeable, which means the form factor should be as small as possible.
- Ergonomic: If you're building a wearable device, it needs to be comfortable for the user.
- Ruggedized: Some products are built to operate in extreme conditions. If you expect your device to be abused, it needs a form factor that can hold up for the use case.
At Certeza we recommend two best practices for overcoming these challenges - streamlining MCAD/ECAD collaboration and taking advantage of multiple board designs:
- Mechanical and electrical engineers should be best friends when working on an IoT product. Whenever you change something on the electrical side it impacts mechanical design, so you need to maintain alignment at every step.
- Traditional, horizontal PCBs are not well-suited for miniaturized, ergonomic IoT products. If you take advantage of multiple board designs, you can overcome your form factor challenges.
Our approach is to build smaller modules and stack them together to reduce the overall horizontal footprint.