The real human experience of the internet of things


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Martin Charlier from Fjord presented at the Digital Services World Congress on the real human experience of the Internet of Things.

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  • Hi, my name is Martin
  • I work for a design consultancy called FJORDWe specialise in digital service design
  • I’m going to talk about an opportunity we see at fjord for services to become more human – and I’m going to try and unpack what we mean by thatAnd then how I see design fitting into this.
  • So I was 17 when this was the cover of the economist (and I didn’t really know what the economist was back then).And I have grown up with computers and mobiles,and that’s the perspective I want to take here really
  • Digital technology has really changed a lot of industries, and we all here know that.And like the economist pointed out more than 10 years ago, it’s been very much the mobile that has been central to this change in the last couple of years.
  • But I think the mobile is just one step in a bigger evolution of computing.I personally really like Mark Weiser’s way of talking this:We moved from mainframes, to PCs and are now headed for a world of ubiquitous computing.
  • So 11 years later, when the computer is everywhere, it becomes shapeless – the mobile phone or the PC are no longer the defining objects.
  • Computers are now small enough to be embedded in things and our environment
  • They start to be powerful enough to do things like natural language processing, or use computer vision to see our gestures
  • And they become interconnected and talk to each other to make decisions or take actions
  • I think this means computing starts to become more human.
  • Here is what I mean by that:These pictures are a bit extreme, but this is what computing looked like until 5 years ago, right?
  • And in their book Physical Computing, Tom Igoe and Dan O’Sullivan presented this illustration to describe how the computer sees us.We hear in stereo, but only see in 2D, and might as well only have one finger to tap buttons in sequence.
  • But as computing advances, my hope is that this sketch gradually turns into something that looks much closer like a human.
  • And with computing becoming more human, our digital services have the opportunity to become more human with them.But there is a risk.
  • I find it remarkable that when I talk to other designers in my generation about this stuff,to people you might call ’digital natives’, that surround themselves with technology,that the ideas of how we might use computing going forward are not exactly received with great excitement.But actually with a kind of frustration or a disappointmentI think this is frustration and disappointment about the ways technology is applied
  • This is a photo a colleague of mine took.And it’s an example of this ill-considered use of technology.We need to understand the real use of technology better before we just apply it mindlessly
  • It’s about making things that people actually need. Here is a screenshot of a tumblr blog collecting pictures of people scanning QR codesUnfortunately it has no posts yet.
  • Everybody that has experienced this at a self checkout till, knows that it is a frustrating and even somewhat humiliating experience.And as this type of interaction increasingly becomes a major touchpoint with a brand or a service, we have to make sure it is better designed
  • But more importantly, we have to recognisethe extend to which these new technologies can and will reach into our lives.This for example, is a drinks vending machine that uses computer vision to figure out if you are male or female and what age you roughly are, to then show you a selection of available drinks, according to what its creators thought was appropriate.
  • This example is a patent application by Sony. The idea is TV advertising that can be skipped when the user actively engages in it, in this case by standing up from his couch and saying 'McDonalds'.----- Meeting Notes (09/06/2013 19:08) -----explain this
  • And if you have followed the press around Microsofts plans with XBOX One, you will have read about their ideas for charging for films based on how many people actually watch them, or charging advertisers based on the actual number of eyeballs watching the commercial.
  • Going back to my point about the designers growing up with this stuff. It strikes me that there are beautiful projects exploring the human side to this technological development.This is 'the escape jacket' by victor johansson, a suit jacket that cuts your phones signal reception when you put it in the inside pocket.
  • Another example, where designer Steffen Fiedler created instruments that allow their users to trick the sensors of their smart devices.How we might be able to tell lies and make sure the sensor data matches what we said.
  • Or this: An ongoing experiment by Adam Harvey about using makeup and hair styling in ways that stop facial recognition algorithms from working. In the bottom, the algorithm is able to detect a human face, whereas in the top it fails.I find it fascinating that future aesthetics and fashion might be influenced by human needs such as being able to escape technology.----- Meeting Notes (09/06/2013 19:08) -----combine that with the xboxexample--we once were hiding technology from people, now we’re hiding people from technology. (SAM)
  • So how can design make new services more human?I'd like to share with you 5 approaches that I think are a first step in the right direction.
