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IoT Design

Best practices for designing Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices

What is IoT Design

IoT Design is a special domain of Design that includes the most pervasive kind of electronic device in the market right now: the Internet of Things.

IoT is everywhere. For the past decade, we’ve been heavily focused on turning our world into a smart, connected world. This will be even more true in the decade to come. Smart cities and homes, connected health, industrial IoT, and smart products are in our present and our future. This, is a major driver in the electronics industry, opening brand new markets and opportunities.

But surviving the revolution of electronic product development is not easy. Though to consumers, IoT devices look sleek and simple, the reality is, they are very far from it.  A distinct set of components, physical interfaces, PCBs, and rigid-flex circuits add design challenges we didn’t have before.

So – if you’re looking to enter the IoT market space and design your own IoT device, you need to start by designing an awesome PCB. The most effective way to do it is to use the tools included in the Siemens portfolio, such as PADS Professional, Xpedition, and all the simulation tools integrated with them.

IoT Design

7 Design Areas you need to consider in IoT Design

#1 The IoT Design Domain

The IoT Design DomainWith the cost of components for IoT devices being relatively high, component selection is key to making sure you meet both your cost and functional demands.

#2 The Form and Fit of IoT Devices

the form and fit of iot devicesIf a fitness tracker is not light, comfortable, and fashionable, or if a smartwatch is too bulky, or if an IoT door lockset doesn’t fit in aesthetically, the product is unlikely to ever get off the ground.

Size, weight and look and feel are all critical aspects when designing your IoT device!

#3 IoT Design Components

IoT Design ComponentsHuman interface devices must be low-power and highly efficient, to last for an extended amount of time without charging!

#4 Capturing the IoT Design Intent in the Schematic

Capturing the IoT Design Intent in the SchematicWhen defining connections between components in
a schematic, make sure you:

  • Use component management to source components and manage costs
  • Use pre- and post-layout simulation on your analog/ mixed-signal circuits

It's critical to meet your design integrity, physical characteristic requirements, and cost requirements!

#5 Ensure Design Performance: Validation, Power, & Memory in IoT Design

Ensure Design Performance: Validation, Power, & Memory in IoT DesignIoT designs contain analog/mixed-signal circuits, that require model-based AMS, simulation, and analysis during the design phase to ensure high performance and reliability.

IoT designs typically operate in multiple modes, such as standby, transmit/receive, active sensing, recharging, etc. Functional verification MUST be performed on each of these modes!

Simulation is also necessary to get a comprehensive view of your memory interface, whether it’s DRAM or flash!

Being key to every IoT product, you want to make sure you invest in memory connections as well!

To reduce the design and debug cycle time of your DDR-based design, you’ll want to rely on a well-defined constraint management system with the best DDR routing technology you can find.

With upfront planning, simulation, and validation, you’ll be able to quickly and accurately route high-speed, high-bandwidth traces.

#6 PCB Layout

PCB Layout in IoT DesignThings that can help:

  1. Designs are driven by pre-defined, marketable form factors so it's critical to see each board in its 3D enclosure prior to routing
  2. Bi-directional cross-probing between schematic and layout speeds up component placement
  3. A constraint management system helps you set and enforce electrical constraints
  4. Placing components in 2D and 3D helps avoid violations
  5. Using capabilities specific to flex and rigid-flex to make sure parts of the design do not interfere with folding, including part placement on flex layers, flex routing plane shape fills, and exporting the design as a 3D solid model to MCAD for better collaboration
#7 Manufacturing & Assembly for PCB Design

Manufacturing & Assembly for PCB Design of IoT devicesThe final key to success: Consider the manufacturing and assembly demands of your IoT device during the design flow.

DFT (Design for Test) - Ensure the testability of your design from a bare-board perspective to identify shorts and other manufacturing defects.

Identify issues such as resist slivers and unintended copper exposed by solder mask, so that they can be corrected prior to fabrication

How to Achieve Success with IoT

White Paper

How to Achieve Success with IoT

This helpful guide tackles the aspects of IoT implementation that companies wrestle with the most, such as creating a strong business case, managing security requirements, and identifying the top requirements of a successful system.

What is Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the term used for devices (things) that can be connected to the internet and transmit data into a repository. This enables applications (apps) to be used to analyze this data and provide discoveries, insights, intelligence, and decision support to the devices so they can operate better, or to the users of the device to optimize their activities. IoT has become a popular term and has already been implemented in the consumer and retail space. Examples of domains that benefit from IoT are wearables, smartphones, music, e-books, fashion, etc. The list is long. It has changed the way we read, listen, communicate, conduct financial dealings, socialize, and many other aspects.

IoT PCB Design
Ejemplo de dispositivo IoT multiplaca, diseñado con PADS Professional.

Software Tools for IoT Design

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Contact our expert to get quick answers to your doubts and curiosities.

Ivano Tognetti


Product Manager

Ivano, at the forefront of electronics since
the 1980s, is Product Manager for the
EDA (Electronic Design Automation)
area. The management of projects in
various European countries gives him a
very wide vision of the market and its

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