Building Blocks of IoT Design
Pete Nanni, Lead RF Engineer and Joe Kreidler, Director of Electrical and Software Engineering at Optimal Design are quoted in this month’s Digital Engineering Magazine. In an article entitled, Building Blocks of IoT Design focusing on the design choices that have to be made by engineers creating IoT products, Pete explains why having in house RF engineers is vital while Joe explains why wearables require a custom approach to achieve the needed user experience.
Quotes are as follows:
Specific technical challenges mandate custom development, such as when a systems form factor requires additional flexibility, as pointed out by Joe Kreidler, director of electrical and software engineering at Optimal Design, an Illinois-based product development and IoT solutions firm. “Optimal Design has found this [custom development] to be particularly the case with wearables. Even though a module may be a simpler solution from a board design and firmware perspective, a module may not be able to bend or be shaped around the curve of the body. In these cases, utilizing discrete components allows us to lay out the electronics to obtain the optimal size and shape necessary for the desired user experience.”
“To build a successful product with embedded radios, RF simulation is needed from the beginning of the project,” says Pete Nanni, lead RF engineer at Optimal Design. “The complete RF system consists of the module, printed circuit board and housing. An engineer cannot simply use data sheet performance specifications and radiation patterns because these patterns are measured in free space.
“When a module is built into a system, the radiation pattern changes, so simulation is key to optimizing RF performance. Many IoT devices have multiple radios, such as a Bluetooth Low Energy radio and a cellular radio,” Nanni adds. “Off-the-shelf modules can be used, but the reference designs do not provide information about the interaction of the modules. An in-house RF team needs to perform simulations to understand how the radiation patterns are impacted by the multiple radios.”