During our journey of finding Sahara’s product market fit, our team has conducted over 70 hours of customer interviews to learn about various pain points during the embedded development process and how our product can best solve these problems.
One of the things we discovered from our customer research was how urgent embedded engineering programs need a solution that can solve the problems that are exacerbated by remote learning. Through 30+ interviews with professors, teaching assistants, and students, we have identified three main pain points that engineering education programs currently experience:
- Lack of access to lab space/expensive equipment: Engineering programs spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in testing equipment for labs, and students often have limited access to these equipment due to lack of lab space and resources. Instructors currently have to ship development kits to students due to remote learning, which introduces logistical complications and increases costs.
- Need for alternative to current simulation softwares: Many embedded engineering programs have resorted to using software simulations during remote learning, however, existing software tools on the market do not provide real-time interaction with hardware devices to adequately teach students without access to physical hardware.
- Difficulty in collaboration for instructors and students: Existing tools and programs are device-dependent and inflexible, making collaboration between students difficult and instructor grading an unwelcomed task.
Sahara’s virtual prototyping technology and cloud-based testing platform enables instructors at engineering programs and universities to teach embedded technology courses virtually. Students are able to interact with various embedded devices and circuit boards without the need to access physical equipment or lab space.
The Sahara platform solve the three main pain points of engineering programs by offering the following key benefits:
- Monthly subscription and pay-as-you-go model increases flexibility and reduces costs: Engineering programs’ need to access expensive physical equipment and resources makes teaching less flexible and more costly especially during remote learning. Sahara’s software offering means universities can save costs by paying a monthly subscription and more students can utilize the platform simultaneously.
- A software solution that is more than simulations: Sahara’s software platform is designed to replicate in real-time the hardware development experience as closely as possible, without needing access to physical components. This makes the learning experience more interactive and realistic by providing simulations of real-world environments.
- Cloud-based IDE encourages classroom collaboration and ease of grading: Remote learning has made collaboration especially difficult for students learning embedded technology. Sahara’s cloud-based IDE allows students to learn embedded technology as if they are using a software tool, making collaboration much easier. Sahara also makes grading assignments easier for instructors by providing backend administrative access to TAs and professors, and lets them inspect designs without having to meet the student face to face.
Sahara’s mission is to democratize the hardware development process and make it more accessible to everyone – and we will start with engineering education.
- How Sahara can Transform Remote Learning in Engineering Education
- Reflection from the Sahara Team on the Future of Remote Work
- Sahara Team’s Top 5 Essential Hardware Products
- Finding Product Market Fit In The Virtutyping (Virtual Prototyping) Space
- Why “Virtutyping” is the Future of Hardware Development