How to Stay Competitive? Develop Smart Appliances in the Era of Experience

Smart Home Device - Home Control

It is no secret that smart home appliances now are very complex.  No longer is a TV just a TV, or a refrigerator just a refrigerator.  Each smart home appliance needs to be digital, and it needs to interact with people or at least with other machines and devices.  It is connected to the Internet and has a variety of sensors.  It needs to collect data and give you more information, all the while lessening the need for you to actually do something to operate it.  You enter the room and your air conditioning is already up and running, keeping the room at an already comfortable temperature.  You drive up your block and your garage door opens automatically, while also turning on your lights and your TV to the channel that you always watch at that time of day.

It is no wonder IBM found that 71% of global CEOs(*)  now say that technology is the biggest external force that could impact their businesses within the next three to five years.  Most manufacturers now need to prove their competency by developing high technology products in order to stay in the competition. Otherwise, it will be your competitors who are going to give your customers the features and functionality that they want and need.

That is, of course, easier said than done.  In order to make smarter home appliances, you would need to have engineering proficiency in a wide array of areas such as software, mechanical, electrical, fluid, electronics, software, and other specialized areas.  It is not easy to excel in any of these fields, but having the knowledge is already a small part of your success.  You need to know how to bring all of these competencies together to meet what is required of your smart home appliances, as well as figure out what problems to solve and what technologies to use.

Today’s competitive manufacturer knows that looking at individual features and functionality is no longer enough.  You also need to focus on experience as well as product benefits.  Focusing on experience, you would need to know what your customers want to feel, to touch and to see, and how all of these affect their actions and emotions.

To stay competitive, you would also need to use big data to discover your customers’ preferences, even those that were not available before.  Then you would need to be able to translate these insights, experiences, and preferences into product attributes, such as energy consumption, usability, capacity and performance.

Once you know what attributes you would want your smart home appliance to have, you should be able to communicate these specifications to your design teams simultaneously and automatically.  This would mean that all your different design teams for software, mechanical design, electronics and other areas would get the attributes you need and want at the same time.

From there, you should be able to make trade-off decisions on how your design would be met by each of these design teams.  You should also strive to shorten your development time while ensuring that all your design needs are met, by using social collaboration tools and workflow.

And while work is in progress, you should be able to assess and monitor everything in real time.  Furthermore, you would need a virtual simulation of your products’ first prototypes.  This way, you would still be able to fine tune or revise everything that needs to be changed in your product design while still bringing down your development costs.

In short, traditional manufacturing concerns really need to transform their operations into high tech product development companies with the help of solutions such as Dassault Systemes’ Smarter, Faster, Lighter solution.  This way, you can transition into a more competitive and high tech manufacturing company by helping you define processes using established systems engineering principles.  These solutions also allow everybody working on the project to collaborate on your products, thereby making it easier to share knowledge and process that ultimately helps you produce a product that your customers will love.

Interested in #IoT and #SmartHomeJoin Dassault Systèmes, Panasonic, GE and Parks Associates, for strategies to transform product management in the #IoT: February 3: http://bit.ly/DassaultCast

(*) CEOs-IBM-Survey-2012

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