At the beginning of the year, the hardware industry starts out with a bang with the biggest consumer electronic conference in the world. Some would say that CES gives us an idea of where the industry is going and what types of products and trends we will be seeing throughout the year. However, I want to take a step back and tell you the trends we will most likely see from the hardware startup community this year from a more holistic perspective.
With advent of development kits, low-cost sensors, and 3D printing among many other things there has been an abundance of products being developed and introduced through crowdfunding. I think the lesson we have learned through all the failed launches is that just because it can be made doesn’t justify that it will be viable in the market.
This year will bring more focused innovation on hardware products that solve real world problems. Hardware startup founders will continue to expand on using the lean hardware development methodologies by developing products for audiences that experience a particular pain point. This is opposed to just making a product then finding a market to fit the product you’ve made.
2.Streamlined Process for Hardware and Software Development
We all know the saying that hardware is hard and that still rings true today. However, it has gotten significantly easier to get a physical product to market and that is due to the fact that both hardware and software development are becoming more streamlined.
This year it will become even easier to bring all types of hardware products to market as networks have been established and service providers have built significant platforms to quickly launch and scale new technologies. From prototyping and IoT board design to backend databases and plug and play user interfaces, there are a ton of new tools enabling hardware startup success.
3.Growing International Hardware Startup Communities
For the last five years, the hardware startup revolution has primarily been centralized around the San Francisco Bay Area. However, this past year there has been tremendous growth and involvement of international hardware startup communities at a local level. Many hardware startup meetups have emerged which aim to empower entrepreneurs to share insights, knowledge and grow. This year we will see these communities continue to grow and even see even more pop up all over the world. There will also be a growth of more service providers to cater to these startup communities.
Take a look at this MakerMap to see a global map of all the maker communities.
4.Globally Connected Hardware Startup Communities
Taking the last trend into context, we will see all of those hardware startup communities and service providers become interconnected around the globe. Hardware startups around the world will be able to learn from each other, support each other and get connected to each other.
There will also be a serious escalation of: access to new markets, access to new technologies, synergies of teams and labor. Platforms like Hardware Massive are beginning to grow to establish these connected global communities, networks and resources for the hardware startup ecosystem.
5. Partnerships & Collaborations
Partnerships that benefited the hardware startup ecosystem really didn’t exist for the past 10 years. The hardware companies that did make it developed their own internal partnerships and were unlikely to share that information or find good ways to collaborate. Over the next year we will see many new partnerships and collaboration from small to large begin to forge.
Major player buy in is also a key element to note as companies like Amazon have allowed hardware startups to take advantage of their services through a section of their site which launches products. Major cities such as SF and L.A are beginning to take note of IoT products and team up with entrepreneurs to develop smart connected cities. These are just a few to name and many more will begin to emerge over the next year.
These are five trends we think will be very noticeable in the hardware startup ecosystem throughout 2016. Of course there will be many more to emerge that we may not have thought about. We encourage you to provide what trends you think we’ll see emerge this year in the comment section below.