Theme 6: Smart Home Products Week 1
We finally met up with Prof Jiang, our theme mentor and our TAs. We started off the introductory session setting our team expectations and getting to know more about each other. It is amazing to know that Prof Jiang has been in Singapore for over 6 years before for his education and still frequently visits SUTD and Singapore. It helped us to feel more comfortable as he knows about certain parts of our Singapore culture such as kampong villages in the past and some of our customs like ordering ‘kopi-o’ meaning black coffee or ‘siew dai’ meaning less sugar. The TAs were also very friendly and we shared our questions about each other cultures and countries.
We proceeded to talk about initial problem statement. Prof Jiang was more of a designer than a technical person, and we wanted us to take away more than just technical skills which can be learnt by ourselves. He wanted us to understand the user experience and able to design and craft a product that could succinctly resolve problems faced in a typical household, whether technologically or not. He suggested that we could visit rural areas of hangzhou to conduct interviews and observations or even look at households back in Singapore instead of just restricting it to urbanised homes in Hangzhou.
We went on to talk about current products in the market for smart home products such as smart makeup mirrors or smart speakers like Alexa Echo. These products could help to value-add their time while doing makeup and the mirror could read up certain top news or adjust the lighting to ensure the makeup is done efficiently. In addition, prof Jiang mentioned about the user-friendliness of these smart products, where it should not be user-specific but having the ability to read and be suitable for all family members. For example, in the day when parents are at work and children are at school, it should be helpful to aid the assistance the domestic helper or elderly require at home. There are many other various products like anti-snoring device, Storybook reader for children and Wifi-enabled robot for children. There are many smart home products but our main takeaway is how to innovate a product that can be seamlessly integrated into their lives and adds value for mass population rather than disrupting their normal lifestyles.
After almost one and a half hour discussion, we went to a restaurant called 绿茶 where prof Jiang had generously treated us to a welcome dinner and we especially enjoyed a dish called the ‘Bread’s temptation’（面包诱惑）. This is the start of a new exciting journey and we look forward to learning more new design thinking skills from the team!
-Theme 6 Group (Smart Home Product)