Smart Homes – service provider of the future!

Service Design lectureship II at the HFG Schwäbisch Gmünd in cooperation with Deutsche Telekom, summer semester 2011

Smart Homes – unnecessary or Future?

My Refrigerator is communicating with the supermarket, my garden with the lawn mower – promising vision or needless bells and whistles?

Approaches for smart solutions in automated households exist for years, but which needs do really exist and which service-product-systems can offer a true improvement? To design relevant Solutions it is essential to consider the needs of future inhibiters as well as of the various Suppliers that are involved into the process of completion. A conscious and systematic design of products, procedures and organization chains is crucial for success. Out of this new requirements towards intelligent services evolve and conversely, this means new challenges for those who develop and design these offers.

Research and preparation – dipping into the world of potential customers

By means of little knowledge tasks the students were able to deepen their skills in service design and research methods as well as in the field of smart homes.

Within the project frame the students worked on four Target groups and examined their needs and expectations carefully: From the B2B area they choose suppliers of “household appliances” as well as “property developers”; from the B2C area “upper singles” and “families.

With specifically developed design games and questions tools the research teams visited their target groups. They performed desktop walkthroughs in the gardens of probands to fathom their daily routines or asked the probands to divide their flats, with regards to upcoming daily tasks, into positive and negative. The results of the research phase provided the base for the first joint ideation workshop with Deutsche Telekom. In the following weeks five new concepts for development, arrangement and exploitation emerged in teamwork.


5 smart home concepts


Brick. Is an internet platform that enables property developers, building owners and craftsman to network, to share information and to train each other in the context of smart homes. Through this application property developers meet craftsmen that are well versed with complex installations of smart homes and the craftsmen on the other hand can catch up with new technical products and their compatibility. A rating and competence profile supports you to find and to be found.


This concept aims at the everyday needs of families with children and deals with themes like household, risks inside the house, nutrition and electricity consumption. Foolproof I an application for smart tablets: individual configurations can be made to manage releases and restrictions (electric devices) for each family member. Furthermore this tool contains features that facilitate the everyday organization and provide useful information.

Eco in hands

The name captures the spirit of this Concept: “Eco in hands” is a smartphone App that motivates the user to save energy. The smartphone becomes an indicator of the daily energy consumption by collecting and providing information of existing devices. The user decides himself if he wants the information to be displayed in a playful or informative way. Beyond this the gaming modus provides weekly tasks to encourage the player to save even more energy.

Sweet Home

Is a house that is familiar with your habits and follows your thinking, just like a partner in life. This concept is oriented towards the needs of upper singles. The system connects home and human through a smartphone - if the user is leaving the house, all devices get switched off and the door is locked automatically. As soon as the inhabitant is coming closer the house is welcoming him with warmth and light. The system picks up rituals of its user and automates them.


The aim is to connect people through the technical solutions that are already part of smart homes and to support the social interplay between homeowners. The network tool “ComU” is the base for a physical or virtual existing community of smart home owners. It facilitates the control of power generation, water consumption and processes of automation. Further applications like the “Orga-Tool” or the “Secure-Tool” allow to hand over time wise defined access permissions to neighbors and other smart home owners.