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Thoughts, observations and experimentation on interaction by: Smart Design

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This week Smart Interaction Lab gave a talk called, “Making Meaningful Design with the Internet of Things” at the Webvisions conference in Portland (May 22-24 at the Oregon Convention Center).

The conference was a fascinating look at the future of the web, exploring methods, strategies and business opportunities. Part information, part inspiration and part technique, we enjoyed sharing our point of view as well as meeting other designers, researchers and strategists from around the world.

Other speakers included Leslie Bradshaw, Chief Operating Officer at Guide, a software company focused on turning online news, who spoke about how “The Future of the Web is Video”. Mark Frauenfelder, Editor-in-Chief of MAKE Magazine and former Editor-inChief of Wired Online, gave a talk on the future of making called, “Making Makers: New Tools and Ideas that are fueling a Movement”. Carolyn Chandler, User Experience Lead at Manifest Digital, spoke about “Using Game Mechanics to Motivate Your Audience” in a talk called, “Play to Change”.

Our talk was the keynote session on Friday, May 24, and here’s a summary of what we covered:

Something exciting has been happening to our everyday objects. Things that were once silent and static can now sing, glow, buzz and be tracked online. Some are constantly listening for sounds, sights and touches to translate into meaningful inputs. Others have the ability to learn, refining their behaviors over time. They can be connected to one another as well as the Internet.

As people continue to interact with data in all aspects of life, they will expect their digital devices to deliver real-time, visualized, networked feedback. The WSJ envisions a roadmap where 50 billion devices could be connected to the Internet by 2020. Collectively, this “Internet of Things” will provide cloud-enabled experiences that can profoundly change many aspects of everyday life both in and out of the home. As designers, this presents a juicy opportunity to pioneer new territory in rich interaction, but it also can backfire, filling people’s lives with more frustrations over technology than ever before.

In the talk, we shared stories from the front lines of designing interactive hardware/software products and ecosystems at Smart Design. We discussed challenges and highlighted opportunities where the combination of physical device and virtual data can provide a more meaningful experience than either alone.

Posted by: Carla Diana

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