Posts tagged “belkin”

Smart stuff that seems dumb

Watch and laugh as Stephen Colbert takes on the Vessyl smart cup. While the company’s video patiently explains the features, their benefits and the design rationale, Colbert calls out the ridiculous jargon (e.g,. “real-time” is not something novel for people in their daily lives which of course take place in real time) and – most devastatingly – the lack of a compelling use case.

This is the barrier all Internet-of-Things things will have to overcome – so what? Why does it matter to me that I can do this with that and with my iPhone? This recent review of Belkin’s Smartphone-Controlled Crock-Pot – a product that is currently shipping from a major manufacturer – says that it” feels more like a solution in search of a problem.” While the crock-pot isn’t as ridiculous (as it’s presented without the overblown ego), it shows just how immature today’s products are.

I recommend these companies aim their products at the hobbyist/maker users who will figure out what they might actually be good for and otherwise keep them in the lab until they are compelling to regular people.

[Disclosure: I bought a smart light bulb via Kickstarter a while back. I can change it to any color or brightness using my iPhone. I also have to use the smartphone to turn it off and on (properly) which takes about 35 seconds. I just put it back in our “light bulbs” box in the closet.]

User Research for Belkin’s GoStudio

We were excited recently to see the New York Times review of Belkin’s GoStudio portable audio recorder. We led some early user research with target customers that informed Belkin’s overall strategy for this product.

Among other things, our work revealed that people didn’t associate the iPod with the high quality audio they expected a recording device to deliver. As well, the iPod is rarely seen an ingredient technology for another experience; rather most accessories add on to the iPod, and convey that message through form, finish, interface, and even their overall story. We identified that Belkin had two paths they could go by: either embrace the iPod (as in iHome and other iPoddy products) or deny the iPod (and create their own visual and task language). It’s great to see that Belkin’s final design emphasized the aesthetics of professional audio gear. In fact, the New York Times picked up on this embrace/deny tension in their headline: Another Use for the iPod – As a Memory Card.


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