IoT consumer stuffs are super interesting right now. The internet of things devices are out there in stores and people buy connected thermostats and lamp bulbs, but that’s not all IOT offers. IOT is much larger than the things you see advertised in stores and in magazines, or the projects that you see on Kickstarter. IOT is an enormous maturing industry with a lot of background knowledge and a lot of background technologies.
I mentioned business and IoT a lot together in the articles because they are really important, but we do not tend to segment the industry and its problems the makers are facing. If there is a business problem in the industry doesn’t mean this is a major problem more important than other problems other segments are facing.
The continuum of ioT makers and hobbyists
Right now we have a continuum of IoT makers around the world. Whether you are somebody who’s building IoT devices with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi in your home or you’re doing something in education or even being a hobbyist, there is not a whole lot of difference between the needs of that person and somebody who is prototyping a solution for a big oil and gas company.
App development and game development are not a business that is only done by hobbyists. Same thing is happening here in IoT and it is important to understand that. There is a perception in the industry that a maker is a person down in his or her basement, always messing around things and trying not to get electrocuted a whole lot, building robots or something and that is a really cool thing, but there again just like IOT in general, there is a larger picture where makers spend this vast continuum of people trying to build stuff to solve the problem.
How PCB manufacturing helped the IoT industry
The guy playing in the workshop at home right now could be tomorrow OEM maker and someday manufacturer. It’s a good thing that there is a lot of support now for small-scale PCB production that just was never there before. PCB making 10 years ago was a big production that nobody wanted to talk to you unless you needed tens or thousands of units. Now there are multiple companies that specialize in very small runs actually for really good prices too. Right now you can order few pieces of PCBs under $30 and receive them in less than a week.
That was never an option before when we were playing with eagle and those complex design software, now everybody who know how to work with a PC can design circuits and PCBs too.
You don’t need to an Electronic Engineer, expert or a big Org.
That was one of the innovations that has unlocked the power in IoT industry. You no longer need to be an engineer or a big organization with big company to get access to the hardware, individual components o, PCBs and design tools and because of that we are seeing a lot of innovation in this field.
This works also for large companies too, because large companies are typically made up of many small departments which are often fighting each other and I can be hard for one group inside the company to get the budget for a massive project. If you want to do some IOT projects, approaching it from a maker standpoint and using those services as the prototype tool will get you there.