How to Plan and Build a Product Family of Audio Devices


Imagine this: You have a vision for the perfect audio device. It seamlessly connects to your favorite streaming services, delivers crystal-clear sound, and boasts cutting-edge features. But the path from dream to reality can feel daunting. Countless decisions, technical hurdles, and ever-changing consumer demands can leave even the most seasoned product manager feeling overwhelmed.

From our experience, we see two distinct approaches to audio product development that work best, depending on business needs and product strategies. Here’s a breakdown of each approach to help you decide which might be best for your company.

Start with a flagship

This approach is ideal for companies looking to launch a flagship product with a comprehensive set of features that set the standard for later products. Here’s how it works:

Foundation Development
You start by developing your flagship product equipped with all the latest features. This product serves as the cornerstone of your product line, enabling you to efficiently create a family of products tailored to various market niches.

Once the flagship product is developed, you can create a series of related products (a family of products) by toggling features on or off and adjusting which features are included in each product. This method allows for customization tailored to different market segments or consumer needs without having to reinvent the wheel for each new SKU.

Smart Investment
This strategy maximizes your initial investment by spreading it across a virtually unlimited number of products, significantly reducing additional development costs.  For instance, one of our long-term customers successfully produced over 50 SKUs using this approach. Once the flagship build is complete, the only remaining steps per additional product are certification and production.

This method is particularly effective if your goal is to establish a strong brand presence with a high-end product and then cater to various consumer segments with slightly modified versions.

Fastest time-to-market

This approach is suitable for companies that prefer to enter the market quickly with a basic but competitive product, then expand their offerings over time. Here’s the breakdown:

Predefined Packages
You start your product development journey by selecting predefined software and hardware packages, which significantly reduce time-to-market and initial cost. StreamUnlimited offers Stream2Go for this purpose with predefined software packages like Music, Cast, Siri, and Things.

Market Entry
This method allows for a quicker market entry with products that are immediately competitive on price and functionality, suitable for various applications from smart audio products to IoT devices.

Modular Upgrades
As market demands evolve or more capital becomes available, you can enhance your products by upgrading to more advanced modules (like Stream1832 or Stream1955) to add features and expand your product family.

This model is beneficial if your strategy is to first secure a foothold in the market with lower-cost, essential-feature products, and then scale up in terms of features and complexity. It is also recommended for brands new to streaming audio or those primarily experienced with Bluetooth-only products.

Cost efficiency

Both approaches are cost effective, if the system integrator of your choice provides highly flexible solutions, allowing you to switch specified features on or off easily and move between more and less powerful modules quickly. StreamUnlimited’s StreamSDK was designed from scratch for this purpose, to not only offer specific packages, but allow maximum flexibility and compatibility between all services, features and used hardware. Navigating the dynamic market environment – defined by new services, changing requirements, and mandatory updates – can be both challenging and costly. By centrally managing these updates and developments, we streamline the process for all clients. This approach not only distributes costs effectively but also ensures that every client benefits from the latest enhancements, maintaining long-term performance and customer satisfaction throughout the product’s lifecycle.

Choosing the Right Approach

The choice between starting with a flagship and an entry-level product will depend on your company’s market strategy, budget constraints, time-to-market considerations, and long-term product vision. If establishing a high-end brand image from the outset and best product family interoperability is crucial, the flagship approach may be preferable. However, if quickly introducing a scalable product line is more critical, then Stream2Go offers a practical route.

Regardless of the chosen approach, StreamUnlimited is committed to enabling high-quality products for the target market.