dConstruct: Secret Lives of Connected Products

by September 6, 2013

In his talk at dConstruct in Brighton UK 2013 Simone Rebaudengo walked through his project to connect ordinary devices together in way that encourages use and sharing. Here's my notes from his talk Secret Lives of Connected Products:

  • How do you add connectivity to create products the change the behavior of people?
  • We tend to look at connected products in a utilitarian way. But products are people too. Connectivity makes products more interactive and social.
  • When a product is connected, its behavior changes. For example, products can compare how much they are being used. This starts a conversation between products and they can even begin to compete for attention stemming from product peer pressure.
  • How can a product feel peer pressure from other products? It needs to know what is happening in the environment around it and it needs a way to communicate.
  • A truly smart product can do something that you don't understand or don't expect it to do.
  • What can a product do to be used more? It can reach out over the network.
  • We often don't want to share products we want to keep them for ourselves.
  • When we connect products, we don't need to just draw lines between them, we need to think about how they interact with each other, their surroundings, owners, and other devices.
  • Simone built a real fictional network of toasters that can communicate with each other and their environment. Each toaster is connected and see how much other toasters are used. If a toaster is not used enough, it starts to demand attention both with its own interface and on the network (twitter, Web). When people don't use the toaster enough, it is removed to another location where its usage needs can be met.
  • Rather than demonstrating their buying power, people have to prove their keeping power of products.