‘We are the bridge between business and technology, developing groundbreaking things that are first to the world.’
We have always appreciated the amount of freedom and flexibility that connected devices have brought into our lives. A good majority of people around the world conjure connected devices or the Internet of Things (IoT) technology with high-tech gadgets, such as fitness wearables, self-driven cars, or Google Glass etc. The Internet of Things has become a disruptive force in enterprises as they embark on their digitalization journeys. Many companies are organizing themselves to focus on IoT and the connectivity of their future products and services. Optimal Design combines strategic thinking with compelling designs, multi-disciplined engineering, and sourcing expertise to create connected products that revolutionize its clients’ industry and business model.
Optimal Design- “Innovate for life”
In the late 1990’s Joseph Wascow, Sajid Patel, and Daniel Williams realized that there were very few firms that could competently provide comprehensive strategy, product development, and technology innovation services. They understood that great products start with understanding the user experience, are grounded in fantastic design, and end with cost effective, manufacturable components and assemblies. It was with this vision that Optimal Design was founded as a nimble firm in the northwest suburb of Chicago. Headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois, it offers a fully integrated IoT hardware and software platforms as well as design and engineering services to customize both the product and the IoT platform to their customer’s needs.
Let’s Talk Turkey with Joseph Wascow, CMO and Co-Founder
Can you tell us about your first IoT product that was launched?
Our first IoT product that was launched was the Regal Beloit Connected Pool Pump. It was the first internet-connected pool pump available to consumers for home use. Utilizing the Oracle platform as the back-end cloud provider, we maintained full, end-to-end design and development responsibility in bringing the pump securely online. The Regal Beloit Century smart pool pump provides a pool operator the ultimate ability to set, adjust, and monitor a pump motor from virtually anywhere in the world. A secure connection was top priority to our team, and continues to be a critical part of every IoT device we develop.
How successful was the development of your first IoT product?
With our first IoT product, various complexities arose throughout the development process that truly tested our engineering teams. As with any cutting-edge product, there are always challenges along the way that require every ounce of our teams’ creativity to drive successful solutions. The experience was incredibly rewarding and full of valuable lessons learned that we’ve carried with us into other projects. Now, with over a dozen IoT products in our portfolio we’ve quickly become the leader in creating innovative solutions for a variety of clients. So, in a sense our first IoT product was very successful.
Briefly explain how has the company grown and expanded its offerings over the years?
Optimal Design was started as a small firm only offering services in Mechanical Engineering. Since then, we have become an innovation and technology R&D firm, acquiring additional talent in Industrial Design, Electrical Engineering, Software/Firmware Engineering, and Prototyping. For almost two decades, we’ve been successful in developing cutting edge technology for a variety of different applications. Innovation is a large part of who we are. It’s in our DNA and it’s a trait we look for in every employee. Since inception, we have strategically hired the right talent, growing outward and adding multidisciplinary services. To this day, we continue to succeed, grow, and identify top talent from all over the country.
What challenges did you face in your initial years? How did you overcome them?
Initially, the biggest challenges that we faced were obtaining new clients for continued growth and identifying/attracting the most talented employees. With any new company in its infancy, the most challenging part is growing. However, we kept our sights on creating a multi-faceted company that was scalable, sustainable and most importantly, able to survive some of the most challenging economic conditions.
Future Sight of Optimal Design
Optimal Design has couple of products that will soon hit the market. The company was hand-selected out of many competing firms to become the exclusive technology partner for The VOID, a fully immersive, untethered, hyper-reality experience where the user can physically touch what they’re seeing in the virtual world. Furthermore it is proud to be a part of a project by Chicago based company CareBand. This company is using new IoT technology for the good of elderly patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s by monitoring their location and activity.
Optimal Design will continue to grow and take on new and exciting projects that blend the art of design with the science of engineering and technology development. As IoT becomes commonplace, it will constantly be on the leading edge of creating global products for a variety of applications, integrated with sensors, microcontrollers, and wireless modules. It will always strive to be a leader in product development and seen as industry experts in creating some of the most innovative, groundbreaking, and technologically advanced products in the marketplace.
Extol the Progenitor
Joseph Wascow, CMO and Co-Founder: Wascow has played a crucial role in the transformation of the company into a driving force for innovative design and engineering primarily in the Internet of Things, Wearable Electronics, and Virtual Reality Industries. Wascow is an engineering graduate from Purdue University and spent most of his early corporate career driving innovation for Bosch. During that time, his predominant role led to the development of award-winning products and over the course of his career, he has been granted over two dozen patents.