IoT – What does this mean for the PCB Design Engineer? Everything!

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Written by Karl Fazakerley


The Internet of Things (IoT) is here, and it is the game changer.  IoT has been described as the fourth Industrial Revolution. And if all the research and speculation is accurate, we’re going to be seeing at least 26 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020.  This is all great, but it’s easy to feel disconnected from the future-looking talk from a PCB Design Engineer viewpoint. After all, how much of a role are you really going to be playing in those fancy marketing words like Smart Homes, Smart Cars, and Smart Cities?

Actually, quite a lot. PCB designers all around the world probably have the hardest job of all when it comes to IoT, cramming in all of that advanced functionality into package sizes that just keep shrinking.  The need for modularity is here.  Here at Phoenix Contact we have a pretty good idea of some of the problems you are going to face and here are some of, (but definitely not all) the challenges you will be up against.

  • You’ll be fighting for every inch of layout space – the days of having a ton of extra layout space to lay down all of your tracks, components, and connectors have long disappeared.  With IoT devices, you’ll be cramming in a ton of functionality into smaller environments, and as you know even to the point where these devices are on your body, in your clothes, or even ingested.
  • You’ll be designing an entire product, not just a PCB – You are likely used to designing a traditional circuit board and handing it off to your mechanical designer for a fit check. But in the world of IoT, this workflow won’t fly anymore. With smaller form factors, it’s going to be more important than ever to get every stakeholder on the same page at the beginning of the design process. All to ensure that function, form, and business needs can come together smoothly.
  • You’ll become best friends with your mechanical design engineer – It’s very likely that when IoT comes into full swing, you and your mechanical team will be designing your product in tandem and in real time this means that at every stage of the design journey, changes and modifications to both a mechanical assembly and circuit board are being shared between disciplines.
  • You’ll be worrying about reliability more than ever – I don’t think much needs to be said here.


In the age of IoT, the name of the engineering game is going to be all about efficiency, reliability, and collaboration. You aren’t just designing circuit boards anymore; you’re developing products for the connected world.

With this in mind Phoenix Contact has been busy cooking in the kitchen, so to speak and have developed solutions which offers you flexibility, modularity and constant reliability.  We can give you the ability to develop market-specific devices with a uniform design PCB terminal block. You are free to choose either the screw or the Push-in spring connection – without changing your PCB or device design.

Please click on the link below to have a further look at this game changer solution.

Discover more.


Karl Fazakerley
Product Manager – Device Connections UK

Tel: +44 (0) 7919 005153



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One thought on “IoT – What does this mean for the PCB Design Engineer? Everything!

  1. Electrical design.

    “I’ve always appreciated simulation tools. Sure, there’s no substitute for actually building a circuit but it sure is handy if you can fix a lot of easy problems before you start soldering and making PCBs.”


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