Feasibility research involves performing a list of pre-design activities and decisions that are critical to officially formulating the final expectation while documenting the design challenges and risks. It is essentially an innovative, brainstorming exercise forming clouds of ideas and rationally determining as to what makes sense in the product under the umbrella of customer expectation, budget and project deadlines. Under feasibility research we offer a suite of services:
Establishing features and functionality
This is a critical decision making process wherein we step in the shoes of the end customer to converge to a rational set of product features and functionality. Several questions are asked:
- What are the core functionality and key selling parameters?
- What are the key performance parameters?
- What key market differentiators can be introduced?
- What side functionalities shall add value without burdening the system with nonessentials?
- How much scalability should we pre-plan for future upgrades, given the pace of changes in market demands?
- How many product variants are feasible under the metrics of costs, size and weight?
- How does the customer expect the human-machine interface flow considering ergonomics, ease of use and learning curve?
- Challenge: To evaluate the best compatible and lowest power RTOS for a specific low power microcontroller among OS-III from Micrium, embOS from Segger & SCIOPTA from Scepter.
- Implemented various industry standard benchmarking algorithms for each evaluation parameter using ANSI C.
- Performed thorough analysis of hardware power and timing performance, various latencies, scalability, cost and support.
- Software: IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM 6.10 for standard C code, embOS and OS-III, IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM 6.20 for Sciopta
- Engagement: Offsite, 12 Weeks
- The customer shall benefit by the optimal RTOS choice that shall be used for years to come as a software base of various product families.
Establishing size, weight & form factor
These can make a world of difference in market acceptability of a new product. Many markets behave strangely – contrary to common sense notions. For example, certain products might be accepted well only if they're bigger, even though a portable alternative is available for the same purpose. Indeed, different customer segments think differently and its wisdom at its best not to ignore even those customer wishes that are mumbled softly.
Evaluation of new, emerging technologies
We leverage our palette of expertise and experience in a number of industry verticals to propose and evaluate emerging technologies for the suitability to the application in subject and the potential to create an early winning value differentiator.
Establishing technical specifications
Technical specifications are researched and documented from various perspectives including mechanical construction, environmental tolerance, ingress protection, electrical requirements, accuracy and errors, safety and immunity requirements, EMC requirements etc. Hard requirements necessitated by statutory standards are differentiated from soft requirements for efficient trade-off in future.
Comparison of technologies and platforms
Competing technologies and platforms are compared to establish the most optimal choice for the problem on hand. Technologies range from wireless communications to real time operating systems to microprocessors and FPGAs. Technologies are compared in various aspects including power, speed, cost, licensing terms, safety certifications (e.g. SIL) vendor support, community support, performance track record and availability of associated tools.
Identifying innovative and patentable ideas and existing patents that affect design
Relevant patents are researched and identified and prospective patentable features are identified.
Identifying technology Challenges and Risks and introducing backup alternatives
Analyzing what's already out there and succeeding in the market
This is the final step and once done, all earlier analysis performed independently and without bias can be re-thought from the perspective of existing competition.
Establishing preliminary product sketches and block diagram
A picture is worth a 1000 words and hence these are important to effectively communicate ideas and visualize the system from an engineering perspective. Project jargons and associated terminologies are well established at this time for effective communication between team members and with the customer.
Identifying standards, Certifications and statutory Approvals such as type testing
Analyzing NRE (non-recurring engineering) Cost and Manufacturing Cost
Ballpark (+/- 30%) costs are evaluated based on preliminary discussions with prospective parts suppliers.
Analyzing and establishing various ball park milestones such as feasibility study end, start design, first prototypes, golden models, type approval, pilot batch production and testing, production start and production ramp-up.
Detailing feasibility research in a document and compiling results in an aesthetically pleasing audio-video presentation.