Standing out in a crowded room is hard when everyone looks like you.
Already an established grill manufacturer, Traeger wanted to differentiate their products from the competition by innovating a decades-old market with new features. Moreover, previous attempts had fallen flat, leaving the company wondering whether they’d be able to stake their claim in a room full of other consumer grill manufacturers.
Vice President of Product Development Michael Colston knew a cloud-based app connecting Traeger grills to the mobile devices in delighted user’s hands would put his company in a new class of consumer products. Along with being one of the most mentioned names each summer, wireless temperature control and remote monitoring could make Traeger synonymous with innovation, worldwide.
Colston understood the need to connect its products to the Internet of Things, and in a rapidly moving market, was interested in launching those updates as quickly as possible. Finding a design partner that could handle various technical requirements as well as the means to build a testable prototype was crucial to the project’s success.
Building the product Traeger wanted required collaboration on a number of fronts. Traeger worked with DornerWorks to determine feasibility and requirements within the constraints like BOM cost, NRE effort, schedule, and risk, but DornerWorks engineers experimented with a number of Traeger Grill models to ensure hardware and software solutions worked reliably and efficiently.
According to hardware engineer Nate Bowen, DornerWorks was initially approached to add a proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controller to an old grill, both which Traeger provided. A prototype was formed, connecting the PID, which adjusts the rate of which fuel is added to the grill fire, to a mobile app.
This means the grill temperature can be raised or lowered remotely, with the help of a wireless interface.
WiFIRE was born.
This innovative solution helped Traeger land the coveted Gold Medal from AmazingRibs.com, and the company has since used DornerWorks as its sole electronics design house for all model updates moving forward for hardware, firmware, and app development.
While spending more time with their friends and family, countless Traeger grill users are now monitoring their meat by way of wireless technology. The connected product DornerWorks helped Traeger develop continues to stand out as a true innovator in a crowded market of consumer grills.