This article series is based on the findings of a VDC Research report, “Developing for Success in Consumer Electronics.”
Consumer electronics manufacturers are facing new hurdles in getting their products out to market and into the hands of customers. More than ever, consumers are expecting rapidly advancing functionality and innovative new applications to be released quickly and frequently. At the same time, they also want these products to be affordable and eminently functional.
This puts multilateral pressure on both developers and manufacturers, who must continually innovate, often with a lean staff, to deliver better products all while keeping the price point appealing to the end-consumer.
A recent report by VDC Research, highlights a few methods to improve the existing development lifecycle to meet these challenges. When used in concert, these approaches can increase the likelihood of success with consumer electronics development projects.
Development Platforms and Plans
For starters, using a modern product development tool facilitates engagement between stakeholders. This makes key development items readily available to those who need access to the information to provide timely feedback.
Rights management tools also support multiple teams with different core competencies, enabling more seamless communication and improving collaboration between groups working on different aspects of a project. This is a key step for hitting the many goals along the path to market for new products.
Next, a comprehensive testing plan ensures quality at key junctures throughout the development process and prevents costly, late-stage bug discoveries from derailing a project or adding time to already tight product cycle timelines. VDC Research says such a testing plan should tie in to the features tracked in the organization’s requirements management tool to enable quality assurance teams to verify the system functions as intended.
Using different test-tool types is also recommended to ensure a variety of bugs and security vulnerabilities are properly addressed. The report suggests these tests be carried out early and often, to catch problems before they become project-delaying disasters.
Lastly, VDC Research advises consumer electronics companies to improve the management of software supply chains, as software content needs are accelerating more rapidly than developers can keep pace with through internal coding alone. The combination of tight deadlines and limited team resources means, in order to hit all of the targets, code generation must be streamlined and sometimes come from sources beyond an organization’s own in-house coders.
Using more code generated by modeling tools, re-used from other projects, or acquired from third-party sources can help companies improve efficiency and meet expanding software requirements.
To avoid adding liability, security or vulnerability issues along the way, teams must carefully manage the process and use automated test and composition analysis tools to track code’s origin and ensure it meets all compliance mandates.
It’s not impossible to improve efficiency while also meeting evolving consumer demands in the consumer electronics space. With a few process tweaks, companies can take some of the pressure off development teams and ensure the finished product is delivered on time, on budget, and as problem-free as possible.