Connected Retail Product

Prototype Development

Unilever is one of the world’s biggest retail brands, responsible for producing thousands of the most familiar household products in the UK and globally. They wanted to create a small and very simple wireless device that would drive product sales, maintain brand loyalty, and save their customers time.

Why us?

Unilever’s software partner, Solid State Group approached us to help them fulfil the brief. We had the relevant experience they needed in developing connected devices, dealing with ecosystems that consist of very complex data architectures, and miniaturising electronics.

How we worked together

Solid State led on the back-end, web and mobile infrastructure, and we led on developing the hardware, firmware and device user experience. The product was developed in close collaboration in three stages. We started at the systems level, using development boards and system mock-ups to develop and validate the system.

Once we knew what the system involved, we moved on to stage two. This involved using APIs to integrate the wireless device securely with third party e-commerce systems, miniaturising the electronics and the device itself, working on user experience, and fixing the bugs in the system. Besides providing a sufficiently fast user experience, we needed to make sure that the final device used minimal power to ensure long battery life.

In the final phase we delivered a batch of 150 trial devices for Unilever to test their business case and plan for the roll out of the products.

Relevant product development expertise

  • Connected products
  • Low power devices
  • Electronics design and miniaturisation
  • Product and industrial design
  • De-risking technology projects
  • Smart data processing
  • User testing
  • Design for manufacture

Results

Delivery of 150 user testing IoT devices for home trial.

Future

The next steps will be driven by thorough user testing feedback, with a view to tackling device scaling to high volume production.


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