Sprint Story: Smart Home Sprint

With the Toon API by Eneco

This is a story about a GV style design sprint. If you’ve never heard of this, you can learn more here.

Europe’s leading smart thermostat platform Toon® just opened up its API on toonapi.com. Toon is now accessible to developers, designers, startups, corporates and universities to re-imagine smart home and energy solutions. With this community, Toon wants to create smart home apps, serving its 250.000 (and counting) households of Eneco’s Toon.

So a thermostat API; do developers actually care to use this? Eneco asked us to help them reach the tech community; to make developers excited to work with their API. Challenge accepted. In one sprint we created a TV prototype we tested live at a technology conference — the best critical crowd you could think of.

The challenge

In the ambition to create a vibrant developers community, Toon wants to inspire their growing community with some cool demo apps. As they weren’t closely connected to the tech-community, they came to us and we decided to run a Sprint.

Goals of our Smart Home Sprint

Our goal was to deliver a proof of concept that would show the value of the Toon API; creating tomorrow’s smart homes. We decided to do this by showcasing the API possibilities through a killer demo app that inspires developers to start creating apps themselves. We would use all the possibilities the smart thermostat had to offer; its heating plan, temperature control, energy data and smart devices such as Philips Hue lights, a smart plug and smoke sensor.

Target group for demo app

When starting this sprint, we knew the TNW Conference Europe 2016 was coming up, and Eneco planned to set up a stand. TNW Conference attracts a tech savvy and entrepreneurial crowd, that would not be shy to express their opinion. To gather some traction, we prototyped on a TV and decided to conduct some live customer testing at the conference (more on this later). Our primary target group were developers, startups and corporate innovation managers — highly educated and innovative. As a secondary group we envisioned the actually end-user of the smart home apps, the smart home consumers— medior/highly educated, 18–49 yrs, 60% male.

Sprint team

For our sprint we at Go Weekly teamed up with the Eneco team. Our team consisted of Sieuwert van Otterloo, IT expert (Eneco), Juriaan Seveke, Business Development (Eneco), Bianca Anastacia, Proposition Manager (Eneco), Maarten van den Heuvel, Head of Arts & Crafts (Go Weekly), and myself, Tim Gouw, Head of Tales & Stories (Go Weekly). By having Eneco closely involved, we had access to the right teams and were able to move fast. Also, our goal was to teach them how to conduct sprints themselves in the future.

Building the prototype

As always, we used Sketch for the screens and artwork in combination with our favourite prototype app Marvel.

The winning concept includes a highly visual app designed for Apple’s tvOS. It functions as a down-to-earth interface for your home, where the temperature is just one of the variables in the setup for the perfect room experience.

More about the concept can be read here.

The final prototype can be viewed here.

Customer testing

As mentioned, to gather user feedback we displayed the prototypes at the Eneco stand on TNW Conference Europe 2016 in Amsterdam. Real smartphones were used to allow people to directly interact with the apps. The TNW Conference attracts roughly 20,000 visitors, what gave us a fairly decent test crowd.

Demo stand at TNW Conference

What’s next?

Our client Eneco already decided to further develop the concept for other devices. And hopefully more sprints will follow. Actually, the team came up with so many exciting ideas that we decided to mini-sprint (making storyboard and prototype) those as well.

Check them out below.

Wake up — Let your home do the heavy lifting
Wake Up is a simple alarm clock with an additional feature. It can be connected to a TOON thermostat using the new Toon API. When the alarm goes off, it automatically switches your thermostat to ‘home’ making sure your house is heating up and your first coffee of the day is being made, while you are getting up. Let your home do the heavy lifting. Waking up is hard enough as it is.
The app can be used without a Toon. In this case it functions as a basic alarm clock. A beta version is already available for Android.
Warm Welcome — Your home ready upon arrival
Smartphone interface (iPhone & Android)
Smartwatch interface
Warm Welcome is designed for people with a Toon thermostat. The app uses geofencing and connected mobility apps such as Uber to see when you leave or return home. It asks you wether you want to turn On or Off the heating. This saves energy and yet gives you more comfort. The app uses the new open API which let apps operate the thermostat in a safe and responsible way.
In addition to the On and Off feature the app allows you to view the current temperature, target temperature and current status. After installing the app you can use your Eneco account to connect the app with your thermostat.

Go Weekly is a lightweight strategic partner for your innovation. We translate trends and ideas into a digital prototype in one week.

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