How can OEMs speed up the design process without sacrificing product quality?

Manufacturing and design teams in the technology space are always seeking new and innovative ways to reduce the often complex design process of the products they offer. For original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the wireless-connectivity industry, design barriers such as cost, time, and process iteration are just some of the challenges they’re fighting against to facilitate a faster time-to-market. 

New competitors entering the sector on a regular basis means that OEMs are under increasing pressure to deliver more within significantly shorter timeframes, forcing a shorter and quicker design process. Alongside this, the design process for next-generation Bluetooth low energy (Bluetooth LE) – enabled devices is getting more complex, with customers demanding more built-in features, capabilities, and security from the devices they purchase than ever before. While these overwhelming pressures have led some OEMs to employ a from-scratch chip-down engineering strategy for entire projects, this is often too slow, too costly, and too risky for many. 

So, how can OEMs address the barriers that are currently stopping them from scaling their Bluetooth LE design to mass production?

A wireless modules and modems strategy

To prevent the need for engineering teams to design the wireless connectivity aspects of the devices they offer from scratch themselves, some are choosing to outsource this element to external vendors. 

By doing so, the pre-designed, pre-certified modules and modems that suppliers provide eliminate the need to do the complex engineering around embedded wireless hardware layout, software integration, antenna selection, placement, and more. This can cut weeks or even months off typical design timelines, while also reducing risk and enhancing device performance. 

The System-on-Module (SOM) approach

In the same way that implementing wireless modules and modems means engineers don’t need to design device connectivity from scratch, a SOM strategy simplifies engineering by providing engineers with a pre-designed, pre-certified solution that integrates the wireless module, the device’s main processor, high-speed RAM, reliable flash memory, and power management on the same board. 

Leveraging a SOM design strategy in this way means that product design timelines can be drastically reduced beyond the efficiencies of the module strategy approach. By utilising the SOM method, design teams have the ability to quickly add functionality to products while also delivering an increased level of security.

Laird Connectivity has recently partnered with Silicon Labs, providing added value hardware, software, and support capabilities for Silicon’s next-generation Bluetooth LE-enabled devices. 

By using the SOM design method, other OEMs can benefit also from:

  • Faster development through a single, integrated board
  • Advanced security that doesn’t need to be built in-house
  • Resource partitioning and virtualisation for security
  • Reduced hardware design-in processes
  • Increased flexibility and choice within the software development environment
  • Limited certification risk and costs
  • Global access to integration support

Together, these benefits lead to a significant reduction in overall product development costs, design risks, and fundamentally faster development timelines for OEM’s next-generation Bluetooth LE-enabled products. 

Sign-up for the webinar with Laird Connectivity and Silicon Labs on Wednesday, September 7th 2022 at 10:00 PM GMT, to discover more about the SOM approach and how it’s supporting OEMs. 


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