Should I Build or Buy My Wi-Fi Connectivity Solution?
One of the most significant decisions facing many OEMs developing products with industrial Wi-Fi connectivity is the choice to “build vs. buy.” These two options are strategically important to everyone’s development process, but when adding Wi-Fi connectivity to your products, additional consideration needs to be taken to identify the hidden costs associated with internal development. These costs encompass a broad range of resources and engineering expertise required to meet standards for interoperability, security, application-specific protocols, and regulatory and industry-specific certification requirements.
Development teams typically look at the amount of effort required to go “chip down” vs. selecting an off-the-shelf Wi-Fi module. These teams often focus on the apparent development costs but may miss the following hidden costs in their ROI calculations for the two options.
Wi-Fi Certification Costs
Depending on where your products are intended to be sold, the costs can range from tens of thousands to over $100K. That’s why selecting a pre-qualified and compliant Wi-Fi module from an established supplier makes the most financial sense compared to going through the process yourself. OEMs can avoid spending the time and money on certification and focus on bringing their product to market.
Ongoing Maintenance and Support Costs
If the past is any indication, Wi-Fi standards are subject to change. As new technologies become available, improvements are made that boost wireless throughput, extend range and reduce power consumption. Your customers demand the latest and greatest, which is why it is much easier to partner with a company that has extensive engineering resources to keep up with the pace of innovation. For example, additional capabilities like fast roaming are added, and security vulnerabilities are discovered that need to be fixed quickly. All these issues require constant vigilance and a dedicated team supporting the Wi-Fi element of the product.
Fast time to market is critical to the success of your connected product. Delays inevitably lead to loss of revenue and must be factored into your build vs. buy decision. Even if you have dedicated engineering resources for your product’s Wi-Fi element, this may not be a core competency in your company and can consume considerable effort. Wouldn’t you rather use your bandwidth to develop features that enhance your product and differentiate it in the market? By offloading opportunity costs onto a supplier with a proven track record in industrial-grade connectivity and technical support, you can reduce risk and lower your costs.
How Do I Determine the Cost?
Now that you understand the hidden costs in your build vs. buy decisions, how do you estimate the costs in real numbers? More importantly, is there a convenient calculation tool to assist you in identifying these actual costs so good decisions can be made by the development team? The answer – YES of course!!
The Lantronix Solutions Calculator tool is designed to let the user estimate the cost of internally developing their product’s network connectivity. The calculator comprises the development time and costs; the opportunity cost (missed revenue); and the ongoing maintenance and support associated with your development project.
Then after making your build or buy decision, you can check out the available certified Wi-Fi modules Lantronix offers to meet your immediate development needs.