Ensuring the Connected Home is Truly ‘Smart’

How incumbents and disruptors alike can carve a space in creating Internet-enabled devices that easily connect to larger ecosystems, turning any house into a ‘smart home.’
By frog

It seems now more than ever, every new device—from traditional home appliances to new gadgets and home security systems—are made to be “connected.” But what are the real implications of bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) right to your home? At frog, we’ve taken this challenge head-on, combining our strengths in a cross-disciplinary approach from industrial design to digital platform creation to work with both legacy players looking to revamp their offerings and disruptors trying to make noise in unexpected markets.

Back in 2012, Honeywell engaged frog to help with their foray into the connected device market with a crucial update to their iconic 1950s-designed round thermostat. The concept for the new thermostat and digital platform was focused on the needs of the user first—not on the needs of other devices or partners. frog worked with the Honeywell team on all aspects of the platform from strategy and brand analysis to industrial and digital design to create a unified customer experience. The resulting Lyric thermostat launched in 2014, benefitting both end users and partners of the Honeywell brand that wanted to see the product scale in value and reach. In 2015, the Lyric interface expanded to work with home security systems, delivering on a truly seamless connected experience for homeowners.

For big tech, the rise of Internet-connected devices has created an opportunity to integrate digital products and services into people’s homes. However, some homeowners fear that the more exposure they have to the digital world inside their homes, the more real estate Google, Amazon and others have to capitalize on their data, turning a private kitchen into a marketplace.

Additionally, major appliance makers like Whirlpool, GE and a slew of others have been developing models of varying interactivity, making the kitchen a battlefield—not just of the different makes and models taking up physical space, but for the digital footprint it may leave on your phone. In the current market, a homeowner can purchase a suite of large-scale appliances to fit their needs, but friction between the corresponding digital platforms will continue to be a sticking point. This was an important aspect for the Honeywell system, which we built as an open-source platform so that any brand partner could easily create devices or systems to work alongside the Lyric system. Because what use is a kitchen-full of devices that can talk, if they can’t talk to each other?

While the battle for intelligent real estate in the home will continue to grow, it’s important to keep in mind that these systems and devices will need to be woven into the most intimate aspects of people’s lives, and will require a strong product design and execution that doesn’t distract from the living experience and a flexible digital ecosystem that accommodates needs across rooms and platforms. frog is helping our clients drive the future of the connected home by creating real, tangible experiences that keep the home a home—just a smart one that might be able to better anticipate your needs.

Author
frog

frog is a global design and innovation firm. We transform businesses at scale by creating systems of brand, product and service that deliver a distinctly better experience. We strive to touch hearts and move markets. Our passion is to transform ideas into realities. We partner with clients to anticipate the future, evolve organizations and advance the human experience.