Prototyping digital services for smart buildings: a user-centered process for early stage development

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Perustieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Human-Computer Interaction and Design
Degree programme
Master's Programme in ICT Innovation
68 + 11
Smart buildings offer a dynamic and heterogeneous context for innovation. A significant amount of data is generated through the Internet of Things (IoT), which provides a platform for developing novel applications for modern living and working spaces. Occupants and people managing buildings may benefit from value-added services, made possible by adequately manipulating raw data from already available systems such as lighting and HVAC. Retrofitting old buildings with new technologies broadens this possibility even further. However, this potential value in buildings is not counterbalanced by accessible processes to design, validate, and develop new services. Quick validation of new ideas is crucial in avoiding wasting resources and elevating only promising services to the subsequent stages of development. This thesis investigates development processes to design smart building services, considering user experience (UX) practices. It aims to understand how to specify the knowledge of user-centered design inside the smart building domain. The scope is set around the initial phases of development, starting with idea generation and ending with proof-of-concept (POC) validation. Through action research, an exploratory study has been carried out on the current and possible use of user-centered methodologies. The implementation of four use cases for data-enabled services in intelligent spaces has informed the study, along with a literature review on the macro areas of user research (UR), prototyping, and data visualization. Based on the findings of the analysis, a methodology for validating services targeting people who manage spaces is proposed. Future research directions are also recommended to study the proposed approach further.
Nieminen, Marko
Thesis advisor
Nasir, Omar
user-centered, prototypes, user interfaces, smart buildings, design process, data visualization
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