Smart Connected Products | Produktdesign Wien PESCHKE
Evolution or revolution? How smart connected products transform the market

We are in the midst of the third wave of the IT revolution. In the past 50 years, information technology has already radically reshaped competition and strategy twice. The first step was the automation of manual processes. In the second step, data collection and analysis were renewed from the ground up.

These two waves of the IT revolution led to an immense increase in productivity and economic growth. Yet, while the value chain was transformed, the produced goods themselves did not change much.

In the current third wave, IT is becoming an integral part of manufactured products. Sensors, processors, software and connectivity are integrated into products and linked to a product cloud. The cloud stores and analyses data, controls applications and significantly improves product functionality and performance.

In this blog post, we have summarised how the third IT and its resulting “smart connected products” will develop and which experiences our projects in the area have taught us so far.

August 4, 2022

1. Monitoring

Smart connected products enable comprehensive monitoring of the condition, operation and external environment of a product. If this data is stored centrally and combined with other data sources, a variety of benefits and possibilities arise for both the user and the manufacturer of the product. For example, ZEISS TEMPAR go » monitors the environmental parameters of measuring rooms via a network of sensors and alerts users in case of any deviations from the set standards.

2. Control

Connecting to a product via an external device offers the opportunity to control and personalise interactions with the product in many new ways. Whether it is a simple setup process via smartphone (see ZEISS Hunting ») that saves you countless manual button clicks, or the ability to control products remotely from a completely different location (see Nerve by TTTech »), smart connected products make controlling much easier.

3. Optimisation

Real-time monitoring data on product condition and control enables companies to optimise the availability of their products. This is possible through preventive maintenance work in case of imminent failures. Remote maintenance also allows individual parameters to be optimised or software updates to be installed (see Bekum Control 8.0 »).

4. Autonomy

The last level is autonomy. In a simple form, it can already be found in many households, such as the autonomous robot vacuum. By combining monitoring, control and optimisation functions, it replaces manual vacuuming. However, autonomous products can also act in combination with other products and systems. The value of the capabilities grows exponentially the more products are interconnected.

Challenges for the designer

The field of product design » in particular has changed a lot due to the emergence of smart connected products. In the past, it was purely a matter of designing hardware, i.e. a combination of mechanical and electronic components. Today, on the other hand, it is a matter of designing functioning systems. However, these systems are not only part of the product – they are the product.

One example is ZEISS Hunting (see graphic), where various connected products such as riflescopes or thermal imaging cameras provide the ultimate hunting experience in interaction with the hunter’s equipment thanks to a WiFi and Bluetooth connection to the ZEISS Hunting app ».

Connected Products - Product System | Produktdesign Wien PESCHKE

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