CES Tech Trends Report 2018

The CES 2018 Tech Trends Report is here!  This year’s trends cover everything from digital health to connect fitness equipment.

Click the image below to see the full report.

CES 2018

IoT Tech Expo North America 2017

Attendees of IoT Tech Expo North America 2017 can expect to see literally world-changing inventions, technology and devices designed to advance the quality of life for everyone on the planet. Optimal Design will be there to chat with expo-goers about emerging technologies in the world of wearables, virtual reality, as well as the latest Internet of Things (IoT) trends.

“[The] Internet of Things is still in its infancy, so there are a lot of hurdles yet to overcome, including security, standards and regulations, adoption rates, and monetization,” said Steve Sebree, Optimal Design Business Development Manager “However, I believe we’re starting to reach a tipping point for many of these challenges as IoT becomes more commonplace and companies of all shapes and sizes start to see the long-term value in connected products.”

The IoT affects literally everything on the planet: systems, finance, shipping, human resources, health care and social mechanisms. If it requires a connection, you can bet that the Internet of Things (and its complement, the Industrial Internet of Things/Industry 4.0) is involved.

“Right now, the most potential is in the industrial and medical spaces,” added Joe Kreidler, Director of Electrical and Software Engineering at Optimal Design. “For industrial, IoT brings real cost savings. For medical, IoT improves the quality of care and the experience in the hospital for the patient.”

Expanding on the topic of the Internet of Things, biotech and healthcare as it relates to wearables, Kreidler cited the Optimal Design product CareBand.

“My favorite project is the CareBand wearable for dementia patients. There are two things that excite me about this project,” he said. “First, the engineering that went into designing and building this project is outstanding and seeing the team deliver on such a large challenge is very exciting. Second, I believe this product will help improve the quality of life for dementia patients and provide some peace of mind for the families of these patients. It is extremely exciting and satisfying to work on projects that advance the human experience.”

Optimal Design Business Development Manager J.D. Sims agreed, saying, “CareBand is a wearable for seniors living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The wearable reduces injuries due to dementia-related  wandering and enhances overall quality of life through proactive care insights, resulting in better outcomes. What excites me about CareBand is its focus on solving a real problem in senior care, an industry that is not synonymous with technology.”

Attending the IoT Tech Expo gives the Optimal Design team an opportunity to network with other industry leaders to help shape the focus and direction of our shared future. Possessing an historic understanding of the space and marrying that experience with the vision of what’s possible is a key driver in what the Optimal Design team does (and why).

For Kreidler, security and maturity constitute the biggest challenges for the IoT landscape, saying, “The Internet of Things is lagging in the consumer space because of the lack of maturity in IoT security. Internet of Things security has to provide peace of mind for the user before IoT can really be safe for the consumer to use in their homes.”

Establishing expectations and setting manageable set points along the process helps Sims deliver for Optimal Design clients. “It’s important to set a foundation for a project using our comprehensive Product Requirements Document. Having firm requirements in place at the beginning of a project ensures that all disciplines are aligned and as much risk is mitigated as possible early in the process.”

When you stop by Booth 265 at the IoT Tech Expo, you can expect to see smart home technology at work with the the Regal Beloit Century Connected pool pump, award winning design with Cabela’s Instinct Wingman Decoy and test out the candy scale to watch real-time IoT supply chain logistics in action.

But as exciting as our current offerings are, Optimal Design keeps an eye on the future, always. The nature of progress is expansion, and the soul of the engineer is rooted in creation. Where will the Internet of Things take us as a species?

“I see the most potential in smart cities and autonomous vehicles,” Sims said. “The Internet of Things will give us the ability to create more power efficient cities with safer and faster transportation systems.”

“The most potential I see for the Internet of Things is in biotech, wearables and machine learning, which is also referred to as artificial intelligence,” Sebree said.”I believe these areas will continue to improve and have far-reaching impacts which will be most beneficial to how people live and how businesses operate.”

He added, “The IoT Tech Expo is still young but continues to grow year-over-year. This year we expect the largest and most-attended expo with ground-breaking products and advanced technologies on display. It won’t be long before a new venue will be required to fit the growing number of exhibitors and attendees into one room.”

See you then!

WHAT: The World’s Largest IoT Event Series, the #IoTTechExpo
WHERE: Santa Clara Convention Center, Silicon Valley
WHEN: November 29-30th, 2017
BOOTH: 265

ABOUT OPTIMAL DESIGN: Optimal Design  is a product development firm and strategic consultancy that brings innovative products to organizations seeking new technologies, marketplace expertise, collaborative leadership, and unleashed innovation.  As a leader in development of connected devices and wearables, Optimal Design leverages its industrial design, engineering, and software teams to bring cutting edge IoT solutions to market. They have been featured in Fast Company magazine, Digital Engineering Magazine, and named by the Silicon Review as one of the ten fastest growing Internet of Things (IoT) Companies of 2017. Optimal Design has also been named among the Best Places to Work in Illinois (for both 2016 and 2017). Learn more about their process and products at www.optimaldesignco.com. You may also connect with them on twitter , facebook or LinkedIn .

