Vision of Storing is a case study that examines the ecosystem around food, shopping and life in 2025

Challenge

How will people live and interact with their home appliances in 2025? Exploring the future kitchen and living spaces based on social, technological and behavioral changes around food. The Case Study was then brought down to a concept for the future living.

How will our environment change in the year 2025? What impact will a changing mindset and evolving technology have on our behavior around food?

More than 60% of the world's population will live in urban areas. The infrastructure will improve fundamentally, allowing megacities and medium-sized cities to flourish and become smart cities. Increasing urbanisation allows the new purchasing philosophy to apply to food as well. Therefore, we will increasingly order and have food delivered online, whether from home or on the road. The physical act of shopping, becomes an experience of learning and discovering. This leads to a dynamic everyday life in the future. An increasing need for individualization is creating new forms of communities, collaborations and cooperations. The behavior around food will continue to change. Consumers want to decide for themself what to eat, when, how and where. In addition to the desire for healthy food, the type of production is also becoming more important. Home grown products is nothing new, but is increasingly gaining interest in urban space.

How might we create a system that supports the user in his everyday life and adapts to the environment?

With the growing range of food delivery services, the question on how we will store food in the future arises. The refrigerator is a central point in food storage. Influenced by generations, it offers plenty of space for sufficient food. It needs a lot of energy, even if we have very little in stock. It's not adapting to the needs. But if food can be ordered at shorter intervals in the future and the demand changes due to flexible lifestyles, why do we still need so much space in the refrigerator?

Design Values for rethinking storage systems and the service built around

Solution

A Service desgined for the flexible and modern living

The vision focuses on an innovative storage system. This storage system is designed for the dynamic everyday life of people ordering food primarily online. The system gives the user an overview of his stocks. It simplifies the ordering process through intelligent suggestions and learning user behavior.

Customer Journey – Stages using Vision of Storing
Product Experience

We believe that storage systems must adapt to people and their specific needs in order to meet the requirements. Our solution follows a modular and integrative approach to meet those needs. The basis of the system consists of a wall panel and a module box. The module box is operated inductively via the panel. The module boxes represent the storage area and can be used as required.

Overview and Inspiration

Sensors record tagged products to provide the user with information such as the expiration date. At the same time, the system uses the information for automated, food-specific storage. The overview of stored food and the control of the module boxes is given through the integrated touch screen or external devices, for example a smartphone or language assistants. With the mobile application, the user can check stocks and place orders at any time.

Process

User Research

To get an insight into the practice of how users store their food and how they handle the deliveries, we've continuously conducted interviews and user tests. Starting with observations and simple paper and Lego prototypes, we later on tested with small cardboard boxes how users might interact with the modules. This gave us information about the sizes of the modules and the arrangement users prefer. The users arranged their modules very differently. Unhealthy - healthy, cold meals - hot meals or even a module for each memeber in the household.

Gathering insights into users imagination
Turning ideas into Prototypes
Observing users testing rapid prototypes
Bringing the prototype to full size
Technical Research

Based on the idea of developing a multifunctional, modular and wireless cooling product, we talked to the "Fraunhofer Institute Stuttgart" to find out how magnetocaloric cooling works. The magnetocaloric effect and its most straightforward application, magnetic refrigeration, are topics of current interest due to the potential improvement of energy efficiency of cooling and temperature control systems, in combination with other environmental benefits associated to a technology that does not rely on the compression/expansion of harmful gases.

[Franco, 2017]
Wall Panel and Modulebox - Construction

Learnings

Designing a service for the future living is based on trustworthy references and hypotheses. It requires a lot of desk and user research to build those hypotheses and challenging them, but even more visualisation skills to explain your idea to users and your teammates. Achieving the right balance between innovation and feasibility is what appeals most. I learned a lot about business models and calculating the project since it was part of the course design management. During this project I was strongly involved in trend and user research, preparing and conducting user testings as well as turning the insights into requirements and principles.

Student project together with Steffen Bendel and Dominik Minet. Nominadet for the Siemens Home Appliances Award 2018.

References

Franco, V. (2017): Magnetocaloric effect: From materials research to refrigeration devices, [online]