Denver - Berlin

Silicon Designer Examines Software Developer Preferences For New Smart Home Sensing Technologies


A large multinational silicon manufacturer reached out to Harbor to assess the attractiveness of entering the smart home market with a new generation of software and hardware development kits focused on smart home and residential product manufacturers that would enable new incremental sensing capabilities with existing devices. Our client wanted to identify developer preferences for designing new sensing applications as well as highlighting ancillary service and support features that would enhance and improve developers’ solution development experience.


In an environment saturated with existing development kits and tools, the client wanted to carefully examine developer needs and preferences to determine whether they could bring a differentiated offering to market.

Process and Outcomes

Harbor set the stage for this work by organizing a fast turnaround assessment of the competitive landscape and competing development tools currently utilized in the smart home and residential market. Based on this initial assessment, Harbor worked with the client team to facilitate the following process steps:

  1. Harbor began by interviewing a number of well-informed experts in the area of smart home device development in order to gain insight in how to frame questions that would lead to insightful conclusions in a broader survey of developers.
  2. Based on our interviews with thought leaders and experts focused on smart home device development, we proposed a new developer community segmentation based on the unique needs related to new sensing capabilities including voice, vision and related technologies.
  3. Harbor then organized a set of in-person interviews with developers working in traditional smart home product companies to further identify developer pain points and requirements.
  4. Based on expert inputs as well as initial interviews with developers, Harbor designed and launched an online survey to both hardware and software developers fluent in smart home device development tools and complimented this survey with in-depth interviews with business and marketing executives at smart home product companies to gain additional insights into the market positioning, pricing, and strategic implications that would help inform our recommendations for the intended development kit.
  5. Synthesizing the research results, Harbor then worked closely with the marketing and product management team for the hardware development kit to create an actionable framework to address critical trade-offs between and among proposed features and capabilities.

Based on our facilitation and survey and field research, we helped our client determine the core elements that would distinguish their development kit and associated support for developers.


Developing empathy with diverse smart home developer communities was a crucial element in our client’s market entry and development strategy.  As a result of the carefully designed and rigorously applied analysis of developer preferences, our client was able to maximize the impact of its development kit and tools design to drive a successful market entry program.

As a result, our client has achieved a steady enlistment of new design wins and established its “beachhead” and position in the smart home arena. Close collaboration on the design of our field research significantly increased our client’s confidence in the outputs that lead to its solution design.


Global (top 3) Silicon Manufacturer


Validate Application & Use Case Opportunities

Design New Products & Services

Develop Go-To-Market Strategy

June 22, 2020