ABOUT IoT Tech Expo: The World’s Largest IoT Event Series, IoT Tech Expo brings together key industries from across America for two days of top level content and discussion. Introducing and exploring the latest innovations within the Internet of Things and covering Manufacturing, Transport, Health, Logistics, Government, Energy and Automotive is held over three co-located events. The conference features fifteen conference tracks, over three hundred speakers and over three hundred exhibitors. In attendance are nine thousand professionals, representing IT decision makers, developers & makers, OEMs, government and council officials, automotive executives, operators, technology providers, investors, venture capitalists and many more. For complete information, including schedules and registration, visit their website.

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 ​focus​ing​ on the design choices that have to be made by engineers creating IoT products​,​ Pete explain​s​ why having in house RF engineers is vital​ while Joe explain​s​ 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.”

​Read the entire published article here.

Optimal Design Co Inclusion Fast Company Honorable Mention


Optimal Design Company has been recognized among Fast Company’s 2017 Innovation by Design Award recipients, receiving an honorable mention for its work on The Rapture Virtual Reality Headset for use with The VOID. Standing out among over 2,500 entries, the inclusion is an important one for this Arlington Heights firm, recently included among the Silicon Review’s fastest growing Internet of Things companies of 2017.

“At Optimal Design, it has always been our goal to build a best in class brand and to service our clients who rank among the world’s leading innovators,” said Joe Wascow, Optimal Design co-founder and CMO. 

All of the honorees are featured in the October issue of the print magazine, available at newsstands on September 19th. The Innovation by Design Awards program, now in its sixth year, honors the most innovative and disruptive design solutions created to resolve today’s most challenging business issues. Finalists were selected from a record number of more than 2,500 international submissions across 13 categories—ultimately recognizing 299 entrants—the most winners, finalists and honorable mentions in the history of the awards. Honorees include household names like Coca-Cola and Sony, design firms R/GA and IDEO, and emerging companies like Willow and Away. This year’s judging panel, comprised of the world’s best design minds included actor and furniture designer, Terry Crews, Kickstarter CEO, Yancey Strickler and Roman Mars, Founder of 99% Invisible.

The Rapture Virtual Reality Headset is located within the Products category following the link to the complete list here.

Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand, inspiring a new breed of innovative and creative thought leadership, who are actively inventing the future of business. Fast Company believes that business is the primary vehicle for progress and positive change in the world, and encourages businesses and people in business to lean into it. Fast Company was named Adweek’s 2016 Hotlist Winner for Hottest Business Publication. In 2014, the magazine was Adweek’s Hotlist Winner for Hottest Business Publication, the Reader’s Choice Award Winner for Hottest Magazine of the Year, and ASME’s Magazine of the Year. Throughout its history, Fast Company has received over 50 Society of Publication Design Awards.


Optimal Design Named Top Ten Fastest Growing IoT Companies of 2017

Optimal Design Co., has been recognized by the Silicon Review as one of the ten fastest growing Internet of Things (IoT) Companies of 2017. Joe Wascow, Optimal Design Co., co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer was profiled for their September 2017 issue, featuring their company’s origins, accomplishments to date and their future goals.

“Optimal Design was started as a small firm only offering services in Mechanical Engineering,” Wascow said. “Since then, we have become an innovation and technology R&D firm, acquiring additional talent in Industrial Design, Electrical Engineering, Software/Firmware Engineering, and Prototyping. Innovation is a large part of who we are. It’s in our DNA and it’s a trait we look for in every employee.”

For more about the origins and methodology of Optimal Design Co., and to learn more about their pioneering work in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Wearables, and of course, the Internet of Things, please visit the Silicon Review for the complete article.


The Silicon Review is the world’s most trusted online and print community for business & technology professionals. Their diverse community of IT professionals members includes thought-provoking CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, IT VPs and managers. The Silicon Review encompasses nine technology and vertical communities: Software, IT Services, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Security, Telecommunications, Hot Start-ups and The Best Companies to work for. Each community leader is a proven subject matter expert who collaborates with industry gurus, technology managers, researchers, top technology journalists, consultants and industry analysts.


IoT Platforms: A Patchwork of Technologies

OD’s Joe Kreidler and Matt Heins were recently featured in Digital Engineering about the need for an integrated approach when it comes to the Internet of Things:

Peruse the market, and you’ll find a growing list of vendors touting their “Internet of Things (IoT) platforms.” These companies range from public cloud vendors and purveyors of traditional business middleware platforms to networking hardware and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suppliers. In the end, you’re left scratching your head because these companies offer only part of the capabilities needed to develop IoT products….

This battle over the composition of development platforms centers on differences of perspective and emphasis. The market simply cannot agree on whether platforms should be hardware-centric, software-centric or a mixture of both.

“There is a mix of development platforms available in the marketplace,” says Joe Kreidler, director of Electrical and Software Engineering at Optimal Designs. “Many IoT development kits are hardware-based, with supporting software development kits (SDKs), such as Intel’s Edison IoT development platform. Some development platforms are software only, like Amazon’s IoT platform, which provides an SDK that the developer must port and embed into their device.”

