As a part of our Q&A series, we highlight interesting products running on Blynk and discuss the challenges real businesses face in the fast-evolving IoT space.
Today we are interviewing our long-time client Christian Avedon from Airius Fans.
Director of Sales and Marketing at Airius, LLC
– Please tell our readers a bit about yourself and Airius Fans.
Airius is a family-owned company. My father, Ray Avedon, started our parent company Avedon Engineering over 50 years ago machining parts. That business evolved into plastic injection molding, toolmaking and assembly.
The Airius product was an idea Ray had to overcome the temperature control issues in his shop and in the early 2000’s he executed on the idea and began selling to other machine shops and injection molders. From there, he traveled the country promoting the product and in 2010 asked me to join the team. I have worked in various roles, including a summer on the assembly line, and now run the sales and marketing side of the business.
– Which hardware are you using in your products? Why did you choose it among the various other options?
We chose to use the Texas Instruments CC3220MODA for our Pearlink product. The system on a chip worked well for our application because it included many features we needed including fast and secure network capability, built in antenna, plenty of processing power with the Arm Cortex M4, and regulatory certifications.
– Why did you decide to use an IoT platform vs building your own software? What were your main criteria when looking for the right platform / partner?
Airius and Avedon Engineering’s expertise is in building products out of steel and plastics. An IoT product was very much out of the scope of our internal capabilities so we searched for a partner, Blynk, to assist with the application and firmware side of the project.
When initially researching, we looked at several companies in the IoT space and determined that Blynk’s platform they have developed would allow us to bring a product quickly to market without having to hire a dedicated team to recreate the wheel. By leveraging the Blynk platform it has allowed us to bring a professional level of IoT application expertise to our fan customers.
– How long did it take you to get from the initial prototype to launch? Any major learning or maybe anything you would have done differently next time around?
The Pearlink product took over a year to develop and bring to market. We hit many bumps along the road as we went along on the hardware creation, prototype testing, board manufacturing…basically every aspect… it was quite a lot for our inexperienced team and if we had to do it again, we would likely find a seasoned expert in bringing IoT products to market to speed up the process.
– What do you think is the most challenging part of building and managing a connected product / business?
For our fan products we are constantly making small tweaks to the molds to make the fans stronger, fit better and increase performance. Keep in mind that the same thing must happen with connected products as well, you will need constant upkeep and further development to handle future changes and customer needs. I would say just like managing any product, the challenging continuous nature of development is only starting after you launch.
– What’s next for AiriusFans?
We recently partnered with a technology company that builds OEM needle point bipolar ionization devices to help improve the indoor air in our built environment. The NPBI module drops directly into our existing fan systems to create a clean safe indoor space by inactivating pathogens, bacteria and agglomerating suspended particles. We are excited to help the world get back to some sense of normalcy by helping to improve the air we breathe.
– What would you advise to fellow developers and entrepreneurs who are just starting their IoT journey?
Find the proper expertise upfront that can help guide you in making the correct decisions on your product development journey.