  • Design to disappear
  • The nest thermostate is a perfect example of this design approach. By learning about the user and increasingly making decisions based on its collected data, this product is designed to have a diminishing effect on the need for interaction with it.
  • Over time, the frequency and intensity of interaction with the product gets less. The nest is designed to disappear from your life.
  • Remove the interface
  • Designer Golden Krishna has started somewhat of a movement he calls 'the best interface is no interface'. And he is collecting examples of products of services that removed the interface.One of his examples is this.Imagine you could open your car using your smartphone.The list on the left lists all steps involved to achieve that. There are 13 in total.
  • If you remove the steps that are related to interaction with an interface, you're left with three:- a driver approaches her car- the car doors unlock- she opens her car doorThis is the kind of design we should strive for.
  • And in fact, automotive manufacturers have made this possible already a few years ago. We should use the technology we have today to build these natural systems.There is too much obsession with thinking about touch screens and computers. Remove the interface, even just as a thought experiment, to explore if you can build a more human service.
  • Design around needsThis is about making products and services that fulfill human needs.
  • I’m not convinced having twitter in your car dashboard is really necessary.
  • Or having apps on your fridge.In fact, I wonder if the only people visiting this page of the Samsung website are people who are preparinga talk about the internet of things and need a screenshot of it.
  • A way of thinking about products that fulfill needs that I like is to think of the next natural evolution of an object.Take the object, and add the natural next step to it. I call them Objects +
  • This is an Umbrella +,it's an umbrella that also knows if it is going to rain, so it lights up when it is going to rain to remind you to take it when you walk past it.Note: It doesn't send you a notification, and it doesn't require an interface, it's all just part of the object.Service and product
  • This is a body scale +It's a body scale that stores the individual measurements so that you can view them over time.It seems obvious, doesn't it?
  • This is signage +It’s connected signage that can change based on time of day and based on actual events in the surroundings of the sign.
  • This is a pill bottle +It's a pill bottle that also reminds its owner when it is time to take the medication. But it goes even further. It connects to the pharmacy and concerend carers. But what I like about it especially is that they considered the interface: one of the ways to receive the reminder is a simple phone call. Which is a really appropriate medium for eldery people for example.The challenge with this stuff:infrastrucutre on the other side is necessaryhealthcare system needs to receive this infoumbrella needs wifi..
  • Create open services.This isn't about open source, but about designing services that can be built on top of in some way.
  • Quite a literal example isIf This Then That.It allows users to set up simple behaviours like every time I'm tagged in a facebook photo, download a copy into my Dropbox.And this is now going beyond the web, you can build behaviours around phyiscal products too, like philips hue internet connected lightbulbs.
  • Here is a less literal example. This is also an open product. It's a beautiful internet connected owl by norwegian studio VOY.You can put it somewhere and use your iphone to turn the owl's head from wherever you are in the world.I like this idea that if I put this into my girlfriend's house, the two of us will have give the colours the meaning. It's an open product because the user brings the meaning to it.
  • And this: OnTreesis a bank aggregator service. It gives users a combined view of all their bank accounts, and also let's them see visualisations of your spending, based on what it can derive from your statements.I think this is brilliant and wonder why it took so long. Of course to owners of a service, this might feel like you're losing control over your customer, when they don't use your app to do banking anymore. But I firmly believe that this kind of openness is the future. So there needs to be a new approach to brand.
  • Understand humansThis is about physiology,recognisingthat we are homo sapiens and how our body works, and our senses and how we react to our environment. Some of this goes back to our ancestors and is left over from millions of years of evolution.
  • Architecture has this idea of human scale in spaces and buildings. For example: It’s about understanding how a low ceiling makes you feel in comparison to a high ceiling, or a square space compared to a curved one.
  • It goes unnoticed by most people that these ideas are in many spaces we use everyday. For example: Beyond a distance of 100m by 100m, it’s difficult to see individual movements and people – and you feel less comfortable. That’s why squares in old cities are oftensmaller than 100 meters.
