Idea Reality interviewed Haroon James - the inventor of the Noti about his project and his experience developing a new innovative electronic product. Haroon is a digital creative professional from Leicester who had the idea for Noti whilst at university in London.
What is your product?
The Noti is a multifunction piece of wearable technology with an innovative and versatile design. It acts as a watch, notification system and a data storage device.
What prompted its development and how does it help its users?
I developed The Noti as a response to purchasing a smart watch whilst at university. I realised there was a more innovative and cost-effective product that could be developed. The Noti aides its users with daily life, reduces social, workplace and classroom disruption and acts as a data storage device for the transfer and safekeeping of users’ most important files and documents.
How long has it taken to get from the initial idea to market?
Proof of concept began in late 2015. Over the course of 2016, I developed the proof of concept and started working with Idea Reality on concept designs. It was James Lamb (Idea Reality) that introduced me to Newbury Electronics when it was time to focus on the electronics. So, all in all, it’s taken about four years to get to an almost market ready version.
How and why did you decide to work with Idea Reality?
I was looking for product designers to work with once my proof of concept was ready. I had met with other companies, but once I had met with James Lamb I knew Idea Reality were the company to work with. James and his team were always on hand to advise and guide the design, both in terms of best practices for the eventual manufacturing process, practical designs within the feature set of the product and ensuring a stylish and appropriate aesthetic. He explained their process and what I could expect from them and they have continued to exceed my expectations in every aspect of their work.
How & why did Idea Reality turn to Newbury Innovation?
Idea Reality, Newbury and I started working together through James Lamb’s introduction and recommendation. We had reached a point in the design wherein focus had to be shifted to the electronics in order for the project to take its final shape.
Please explain a little more about the electronics design element of the product?
The electronics design part of the project involved working very closely with Newbury Electronics. They designed and manufactured the printed circuit boards used to house the components and have been instrumental in getting the electronics side of the project to where it is now. The process involved frequent contact with Newbury to develop further the existing concept and exchange ideas on the electronic component design, ensuring the product met my standards and specifications while Newbury ensured the practicality and manufacturability of the design.
Were there any particular challenges that you needed to overcome in the design, e.g. space restrictions, product being used in challenging physical conditions etc.?
As The Noti was designed to be worn in various ways on the human body, it was imperative to keep the balance between ergonomics and aesthetics. Furthermore, as the PCB’s size helped to determine the enclosure size, it provided clear guidelines to the project; in regards to The Noti’s overall size. The USB flash drive was a key element in the product and finding the right placement for the USB jack was a key design challenge.
The screen and notification system also went through an evolution throughout the design phases. The challenge was to provide a cool product that also gave users the information they needed from the device. Initially this was achieved with a series of colored LEDs but this was seen to be too abstract for the casual user, and so a LED display was chosen instead as it is far less abstract and much clearer at a glance, fitting with the expected use cases of the device.
How do you see the product developing in the future?
With this first iteration of The Noti, I would like to see the product reach market first and foremost. For future generations of The Noti, I would like to include further features and applications to expand the feature set. I would also like the design of The Noti to continue to evolve as the company does and as the user base does. In regards to specifics, this would be discussed in private with Idea Reality/Newbury.
Do you have plans for further collaboration with Idea Reality/Newbury Innovation?
Based on my experience with both Idea Reality/Newbury this far, it is safe to say I will continue to collaborate with these companies for the foreseeable future. They have been there since the inception of the project and have continually supported its growth. If you’re working on your own project, I can’t recommend these companies enough.