Connected February 23 2014, 0 Comments

Illustration courtesy of Gaping Void

No blog update last week, a much needed break saw us venture up the north east coast for a weekend away. Although the weather was a little irregular the change of environment was refreshing.

Having a broad interest across most matters related to product design, it was little wonder that Google’s recent purchase of Nest Labs for $3.2 billion caught my attention. Created by the guys behind the Apple iPod, Nest have become known for their sleek internet-connected thermostat and smoke detector that are controlled with a smartphone. 

The price in itself is enough to spark discussion, however what’s of more interest is the term ‘connected products’ and the increase in such devices. 

The design process will naturally vary from clothing; however the overall concept will remain the same - the product has to work and offer value for the end user.

I came across an article from Fabian Birgfeld of W12 Studios via D & AD which provides an overview of the current state of ‘Connected Products’.

The term ‘connected products’ is pretty loose; I like to think of it as purpose-specific products that exist as part of a digital service.

Unable to find a suitable explanation of the term on the web, an official definition is welcome (please feel free drop a comment below).

Overview

Fitness monitoring devices such as Nike+, FitBit or Jawbone are doing a great job visualising information and making it meaningful to the end user. Complex health metrics are reduced to simple infographics easily accessible on all platforms. 

Philips Hue allows users to control the light bulbs with an app.

Wireless HiFi systems from Sonos skilfully play music available online, delivering it magically to a smart speaker anywhere. Unfortunately this is not completely available with TV due to copyright restrictions.

And if you have too many things to control remotely, Revolv (amusing little video on their site) is there to help you with a single app that bundles all other home related apps together.

There are many more, but hopefully this provides a little taste to explore further.

As devices become more connected and continue to become more intelligent, products will become more human.

‘Humans will stay human and won’t become machines. Connected products will provide newer and better solutions to familiar problems.’

On the subject of being connected, it’s only right that you take a listen to Stereo MCs.

Enjoy the week.