Launching an IoT Product with Dimension Four and Memfault
April 27, 2022
Complexity of the I in IoT
Whether the IoT project is designing a sensor, smart home appliance, asset tracker, or otherwise, the journey is similar.
The first step is to assemble the right talent to build the device hardware, firmware and the rest of the system to perform the function. Next, you typically will pick a device architecture (MCU, OS, etc.) suitable for the project requirements. With these decisions made, you set out and begin implementing the application.
The question is – what must you build from scratch, and what exists that you can integrate? There are two significant areas of an IoT application that you should consider leveraging great solutions already available:
- Data communication between the device and the mobile app and/or the cloud
- Remote monitoring and diagnostics infrastructure for support and engineering
Your design likely requires data communication through a connection to a mobile device and/or in the cloud to send and receive information or execute commands. To implement this:
- You must decide between various data description languages, transports, protocols, connectivity types, and then a cloud backend to receive the data, transform it and present it to the frontend.
- You need to create a frontend cloud application with mobile or web UI.
In diagnostics, your support and engineering teams will need a plan on how to manage the reliability and quality of your device, troubleshoot problems, and update software as features improve. Effectively, you need a way to connect your development team to your operational environment, enabling observability, debugging, and firmware deployment via a strong feedback loop.
To implement a solution like this, you need to:
- Write code in the device firmware to intelligently and efficiently capture all of the important information at all points of interest where you may need to troubleshoot after the time of an issue.
- Build a cloud application to take all this data and make it available to the support and engineering resources tasked with maintaining the product. This includes ways to visualize the source of the issue, both at an individual and fleet scale.
- Build an update manager that can send the correct firmware update to the desired set of hardware, deliver them to the device, and monitor that updates are successful and are addressing the problems.
To build this solution on your own, you will need to hire new engineers with new skillsets. The hiring and onboarding process, coupled with the many design decisions, will make the original project timeline grow substantially. Once you implement the solution, you will continue to maintain and invest in improvements for the life of the product.
Dimension Four and Memfault
Memfault and Dimension Four help companies eliminate the schedule creep that kills time to market, decrease engineering and overhead costs, and build better-performing products that sell better in the marketplace.
Solving the Data Querying Challenge
Dimension Four solves the challenge of efficiently getting your data to the cloud or mobile application with their IoT-as-a-service offering. At its core is GraphQL, a specification that describes a query language for internet-connected applications that ask an API for the exact data they want. Why does that matter? The Dimension Four GraphQL API is built to meet the requirements of an IoT system for communication both ways between the embedded sensors and the data science and application layer. It is a more efficient way to structure requests and data receipt than using other solutions such as a Rest API.
Solving Observability and Remote Diagnostics
With Memfault, teams are able to observe devices operating in customer environments for any signs of firmware or hardware issues. Memfault gives engineers the information and visualization of device state to determine the problem to inform a fix in firmware and then a FOTA management platform to complete the cycle. Memfault delivers a feature-rich, quick-to-integrate platform with a lightweight, device-side firmware component that collects the data, a cloud-based backend that then reconstructs and analyzes the data, and a cloud-based user interface that visualizes the data and insights for the user to leverage. Why does it matter? With the ability to see and fix issues remotely, you do not rely on customer complaints for issue detection or troubleshooting RMAs for identification allowing you to facilitate improvements intelligently.
Next Steps: Solving your IoT problems
Memfault and Dimension Four have a partnership to deliver our products individually and help solve and scale your IoT challenges together. Our clients use our technology together to solve their data and observability challenges in new and innovative ways, including:
- Optimizing the access to data from devices and sensors for both application and device management
- Delivering products to market faster by leveraging existing technologies, allowing you to focus on your product features
- Maximizing your usage of connectivity and cloud services, resulting in best in class product capabilities
Ready to get started?
Looking for more help? We offer complete IoT solutions via our joint partnership with The New Normal Group, which provides a vast array of services to help you develop IoT products from an initial idea through an entire operational lifecycle. Contact us to learn more.
Head of Business Development, Memfault