The Internet of Things (IoT) has been one of the hottest buzzwords of the last few years. Entrepreneurs are scrambling to find ways to solve problems and generate new opportunities using connected devices and established businesses are beginning to develop smart products to get ahead of the competition in the digital age. Anyone who has tried to create an IoT solution knows that developing and implementing a connected product is not easy. Whereas mobility opened countless doors, allowing mobile apps to be developed in droves. IoT was a different story. A product that would add value required an application, hardware and integration with a still developing ecosystem. And that was only the beginning. IoT entrepreneurs still had to choose the right protocols and technologies for their solution, secure the product, and gain insights from the right data points in order to add business value and justify the high cost of production. And on top of that, every business model changes with IoT to account for the high cost, difficulty of production, requirement for partnerships and service-oriented nature of a connected product. The Internet of Things can only succeed if there are more comprehensive solution providers for entrepreneurs and business leaders to develop and implement an IoT product with an evolved revenue strategy. With its announcement today, Radius may have just provided that solution. Jabil Chief Marketing Officer Joanne Moretti kindly took the time to walk me through how Radius will help entrepreneurs, innovators and businesses get their smart product to market quickly and efficiently.
As part of Jabil’s innovation acceleration services announced today, Radius Innovation and Development, a Jabil company, has launched a Digital Prototype Lab (DPL) in an effort to help businesses bring products to market faster at a reduced cost. Historically, Radius has provided product development services for its customers. As part of Jabil’s digital transformation, Radius is digitizing design and development of a product, providing consulting services, and helping manage connectivity and data for customers who want rapid prototyping. Their goal is to help customers realize prototypes quickly and deliver low volume production. Jabil has always serviced customers who required high volumes of their product, typically over a hundred thousand units. Jabil is seeing the need to provide a service that helps customers who require a volume of less than ten thousand units with prototyping and production. For the first time, Jabil will be able to connect front-end designs with low, medium, and high volume manufacturing capabilities. After all, if a product Radius helps build takes off, it may one day grow large enough to become a Jabil customer. According to Moretti, “We had this gap, and Radius decided to fill that gap, and the digital prototyping lab bridges the gap.” The DPL has hosted some start-up’s all the way to some of the biggest brand and companies in the world.. One of their customers, RayVio, was able to quickly produce multiple iterations of a UV LED water disinfecting technology in a water bottle prototype in record time. Yitao Liao, Chief Innovation Officer at RayVio, provided a strong endorsement of the DPL when he said, “Radius helped us bring our technology vision to life—in six weeks—by delivering a tangible product to show our growing partner ecosystem. Using advanced technologies, Radius powered through 200 product iterations to produce prototypes in half the time it normally takes. Jabil’s ability to offer all these integrated capabilities under one roof can greatly reduce time-to-market and the costs associated with introducing any new technology.”
So how does this all work? As I mentioned earlier, building a connected product that solves a business problem is very complex, and requires expertise from a variety of areas. Radius is aiming to provide customers with a one-stop shop with complete user insight, design, build, analysis, and testing services. According to Moretti, a customer can come in with an idea in the morning and leave with a prototype by the end of the day. A typical day of prototyping is as follows: when a customer comes to the lab in the morning, they will work a team of multi-disciplinary designers, to create a digital sketch of what the product will look like. Next, Radius will bring in mechanical and electrical engineers to create an industrial design of the product. When the prototype is complete, the customer can utilize an on-site 3D printer to print their product. By the end of the day, the customer will leave the lab with a prototype. I was fortunate to take a tour of the Blue Sky Center in San Jose, which was very impressive. For those who do not live near the DPL, Blue Sky offers a global delivery service. Radius wants to be easily accessible to anyone in the world so they can enable entrepreneurs, innovators and large companies to go from idea to realization quickly.
What impresses me the most about Radius’ all-in-one solution is they understand the importance of the partner ecosystem, and are not so proud to think they have all the expertise and capabilities in house. In my interview with Moretti, she mentioned that as part of their digital transformation, Radius understands the importance of a partner friendly approach. Radius will surround customers with a team of strategists, industry experts, engineers, data scientists, creative designers, and artists, to come up with a solution to their customer’s problem. They will also work with experts within each industry who can help design an optimal product, and data experts who can help extract value from the data collected. Additionally, the R&D department at the Blue Sky Center is working in conjunction with local universities to research and understand each technology so they can utilize the right protocols and technologies to tailor a solution to each customer’s requirements. For example, smart packaging would need a very low power solution, whereas factory floor equipment may need to utilize a high power solution such as WiFi. They are also leveraging partners to flush out the best approach to security, which will be essential for a connected product. In terms of any affiliations or bias towards a particular protocol or technology, Moretti made clear that Radius deploys an agnostic approach that aims to bring in the right expertise and technologies that will optimize their customer’s product. Moretti emphasizes, “The key headline here is we are not pushing anybody’s product. We try to solve the problem first, and whatever technology it happens to be it happens to be; which means the customer will always get the right result.”
With so many pieces in the IoT puzzle, it is challenging to find the right solution that results in real business value. With Jabil’s resources and partner network, Radius is better equipped as anyone to serve as a one-stop shop to build a connected device. Leading IoT software companies have been selling themselves as the best prototype to scale solution, but they lack the innovation and development expertise and resources required to build hardware. I believe Radius has an advantage with its experience in innovation, design, and its ability to realize products quickly. As part of its new digital shift, Radius is pushing the entire Internet of Things industry closer to the reality we desire, where businesses can turn an idea into a product experience with little fuss. Once this comes to fruition, intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs will start innovating at a rapid pace, and IoT technology will rise in the same way web and mobile did before it. I could not be more excited to hear today’s announcement from Jabil, and I am sure those of you who are in the industry are equally thrilled about the opportunities this will open up.
Thanks to Joanne Moretti and the people at Jabil Circuit Inc. and Radius Innovation & Development for sharing their digital transformation story! It’s a powerful one!