Fundamental challenges in developing Internet of Things applications for engineers and product designers

DS 87-5 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 5: Design for X, Design to X, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Heinis, Timon; Gomes Martinho, Carlos; Meboldt, Mirko
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: ETH Zurich, Institute of Design, Materials, and Fabrication, Switzerland; 2: ETH Zurich, Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, Switzerland
Section: Design for X, Design to X
Page(s): 279-288
ISBN: 978-1-904670-93-3
ISSN: 2220-4342


Decreasing cost for computing power, connectivity and electronics arouse potential for a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) applications but the development of value-adding IoT applications evolves still relatively slowly. To foster their realisation, IoT application development must be approached holistically. The identification of development challenges is a necessary groundwork for a holistic design methodology. This paper presents the development of an IoT application based on an existing mechatronic product as case study and derives challenges faced by developers with an engineering design background. An IoT add-on device is integrated into a mechatronic system. The use of actuators can be monitored in real-time. The identified challenges relate to the identification of added value, making of design decisions, understanding the target physical object, keeping iteration cycles equally short and learning of new skills. The identified challenges inhibit the realisation of IoT applications and must be addressed to foster IoT applications in industry. In future, methods to identify value-adding IoT applications and tools to efficiently realise such applications must be developed.

Keywords: Design for X (DfX), Digital / Digitised engineering value chains, Innovation, Internet of Things, Case study


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