NeighborSense

NeighborSense was my final project at my education BEng Proces and Innovation. The project was made in collaboration with Qutron A/S, the company I worked for during my studies and now work for on a full-time project agreement until Juli.
 

Qutron felt that the Danish market for home security was saturated with companies delivering home security systems far too expensive compared to the product-service system offered. 

 

NeighborSense rethinks the business model by offering a home security system that enables neighbors to connect their systems with each other, making it possible to aid each other if an alarm detects a fire or burglary. 

Read on to learn more about the project, my research, and the development process.

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The outcome of the project was advice for Qutron on the business model, its potential, and the risks involved with the start-up. To assess this properly I had to refine and shape the concept.  Finally to summarize my conceptualization in an easy-to-understand format I build a prototype of how the product-ervice system might be communicated and sold to customers on a  website. This prototype can be found on this link.

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prior to my introduction to the project, Qutron had done some initial market research on the concept, including assessing competitors and ideating a business concept called AllCequre. However, no market validation had been done. Thus the first thing, I did  was to make a 'pretotype' (Short for "pretend prototype" and made as a means to figure out whether "if we build it, will they use it")

 

My pretotype was made in the format of standardized letters/marketing material,  send from neighbors pretending to have ordered our system. The key part was that the letters asked the neighbor to join, by sending a message to my phone number. Thus we got our own data from real people on their interest in the possible system. The letters above were my pretotype.

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We had some ideas on what the product-service system might include. But to refine it I made hand-drawn digital drawings as a means to ideate and think of how the system might work and look like.

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The purpose of prototypes is to accelerate learning in a development project. Some prototypes are created to test a technical aspect of a solution, others as communication tools. This prototype was created in cardboard both as a means to get hands-on experience (Literally) with designing a home security solution as well as to create an artifact that can help explain the project. The video above was created to communicate an aspect of how the various devices could be attached to one common power supply.  

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I'm a very visual thinker. I find that planning and creating graphical and illustrative overviews work great for me. For this project, I used the Web-application Miro to make myself a project overview which I used throughout the project. Here i planned my future work, stored information from research and generated concept ideas.

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From a thorough prior art research, as well as user interviews I developed ideas fitting for the goal of the project. When ideating solutions to a problem my approach is usually focused on quantity as I find that better idéas are simply developed this way. Inspired by Arnold Tukker's framework for Product-service systems as well as the business model canvas 15 business models/products-service systems were created. These were later evaluated in a co-creation session with the entire Qutron team and finally scored as seen in the right picture.    

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Based on the scoring and evaluation the concept of NeighborSense was selected.  But in order to further conceptualize looks and feel I searched through interest for idéa of which I felt would be suited for the target end-user.  I made a collage of inspiration on my miro board. Here I've put a filter on the products in respect to the owners.

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The themes "Stripes and Speckles" as well as "rounds and oval slots" were selected. Most often I would make hand-drawn concept sketches before bringing my creations into CAD-modeling but here i felt i had such a good feeling for how I wanted them to look, and since their shape was so simple i brought them directly into SolidWorks for the above models.

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I found that stripes and speckles with it's recycled plastic body were the most suitings for the concept and thus I decided to make my renders for that.  These were also the pictures I used for my prototype of the website.

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