Archives: January 2016

Future of Design. Ben featured in DesignWeek


Ben was invited by DesignWeek  magazine to contribute to their Future of Design series which launched today.

Agencies from various design industry sectors were asked to say a few sage words on how they saw their specialism shaping up in 2016. This is what he had to say.

“Recent technological developments in data analytics, the internet of things and 3D printing, have meant that product designers are suddenly empowered with many new opportunities to explore and exploit.

2015 was all about measurement and this is going to continue this year. The excitement surrounding the endless possibilities that are facilitated by data analytics has led to an explosion of devices centred on the quantified-self: exercise, hydration, sleep and diet are now all commonplace activities we track.

Who knows what will come next in the £6 billion mobile health monitoring market? We’re thinking propositions for the bedroom, bathroom and living spaces. Devices driven by the Internet of Things will flood the market with products coming from both the start-up community and to a lesser degree from the tier-one brands, which are still tentatively looking to explore how they can drive mass market volumes and, more importantly, differentiate their products in a sea of connected peripherals.

3D printing is not new but the technology is evolving rapidly, costs are falling and we are hopeful that in 2016 the technology will breakout from its current geek-niche market, into the mass market. If it does, it will present a serious manufacturing option for creative, innovative and fast-moving consumer brands looking for faster time-to-market and higher levels of consumer personalisation.”

Click through to the full article to see what the Rodd team felt was the standout product launch in 2015.

Visit the DesignWeek website.

Read the Future of Design series here.


Mindfulness. 2016 Trends


This is the world of the Quantified Self where almost everything that can be measured – is measured!

Exercise, hydration, sleep and diet are all commonplace activities we track – so what’s next for the $9Billion mobile health monitoring market?

CES was alive with health sensor propositions, from Smart Bra’s to UV monitoring skin patches, but we think that mental wellbeing or ‘mindfulness’ (ironically perhaps, given the already not insignificant draw on our ‘head space’) is the next thing that Millennials will be exploring via their smart phone in 2016.

Think of apps as a gym for the mind, Headspace – described as ‘meditation made simple’. Pause by UsTwo is described as relaxation at your fingertips. Combine this with CES sensation, Muse, and you can have a connected mindfulness moment whenever the mood takes you.

Naturally, for the quantified selfer, there are stats on how many meditations you do per week, how long they were and what kind.

After all there’s no point in relaxing if you can’t document it.

To read more of our 2016 trend blogs click here.

To receive Intouch our monthly trend, technology and materials round up click here.

To discover how Rodd could help your business to use trends to inform product development click here.

 


Rise of the robots. 2016 Trends


We predict that 2016 will bring robots with personality.

Many reports forecast that there will be over 25 billion devices connected to the internet, most of them built for home by the end of the year – but what will link it altogether I hear you say?

Historically we have seen the Robot as a domestic helper rather than an ‘emotional companion’ – perhaps the sarcastic and witty Siri was the turning point of modern artificial intelligence. The next generation of ‘softer’ AI/robots will play more of a central role, helping people interact with multiple-smart home connected devices (auto-piloting is already a tech trend being used to describe this kind of interaction) and more importantly, increasingly personalised through the robot’s artificial intelligence.

Olly, is one such new-age robot by London based tech startup Emotech. Their concept, an emotional companion and smart assistant, that develops its own personality based on its interaction with you.

Emotech founder, Hongbin Zhuang, discussed his plans for Olly with us –

“Olly will mean that you can have a more balanced, natural interaction with technology, while also using smart scheduling and nuanced contextual notifications to motivate your learning, creativity, productivity and wellbeing. Olly is also your smart home hub to integrate and simplify the process of interacting with internet of things devices at home.”

The underlying OS for Olly is based on Android. The team intends to release a software development kit to expand the functions their device will be able to offer — so they’re envisaging an app store model helping to grow Olly’s utility with the help of outside developers.

So for now at least, let’s assume that the after dark relationships between your table robot, PayPal and your Amazon Dash button is going to be the start of a beautiful new friendship!

To read more of our 2016 trend blogs click here.

To receive Intouch our monthly trend, technology and materials round up click here.

To discover how Rodd could help your business to use trends to inform product development click here.


