HomeSense is a project which will run from September to December 2010, allowing 6 households across Europe access to their own customized “Smart Home” technology. By allowing the participants in the study to choose for themselves what kind of gadgets they want in their house, the researchers hope to get a better understanding of what the customers actually want. The final twist is an attempt to crowd source the development and discussion.
The instigators of the study are three quite diverse groups:
As a major energy company, the EDF Group is interested in offering competitive solutions to their customers, making smart meters and intelligent appliances available to consumers is a high priority.
Tinker is a small design studio who have worked with companies such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson and BBC. They specialize in interaction between the physical and the digital spheres of life.
The academical part in the venture is situated at the Lancaster University. Highwire does research on subjecs spanning computing, design and management.
Together these organizations have gathered applications from households in Europe, 6 of whom will be chosen for the program. These will be matched up with 6 volunteer experts who will help them set up the sensors and gadgets they feel they want in their homes. These Tools will then remain in the houses and the participants, both families and experts will blog about the progress and share their experiences and thoughts with both the researchers and the world.
Smart Houses have long been a great idea with poor implementations, hopefully hits project will allow the industry to see what the customers want their houses to tell them and what kind of things they want to control in a more intelligent way.
This also shows an interesting way to do research and to publicize it in an open and accessible way, the crowd sourcing will both give publicity and information for the project while saving on the set-up costs for the parties involved.
Gustaf Hallberg – Group U