Emergent Experience and the Connected Consumer in the Smart Home Assemblage and the Internet of Things

Download the Monograph:  Hoffman and Novak (2015) Emergent Experience in the IoT

Since the commercialization of the Internet began over twenty years ago, we have been fascinated with the opportunities that computer-mediated environments present for human interaction. As a result, we have spent the last few decades researching the marketing and consumer behavior impact of consumers’ interactions in digital environments.

Now, as the consumer Internet of Things emerges, we find ourselves with renewed excitement as we consider the opportunities for consumer interaction in physical environments with objects that have brought the Internet with them into the real world. Just as the Internet was revolutionary because it enabled many-to-many communication through connected digital networks at unprecedented scale, the IoT is a revolutionary advance that brings the digital into the physical realm. Now, interaction is distributed not just virtually “on the Internet,” but also everywhere in the real world where people actually live, work and play.

What awaits us as we are able to interact with smart objects in our everyday lives, and these objects are able to interact with each other, often autonomously? What are the implications for human interaction and for consumer experience? Will new marketing approaches be required? In the course of thinking about these kinds of questions over the past few years, we realized we needed a new framework to help our thinking jell. We found that framework in assemblage theory. The smart home assemblage serves as the context for our theorizing, but we believe our approach generalizes to any consumer IoT assemblage.

In the monograph linked above, we present an assemblage-theory based conceptual framework and its implications for consumer experience in the smart home. In 8 sections, we discuss the evolution of the Internet and the emergence of the consumer IoT, offer a lay version of assemblage theory, develop our framework and discuss the implications of our framework for research in UX, consumer experience, and marketing strategy. The last two sections offer some early practical insights derived from our theory and some perspective on where things might be going. 

Because the pace of change is rapid, we wanted to put this material on the Web as early as possible for comment and feedback. The monograph remains a work in progress. We are developing several papers based on these ideas  for submission to academic journals and look forward to hearing from others working in this compelling new area.

Donna Hoffman & Tom Novak
Washington, DC
V1.0, August 20, 2015

Intel’s immersive vision of the Internet of Things

Professor Donna L. Hoffman

At the Intel keynote, I LOVED the smart charging Bowl – throw all your devices in the bowl and it charges them. No plugs! Totally cool. Plus, the Smart Earbuds are a great idea. CEO Brian Krzanich did a great job showcasing Intel’s play in the Internet of Things. The smart onesie that quantifies baby’s vitals – powered by “Edison” a pentium computer the size of a thumb! – is perfect for helicopter parents.

Show opens tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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Will we collapse under the weight of wearables? #ces2014

Professor Donna L. Hoffman

The new June smart bracelet is definitely cool and swank – who wants to get skin cancer? – but also who has an arm long enough (or a wallet big enough) for all these different single-purpose devices?

This Smart Bracelet That Measures Sun Exposure Is Gorgeous

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WristRevolution at #CES2014

Professor Donna L. Hoffman

pebble-black_thumb[2]It was only a few years ago that Tom and I wandered around the fitness tech zone at CES. It was sparse, it was lonely, and people looked confused. CEOs worked hard to explain how a band you could wear on your arm, your pants, your bra, or your wrist could do some simple tracking and maybe improve your fitness level.

Fast forward to CES 2014, opening next week in Vegas, baby!, and now there’s a new TechZone just for that – WristRevolution – devoted entirely to nextgen wearables. Sensors! Apps! Internet connected!

This – and the “smart home” almost certainly mark the start of the consumer Internet of Things.

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My First Few Days with the Basis Band

Tom Novak

I’ve wanted to get a Basis Band ever since I first saw it at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Unfortunately, the Basis Band has been pretty much out of stock for the past year and half, and pretty hard to get your hands on. So I was pretty excited when my wife somehow leapfrogged ahead of me in the queue and received an email invite to order a couple of Basis Bands. We went for one in white (her) and one in black (me).

Mine came with a crooked display, however. Might not bother everyone, but I’m a perfectionist and it bothered me. I read the return policy which mentions a 15% restocking fee, but when I emailed Basis they were great. No restocking fee, they immediately shipped out an advanced replacement which I received in a couple days, free shipping and free return. The kind of customer service you…

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HAPIfork of the Future

Tom Novak

The HAPIforkWhat’s a HAPIfork? The $100 HAPIfork was announced at CES 2013 and received wide media coverage ranging from Tech Crunch to  Consumer Reports to ABC News and beyond.  The chunky techno-fork lets you keep track of how many bites you take and how fast you take them, encouraging you to slow down your pace of eating.  Why slow down? Andrew Carton, president of Hapi Labs tells us that “eating too fast and insufficient mastication has been tied to all sorts of problems, including acid reflux and weight gain” (PC Magazine).

Technology Laws and Forks.  The HAPIfork is at the vanguard of networked utensils 1.0.  As we enter the era of the Internet of Things, we can expect devices like the HAPIfork will evolve. But how? Five technology laws give us some clues:

  1. Moore’s Law – processing power will double every 18-24 months
  2. Gilder’s Law – communications…

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