Smart Energy Display
Problem: In 2010, many energy companies were (for various reasons) installing smart energy meters on their customers’ homes. One of the benefits of these smart meters was supposed to be better visibility for the homeowner into their own electricity use, but the homeowner had no interface into that information other than their monthly bill.
Project: Design an affordable display to live in the home as a supplement to a smart meter, that would help people understand and reduce their energy use.
Process: I came into this project after the main concept and design framework were created by an external agency. The general form factor and tone of the device were set already, but I worked closely with the product manager and the industrial designer to solidify and spec every pixel and behavior of the device. Essentially, I was tasked with bringing the design of the product from concept to execution, while upholding its original vision.
One of the challenges was the nature of the segmented LCD screen. I worked closely with the industrial designer and electrical engineers to ensure that all of the segments we wanted would all fit together, and that they could be reached by wires. Another challenge was that firmware development would take place overseas, so detailed specs were required.
Of course, with an interactive product, static specs can’t tell the whole story. Also, there were only two buttons on the hardware, so it was a challenge to gain clear access to all of the functionality with those limited soft controls. I created a prototype in Flash in order to test, iterate, and communicate the design.
Unfortunately, for business reasons, this product was never made. But I am very proud of the work the entire team put into this product.