IoT and AR: A New Way to Look at Product Design

Written by: Cat McClintock

Being a product engineer in 2018 can feel like standing in the crosshairs between the past and the future of design. Your team’s design and development practices are tried and true, but you can’t afford to ignore the new technologies now changing the face of design.

Smart, connected products—the “T” in the Internet of Things (IoT)—grow more prevalent by the day. North of 20 billion products will be connected by 2020, and the impact of IoT on the global economy could hit $6.2 trillion by 2025[1].

Meanwhile, augmented Reality (AR) isn’t just a novelty anymore. AR is fast becoming a technology mainstay that powers decisions touching and transforming every stage of the product value chain.

IoT and AR bring change--and competitive advantage

For companies that incorporate both IoT and AR into their product value chains, these fast-growing technologies can mean a compelling competitive advantage. And for design teams like yours, that means change:  In short, product design and development practices must evolve to keep pace.

Big Change #1: Data will replace design assumptions with real-world facts

Smart, connected products will provide a continual stream of data to inform your team’s design decisions. Working with more product-generated, hard data (and fewer assumptions) will bring you a competitive edge throughout the product lifecycle. 

Imagine collecting precise data from sensor-enabled components during early prototyping and testing.  Or using real-world data from your products in the field to inform your next-generation of product design.

With all this information, which often wasn’t available in the past, your team can be creating products that are more marketable, robust, and, ultimately, more successful.

Big Change #2: Visualization just got a whole lot easier

AR makes a powerful partner to smart, connected product design. As familiar with advanced digital design capabilities as your team probably is, designing on a screen has traditionally meant that a computer monitor stood between designers and the real world. 

AR breaks down that barrier. You can superimpose your design at scale on the physical world, where it’s intended to be used. This creates more visually engaging AR experiences of your design, resulting in more effective design reviews.

AR scene

Smart, connected product design and AR help you better understand and design for how products function in the real world.

Time for a change: Here’s how to get started

Stepping into the convergence between smart, connected products and AR-assisted design and development can be simpler than you think. If you’re ready to take advantage of these exciting new technologies in your own team’s product development and design processes, download the new Smart, Connected Product Design infographic.  

Tags: Augmented Reality CAD Industrial Internet of Things

About the Author

Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.