Since you have seen multiple people looking for the same thing, the first research step is to determine why it doesn’t already exist.
Is it physically possible?
Is there an existing patent blocking development?
Is it possible to do at the desired price point?
Will it meet required safety standards for retail sale in the US?
If you yourself have a new patented process/technology, then you’re in one situation. That’s how, for example, Sensative strips succeeded with their super thin contact sensors. They literally invented a new kind of battery.
But if you are not introducing a patent-worthy innovation, You need to answer the four questions above to see why there is a hole in the market.
Once you know that, you’ll know what kind of hole you are proposing to fill, and that can lead you to your next steps.
The process of getting a hardware device certified and ready for sale in the US will typically take at least 18 months and usually closer to two years. So if your Idea is just a good idea based on recent advances in technology Introduced into the market by other companies, you can be pretty sure that one of the other companies is going to fill the hole before your product is available for sale. Or very close to it.
That’s what happened, for example, to the nucleus intercom. They just had a good idea, no patents or anything. They did bring it to market, but within three or four months Amazon had added similar functionality to their own echo devices and that pretty much killed the nucleus marketshare. Amazon had been working on theirs for a long time, but without patent protection there was nothing nucleus could do once another, much bigger company brought their product out.
All of that said, the next question is you said you have a team of programmers. What about engineers? Hardware is hard. And most programmers just don’t understand the issues that go into hardware design. I can’t tell you how many times some software person has told me “it should be easy” when they are describing something which is physically impossible or violates US safety codes. Hardware is hard. You need to have a couple of people on your team who have solid experience in hardware design.
So let’s say you get that, you’ve answered the four questions and you think you do you have something that fills a market gap. You can build a prototype. What next?
There are several hardware incubators they can help you figure out how to scale production and handle international patents and markets and safety requirements. one of the best known is Highway one in San Francisco.
Among the hardware success stories that have come through Highway one are the flic button, Drop, Ringly, and Calliope.
The following is a good article about the process from the startup company’s point of view:
But you have to have your own hardware folks on staff. Dedicated to your product and with a solid understanding of physics and certification processes.