Life in the fast lane for retail. 2016 Trends


Bricks and mortar retail brands are actively at work on reducing time ‘in line’ in stores, having identified that customers spend 16% of their time in-store queuing, with only 0.6% of those adding to their baskets during this time.

Couple with this the explosion of service delivery apps, talk of goods being drone-dropped, ride hailing the norm,and contactless payment becoming commonplace, we wonder how things will play out for retail brands now that their customers are becoming increasingly demanding.

Expect time and attention poor consumers to demand their favoured brands to offer them 100% digital attention, fast-laning them through to the crux of their service offer using ever more accurate artificial intelligence. They will provide instant real time customer support, and engage (and distract) concierge solutions for situations when queuing is inevitable.

To read more of our 2016 trend blogs click here.

To receive Intouch our monthly trend, technology and materials round up click here.

To discover how Rodd could help your business to use trends to inform product development click here.


Concierge services will increase. 2016 Trends


2016 could be the first year you could get by comfortably without leaving your home… but if you do have to leave, the multitude of app based concierge services will make life as effortless as possible.

Uber, the service that’s disrupting the taxi industry, is a well-known example that’s risen to prominence in recent years. It further simplifies the already easytask of taking a taxi by removing any lingering hassles that may have existed like not having any cash to hand, having to wait at a taxi rank or not knowing how much the ride will cost beforehand.

The company is now applying the same thinking to its just launched spin out, UberEats. Same idea just applied to take away food.

There’s plenty more of them out there. Instacart will do your weekly food shop for you and deliver it while you’re at work, Dufl will store a suitcase of clothes and more for you in a virtual closet and deliver it to wherever you’re staying for a trip before you arrive. It then collects it again and keeps it until you travel next time.

One thing all of these services have in common is that they don’t own any stores or employ staff in the conventional sense. Uber owns no Taxis, Instacart owns no shops, they’re simply apps that connect people who need a service with people who can provide it.

To read more of our 2016 trend blogs click here.

To receive Intouch our monthly trend, technology and materials round up click here.

To discover how Rodd could help your business to use trends to inform product development click here.


The growth of artificial intelligence. 2016 Trends


So what will 2016 mean for the growth of artificial intelligence?

Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Echo all currently provide hand free usability and interaction across a range of portable devices. Its something that we’ll no doubt be seeing more of over the next year as this technology becomes more sophisticated and appropriate to a wider range of products.

Historically our view of robots have either been a dark, controlling forces such as HAL 9000, or clumsy, comedic characters performing weird tasks for the media like Honda’s Asimo. However,  consumer attitudes are changing.

According to a recent survey 85% of people believe that in the next 5 years wearable artificial intelligence companions will become commonplace. In addition, around 30% of people reportedly would feel more comfortable discussing personal issues, particularly medical, with an AI instead of a human and trust its fidelity towards sensitive matters.

The beginnings of this are already occurring and 2016 will no doubt see this develop much further.

To read more of our 2016 trend blogs click here.

To receive Intouch our monthly trend, technology and materials round up click here.

To discover how Rodd could help your business to use trends to inform product development click here.

 


Democratisation of technology. 2016 Trends


With technology getting ever cheaper it becomes more and more accessible to a wider audience.

The democratisation of technology goes far beyond affordability though. Googles Project Loon aims to provide globally accessible free internet from a connected network of balloons floating around the earth, whilst Facebook is currently testing drones to provide a similar service.

Wider access to the internet opens a number of doors. In particular, improved communication, freedom of speech through social media and access to knowledge and new technologies.

Some specific technologies that are moving from industry to mass market are also contributing to this democratisation. 3D printing and electronics like Arduino and Raspberry Pi, the cheapest computer ever, are becoming more accessible to users of all ages, background and cultures.

With projects like these and the increased impetus to provide wider access to the internet, in both developed and undeveloped parts of the world, people and places are going to become more connected and empowered than ever before.

To read more of our 2016 trend blogs click here.

To receive Intouch our monthly trend, technology and materials round up click here.

To discover how Rodd could help your business to use trends to inform product development click here.


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Welcome to our Rodd blog. This is where you will find all the latest design project releases, news from the industry, our trend and show reports as well as the inside track on life in and around the Rodd studio.

Rodd Design is a privately owned industrial design and innovation studio formed in 2000 by Tim Rodd and Ben Davies, focused on delivering the highest quality creative work and commercially effective product design.

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