Connected Devices/Projects/Smart Displays

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Project Smart Display has completed a 9 week product exploration. We focused on understanding the fundamental human needs at home and the research led us to explore further into the areas of human connections where we believe this is an area with the greatest potential for a compelling product proposal. The product proposal is called "Totem", which is a sculptural piece that gives your loved one (who lives apart) a physical place in your home, ensuring your relationship isn’t lost in a sea of noisy social feeds and missed connections.

Another project of Mozilla, the Project Haiku, has also been working in a similar space. We have decided the two projects will merge and become one single effort for Mozilla in our continued exploration in this space. Project Haiku is pivoting away from a wearable to a "Totem-like" stationary object that resides inside the home. We've just started the process of further refining on the new product idea (and how we'll achieve it). For those who has been following Project Smart Display, thank you for being a part of this journey and be sure to follow Project Haiku wiki for all future updates.

Project overview

As the world moves towards the Internet of Things (IoT) future, many existing connected home products (home cameras, thermostats, lighting, door locks, smart hubs, etc.) require apps to be installed on personal smartphones, in order to leverage them as a display. The home is where many things are out in the open and shared among family members. Is the smartphone the best device for the connected home of the future? Should shared home devices be accessed by personal smartphones? These are the questions driving this new project at Mozilla: Project Smart Displays. We have set out to explore the role of displays in the home in order to understand what role they might play in the connected home of the future, where we will identify the opportunities for innovation.

Project Smart Displays is onto a 9 week exploration where the first 4 weeks are to understand the real user problems or opportunities. Based on the opportunity/problems identified, the later 5 week is to ideate and come up with product proposals. Here's an overview of the 9 week exploration.

  • Week 1 (July 11 ~ 15) - General research / Subject matter experts recruiting
  • Week 2 (July 18 ~ 22) - Interview with subject matter experts / Research design, planning and recruiting
  • Week 3 (July 25 ~ 29) - Field research (Home interviews) / Interview with subject matter experts
  • Week 4 (Aug 1 ~ 5) - Synthesis / Ideation
  • Week 5 (Aug 8 ~ 12) - Design sprint 1
  • Week 6 (Aug 15 ~ 19) - Design sprint 2
  • Week 7 (Aug 22 ~ 26) - Evaluative research
  • Week 8 (Aug 29 ~ Sep 2) - Product concept refinement
  • Week 9 (Sep 5 ~ Sep 9) - Product proposal ready

Project status

  • Week 1 (July 11 ~ 15) - Completed
    • Discussed Project scope
      • Screens as core touch point to be explored
      • Centered in the home
      • Look to deliver on human value beyond the utilitarian
      • Broad exploration during early weeks of project
  • Week 2 (July 18 ~ 22) - Completed
    • Interviewed with 4 subject matter experts
    • Research planning and discussion guide completed
  • Week 3 (July 25 ~ 29) - Completed
    • Interviewed with 4 more subject matter experts
    • Interviewed with 9 individuals with a mix of non-tech savvy, early adopters and extreme users in 8 households
  • Week 4 (Aug 1 ~ 5) - Completed
    • In the past week, interviewed with 4 more subject matter experts and 9 individuals with a mix of non-tech savvy, early adopters and extreme users in 8 households
    • The research was designed to be broad in fundamentally understanding people's life at home with the below activities and purposes
      • Tour of their homes
      • Exercise with stickers and words to help guiding the conversation
      • What home is like now
      • What are the challenges
      • What is their ideal home
      • How technology can help them
    • Some emerging themes
      • de-cluttering
      • keep things organized
      • nudge me, make me better
      • spend more time with family
      • get unplugged
      • cooking / recipe
      • memories
      • kitchen seems to be the place people wants a display
      • dedicated devices
  • Week 5 (Aug 8 ~ 12) - Completed
    • Seek a deeper understanding of how people think of being at “home” in order to better understand how technology can best fit in and how displays can be touch points into the experience
    • Half way into the 8 week program (now onto ideation stage)
    • 5 themes emerged from the 4 week research
      • Facilitate Shared Experiences (Better us)
      • Help me be Better (Better me)
      • Embrace a Budding System
      • Create an Inviting Home
      • Keep me Present
    • Explore into the better us / better me areas
      • Better routines/habits in children
      • Enhance family communications (in home or outside of home)
  • Week 6 (Aug 15 ~ 19) - Completed
    • Continue to explore the 2 opportunity areas identified
    • 1. Better routines and habits
      • The connected home can help us form new habits, maintain healthy habits and change existing bad habits in order to meet goals that we have set for ourselves and others. For example,
        • The connected home could help capture real time information on whether the desired behavior is being followed and then provide us with relevant information so that we can act accordingly.
        • The connected home could provide real time nudges and reminders to encourage us to engage in our desired behavior.
    • 2. Enhanced communication and connection
      • The connected home can facilitate the relay of information between people in the home, or encourage conversations and moments of connection between loved ones that reside in the home or live elsewhere. For example,
        • By detecting presence, the connected home could create "scenes" that are tailored to the people who are in the room. Objects could also be tagged so the presence or absence of that object would trigger the scene.
        • The connected home could create a new paradigm for short-form communication between family members that has elements of physicality and intimacy, thereby enabling opportunities for deeper connection.
    • Plan to present some initial ideas to test user feedback next week
  • Week 7 (Aug 22 ~ 26) - Completed
    • Exploring the opportunity areas of Enhanced communication and connection
    • Two concepts are being presented to test users. The two concepts represent divergent hypotheses for how to solve the same general problem of staying in touch with a few close loved ones that reside outside the home.
    • The learnings from the research will help selecting the promising qualities from each and continue refinement, rather than selecting an “either / or.”
  • Week 8 (Aug 29 ~ Sep 2) - Completed
    • In order to maximize the amount of time to refine the concept based on the evaluative research, the originally planned product proposal date is moved from this week to next week.
    • Refining on the concept of a dedicated devices that will represent the people you care about and to be placed at home so you feel more connected. The device would indicate availability and allow quick and easy direct voice message exchanges
  • Week 9 (Sep 5 ~ Sep 9) - Completed
    • Product concept proposed and next steps are being discussed
    • The proposal is called "Totem", which is a sculptural piece that gives your loved one a physical place in your home, ensuring your relationship isn’t lost in a sea of noisy social feeds and missed connections. Use cases includes
      • Indicate availability
      • Engage in quick direct conversation
      • Leave voice message
      • Tune in to other's music listeing / live casting experience (extended use case)