Innovation means driving change. Every change starts with an idea, a vision of what could happen that would create a tangible benefit for an organization. Driving change can be difficult, but often “intrapreneurs” see a need and then gather limited resources to transform that vision into a new reality. These individuals need a fast, efficient way to jumpstart their idea and to start receiving feedback. Enter pre-engineered prototypes, which are the keys to creating a successful product without having to create a startup.

What are Prototypes?

At the simplest level, a prototype is an initial or preliminary model of a product. Prototypes can be used to test feasibility. Does the design function correctly? To test desirability, sometimes the prototype can be put in a customer’s hands to answer questions about how well the product satisfies the customer’s market requirements.

Prototypes can be used to answer questions about how a product might fare within a market and allow developers to test their assumptions on a minimum viable product before spending lots of time, money and resources on an idea that might not sell. Arduino Platforms and Raspberry Pi are examples of tools that are used as the basis for many prototypes.

Pre-engineered prototypes fast-forward this process and allow intrapreneurs to experiment rapidly. Voler’s Universal Health-Sensor Platform is designed to accept sensors that have been selected utilizing our knowledge and experience, combined with our ability to write code to make them work efficiently. Instead of off-the-shelf sensor solutions, this platform provides a quick custom sensor solution that will meet your specific needs for wearable devices.  This provides a useful method for rapidly developing a functioning prototype that users can interact with and review, letting “intrapreneurs” discover what needs to be altered or improved for the final proposal. From a marketing perspective, this leads to a better understanding of a target audience, and from an engineering perspective these prototypes test the product’s practical application and usage.

Why Are Prototypes Important?

Prototypes are crucial for three main reasons:

  1. Ability to quickly test assumptions
  2. Quickly learn about users and technology integrations (what works and who is interested)
  3. Ability to make progress for development (get additional funding)

Perhaps most importantly, prototypes allow developers to experiment with their ideas, because making changes early is easier and more economical.

Not All Prototypes are the Same

The type of prototype you need will depend on your stage of development and the type of data that you need. In early stages, spreadsheets, illustrations, storyboards, wireframes, paper prototypes and other low fidelity prototypes may be sufficient to generate the feedback you need for initial buy-in. Later product decisions may require a functional prototype or proof of concept. For example, you might explore alternative ways of solving a problem by prototyping a few solutions and putting them in the hands of your customers to observe the interaction. Pre-engineered prototypes often need to leave the lab environment and should directly evolve into your eventual commercial product. This may require mature software as well as careful sensor selection and design for meaningful data capture.

The more information and data that you can capture from prototyping before final design, the more likely you are to develop a product that satisfies your requirements and the less likely you are to make product decisions that are costly to reverse.

The Universal Health-Sensor Platform is the fastest path to capturing and transmitting patient data with a wearable prototype device that can directly evolve into your eventual commercial product. With Voler’s platform, 70% of your prototype is done before you start, allowing you to get to market faster. The platform includes Bluetooth wireless data collection to the Cloud combined with the ability to connect a wide range of sensors. We’ll help you get the prototype you need so you can focus on that data, demo quickly, reduce time to market, lower your costs, and win in your market!

Image source: Ion Chiosea

This article first appeared in Sensors Online