It’s no secret that prototyping is a key step to model, observe, and analyze a product ahead of deployment. In IoT development, prototypes are especially important for manufacturers, product developers and designers to test the functionality of their system and get early feedback from buyers and partners. But while prototyping helps ensure taking the best possible product to market, it’s an expensive and time-consuming process.

Virtual prototyping changes the equation with the ability to quickly and easily test and simulate interactions across an entire IoT system.

Virtual IoT prototypes decoded

At the most basic level, a virtual IoT prototype is a simulation of a connected IoT system. Picture this: a model of a connected truck, web dashboard, cloud and gateway all displayed on a virtual interface.

Traditionally, if you wanted to verify the functionality of a product’s hardware, software, or firmware, you would need to first define the product spec, find the right supplier, communicate your exact needs with them, and order a prototype that would take time and money just to get to you, not to mention to begin testing it.

In the example of the connected truck, you can instantly see how the system will function. Like whether a gas sensor placed inside the vehicle can detect harmful gases, transmit the data to the cloud, send an emergency app alert to the driver and fleet manager and log the incident for review.

All of this simulation can be done with nothing more than a product concept. That means saving time and money without the need of a lab to test the hardware against actual chemical gases or a professionally developed app to test the connection between the device and desktop.

The benefits of simulation for your products

Having the ability to see a system in action, directly and immediately, without writing a single line of code, would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Here are just a few of the benefits for your development process:

1. Sell your concept to stakeholders – A live prototype is the easiest way to engage stakeholders in a project and get their buy-in. The visual model saves time by telling the story for you.

2. Catch costly mistakes – Visualizing the product flow allows you to spot faulty functionality or missing components early on, reducing the rounds of iteration needed with developers. This tremendously shortens the timeline and cuts costs.

3. Save money by finding loopholes in your logic – Watching how the logic of your system plays out virtually makes it easier to identify scenarios you didn’t address and detect issues in the logic loops. A bug found in the prototype phase costs dramatically less than the design or manufacturing phases, and can be fixed with fewer resources.

4. Understand what’s crucial, and what’s not – Interacting with a model lets you pinpoint which behaviors or features are crucial – and which can be discarded to save time and costs.

5. Provide guidance for developers – Highlight the many required integration points for different developers – hardware, firmware, application and cloud – with a prototype that enables clearer communication between teams.

Most importantly, do it all before investing in any hardware, firmware, or software development. So you can move ahead with development confident in the system’s functionality, while also mitigating risks and costs down the line.

Building a virtual prototype

To create a virtual prototype, you’ll need a platform that enables IoT modeling and simulation, where you can build and define a digital model of your product, app, cloud and gateway units.

That’s why product teams across dozens of industries are turning to the Seebo platform. Inside the platform, companies are using the Seebo Simulator for testing, adapting and validating entire IoT systems. Automatically generated from a user’s IoT Model, virtual prototypes are accelerating innovation for these companies pursuing IoT, and at the same time cutting development costs and reducing time to market.  

Interested in experiencing the simulation first hand? Get a live demo of the Seebo platform to see how your future IoT system virtually comes to life.

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