  • I think that in digital technology, there are also some fundamental human parameters that affect our emotional reaction for example. The 'uncanny valley' is perhaps one of those. In an over-simplified way, you could say it describes that as robots or computer animations get more human like, there is a drop in the emotional reaction to them.----- Meeting Notes (09/06/2013 19:08) -----explain this
  • In a nutshell, it describes that many people find the left robot cute, and the right robot creepy, although it is much more like a human
  • We think there are similar effects in digital technology as well. Where the user experience actually drops in quality although a system or service uses lots of sensing technology to make it more contextual and personalised.The keyis to aim for the right sweet spot of using sensing technology, but not too much of it.
  • SoDesign is more important than ever before in all of this. I hope I was able to give you a good idea not just WHY, but also HOW.
  • The thought I would like to leave you all with is this: As my colleague Malin put it the other day: Every product is a service waiting to happen now. And vice versa.It’s really exciting how the internet of things and M2M can enable great new product-service combinations.It's now a time where your industry rules can be re-written. Product companies might become service providers, and service providers might become product companies.But to make these new services and products successful, we need to carefully design them around people and their behaviours.
  • The real human experience of the internet of things

    1. 1. The real human experience of the internet of things Martin Charlier @marcharlier @fjord
    2. 2.  Services can become more „human‟.  How design fits into this. What I‟m going to talk about
    3. 3. The Economist, 2002
    4. 4. Music Retail News & Publishing Photography, Film & Television Communication Travel & Transportation Banking Health & Wellness Digital is changing industries
    5. 5. Many people ⇵ One computer One person ⇵ One computer One person ⇵ Many computers
    6. 6. 2013 Computing is becoming shapeless
    7. 7. Embedded in things and environment.
    8. 8. Embedded in things and environment. Understand speech, gestures, context.
    9. 9. Embedded in things and environment. Understand speech, gestures, context. Make decisions and take action.
    10. 10. 2013 Computing is becoming shapeless. It starts to become more human.
    11. 11. Tom Igoe, Dan O‟Sullivan Physical Computing “How the computer sees us.”
    12. 12. How it will see us?
    13. 13. Services can become more human too. But we need to be careful.
    14. 14. How about gesture-controlled online banking on your TV? Designer #2 *facepalm* Designer #1 What‟s the future going to be like? Designer #1
    15. 15. “I‟d rather eat you”
    16. 16. Thanks! @rivalee
    17. 17. Unexpected item in the bagging area.
    18. 18., 2010
    19. 19. Sony TV advert patent
    20. 20. Microsoft XBOX One
    21. 21. Victor Johansson: The Escape Jacket
    22. 22. Steffen Fiedler: Instruments of Politeness
    23. 23. Adam Harvey: Camouflage from Computer Vision
    24. 24. Design needs to make services human.
    26. 26. Interaction Time
    28. 28. 1. A driver approaches her car. 2. Takes her smartphone out of her purse. 3. Turns her phone on. 4. Slides to unlock her phone. 5. Enters her passcode into her phone. 6. Swipes through a sea of icons, trying to find the app. 7. Taps the desired app icon. 8. Waits for the app to load. 9. Looks at the app, and tries figure out (or remember) how it works. 10. Makes a best guess about which menu item to hit to unlock doors and taps that item. 11. Taps a button to unlock the doors. 12. The car doors unlock. 13. She opens her car door. Golden Krishna:
    29. 29. Golden Krishna: 1. A driver approaches her car. Takes her smartphone out of her purse. Turns her phone on. Slides to unlock her phone. Enters her passcode into her phone. Swipes through a sea of icons, trying to find the app. Taps the desired app icon. Waits for the app to load. Looks at the app, and tries figure out (or remember) how it works. Makes a best guess about which menu item to hit to unlock doors and taps that item. Taps a button to unlock the doors. 2. The car doors unlock. 3. She opens her car door.
    30. 30. NEEDS
    31. 31. “Objects +”
    32. 32. Umbrella +
    33. 33. Body scale +
    34. 34. Signage +
    35. 35. Pill bottle +
    37. 37. VOY „Ugle‟
    38. 38. OnTrees
    40. 40. Nikos A. Salingaros Human scale
    41. 41. Gary Hustwit „Urbanized‟ Human scale
    42. 42. Masahiro Mori The uncanny valley
    43. 43. cute creepy
    44. 44. User experience Sensing technology Sweet spot
    46. 46. Every product is a service waiting to happen. (Malin Mäki) And vice versa.
    47. 47. Thank you. Martin Charlier @marcharlier @fjord