For the full article on Digital Engineering, visit http://www.digitaleng.news/de/a-patchwork-of-technologies/

Top 10 Fastest Growing IoT Solution Provider Companies

Fastest Growing IoT Provider

Optimal Design has been awarded the Top 10 Fastest Growing IoT Solution Provider Companies. The “Internet of things” (IoT) has become an important topic of discussion both in the workplace and outside. IoT as a concept is going to change the way people live and businesses operate. Globally proclaimed as the next big thing, it is expected to grow more than $7 trillion by 2020. Ironically, most companies have only just begun to tap into this multi-trillion dollar market. Fortunately, Optimal Design has been at the forefront of this technological revolution for the past 15 years and can help businesses navigate with speed, ingenuity, and success. ‘Innovate For Life’ – this is Optimal’s core promise – and there’s no better platform for delivering that promise than IoT.

Optimal Design is an award winning technology focused product development and tech consulting firm specializing in the design and engineering of Mobile Products, Virtual Reality Systems, and Devices for the Internet of Things. The company, headquartered in the Chicago suburbs, is focused on driving a simplified, connected world involving ubiquitous and intelligent IoT systems that Advance Human Ability. Optimal Design’s IoT products portfolio is truly Innovation Unleashed, and their services in technology R&D, Industrial Design, Engineering, Software, and Rapid Prototyping are unmatched.

CES Tech Trends Report 2017

The CES 2017 Tech Trends Report is here! From Sleep Tech to children’s toys – this year is all about connectivity.

Click the image below to see the full report.



Innovation Takes Center Stage as Optimal Design Opens Premier Design Studio Downtown Chicago 


To showcase its creative side and to give clients an oasis for ideas, Optimal Design launches cutting edge Design Studio just steps from Union Station.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9 A.M. CDT, December 12, 2016

(Arlington Heights, IL) Pre-eminent product development firm Optimal Design announced today they are opening a fresh new design studio in downtown Chicago close to Union Station. “The concept is simple,” says Joe Wascow, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder at Optimal Design. “Our space is a break from the mundane corporate grind. It’s a state of the art idea factory that engages bold thinking, client collaboration and drives innovation.” Wascow explains further, “One of our key differentiators is speed to market. This relies heavily on our ability to think quickly, unleash creativity and develop first to the world technology. Our new design studio delivers all three, and it’s fun! We like to think of it as a behind the scenes innovation experience.”

Much of Optimal’s success has been a direct result of their forward thinking vision – to innovate for life, for their client’s, their customers, their employees, the world.  “Our new office space is the physical representation of our vision and the epicenter of innovation. It brings us closer to our customers and the thriving talent Chicago has to offer.”  Wascow’s enthusiasm is understandable. As leaders in their industry, the new location is just one more way Optimal Design pushes the boundaries of innovation to help their clients succeed. The office is set to open on December 14, 2016 and is sure to ring in a successful New Year.
The office is located at:  Optimal Design, 566 W. Adams Street, Suite 330, Chicago, IL  60661.

Optimal Design Named one of 2016 Best Places to Work In Illinois

Putting employees first is what great brands do. Optimal Design employee experience ranks top in the state.

(Arlington Heights, IL) Award winning product development and tech consulting firm Optimal Design announced today they were recently named one of 2016 Best Places to Work in Illinois.
The awards program began in 2006 and is promoted by The Daily Herald Business Ledger in partnership with the Human Resources Management Association of Chicago (HRMAC), the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, MRA-The Management Association, the Small Business Advocacy Council, the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce and Best Companies Group.

This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Illinois, benefiting the state’s economy, workforce and businesses.
Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the Best Places to Work in Illinois. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation.

“To be recognized by this award and endorsed by our employees is such an honor,” says Joe Wascow, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder at Optimal Design. “It has always been our goal to build a best in class brand and to service our clients who rank among the world’s leading innovators,” Wascow continues. “But you can’t build a great brand if you don’t behave like one. Our employees deliver our brand promise each day – To Advance Human Ability – and we want to keep that same promise to them, to make them better, to innovate for life. It’s a cause that benefits us all, and it’s what makes us a Best Place to Work. We are truly grateful for this recognition.”

Optimal Design will be recognized and honored at the Best Places to Work in Illinois awards ceremony coordinated by The Daily Herald Business Ledger on May 26 and will be profiled in a special publication on June 27. The final rankings will be announced at the event and announced on the Business Ledger website (www.dhbusinessledger.com).

For more information on the Best Places to Work in Illinois program, visit www.BestPlacestoWorkinIL.com or contact Katie Smith at 877-455-2159.

ABOUT Optimal Design
Optimal Design is an award-winning product development and tech consulting firm specializing in the design and engineering of Mobile Products, Virtual Reality Systems and devices for the Internet of Things. Much of their success is attributable to their keen analysis of profitable tech spaces and Optimal’s integrated and in-house services include technology R&D, industrial design, mechanical and electrical engineering, software development, prototyping and production sourcing. With a key role in over 150 patents over the past 15 years, Optimal brings a proven track record in creating intellectual property that protects the client’s investment. Please contact info@optimaldesignco.com or
visit https://optimaldesignco.com to learn more.