March 9, 2015

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The Importance of UX in IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) as the next big wave is creating much hype and expectations in the business world of today, as was the case of computers and mobile phones in early years. As we already know, IoT connects devices/things with Chips through transmitters, sensors, wireless networks, actuators and the Cloud; making all the connected devices traceable.

IoT will thus reengineer electronic goods to make them fit for the new computing arena. Various protocols such as Zigbee, CIP, Ethernet/IP and TCP/IP come into the picture here, but the scope of 6LoWPAN-IPv6 is more, because of the large space availability and its ability to enable deeper monitoring capabilities and increased efficiency. A few protocol standards are also emerging for data interchange among sensors.

Since IoT is just emerging, there is yet no agreed upon standard systems, networks, or interfaces. Hence, much research is being done, and development is in progress. This makes sure that all the devices in the near future will be IoT enabled, which gives them immense potential by improving their safety, reliability and security.  On the whole, IoT can be broadly classified as: 

User Experience in IoT:

“Necessity is the root of innovation”

As stated above, necessity can be better understood and captured into a product/ device/ service with an appealing UX. UX is definitely a value add to IoT for both industrial and consumer domains, as it improves user-friendliness and delights users. A good UI will make IoT reach its full potential as it makes user-machine interaction possible, as a result of which, User needs are satisfied; without user friendliness, people forget a product’s use.

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Source: UX for Internet of Things – WUD Bristol 2013, Claire Rowland

UX offers 3 main features to IoT:

  • Clear proposition – This gives a good start to the UX-IoT. It is the place where end users define their problem. A good UI makes people understand the usefulness of the design/product by the way it interacts with the end user
  • Clear conceptual model – UI design (Visual/Graphical) of the system model: Here, programming comes into the picture where a static design can be made into a dynamic one. A clear model makes people understand the product early on, thereby gaining the market faster.
  • Interusability – Service-oriented approach to UX design: Interusability aids the model in synchronizing across multiple functionalities, thus making it fit for a distributed environment.

Layers of IoT – UX:

UX design has multiple faces in IoT as it places the problem solving approach between the business model and the User. The layers may vary depending on the device/product‘s functionality.         

Source: UX for Internet of Things – WUD Bristol 2013, Claire Rowland

Thus IoT is a bleeding edge for innovation as its scope is diverse – spanning food processing, agriculture, transport, utility and security, in the business as well as consumer world, and with a compelling UX it becomes more user friendly and can reach a larger audience.

References

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/
  • http://venturebeat.com/
  • UX for Internet of Things – WUD Bristol 2013, Claire Rowland
  • User Experience Design and the Internet of Things – Mike Kuniavsky     
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