Technology has become a fundamental part of the fabric of our lives. It’s taking over our house, cities and cars. It defines how we travel, date and connect to friends and family.
The always connected smartphone was as a firestarter. It created the fabric for a lot of services to build upon. It’s the device you take to the bathroom and bedroom. It’s the screen between you and your partner.
While smartphones brought us here, they won’t take us to the next step.
The future is this magic symbioses of smart devices and services all around you.
It’s your car remembering who you are. It’s the friendly voice reminding you not to forget to bring the gym clothes for your kids, again.
It’s technology as a layer that is omnipresent, device independent.
Finally everything becomes smart… right?
Unfortunately we all know this isn’t happening. The open view that brought us the web is gone. Closed systems and vertical integration won. They succeeded in bringing us the best user experience. Think about Amazon, Apple or Tesla. Total control is awesome, right?
But this doesn’t really scale, does it?
Apple can’t build all the technology you want to use in your life, even if you would like it to. The reality of a lot of connected devices and services that surround you all day is much more complex be controlled by just one company.
The next level is open-closed relations. Where you design a great singular experience while offering services from partners, integrated while separated.
And since you will need each other at different moments the relationship is not a winner defines all.
To make it worse, the experience is moving from a single private device to a range of different interfaces being used at different moments in time, some will have screens, some will be public, others will just use voice, or sensors and can be private.
The main question is. How do we design for these open-closed relations?
I don’t know the answer, but I do want to find out.
I believe that design for these complex ecosystems of closed companies is one of the most challenging design problems we will face in the next years.
Towards SXSW I will interview designers on how they are approaching this problem. At SXSW I will present the findings and a framework how we can design for these situations.
If you like this idea, please vote on it when voting opens.