Hardware design, UX Design    |    ge appliances   |    solidworks, adobe xd  |    2019
iOV
I began this as a side project while working at GE Appliances, in the interest of identifying an untapped area of the smart appliance market. This project was an incredible learning experience in terms of diving deep into a presumably already saturated market, and making the case to introduce yet another smart appliance into it. The end result finds a place that appeals to the future of the industry and predicted consumer needs of the future.
Connection in the kitchen.
The challenge
Living spaces are becoming smaller, yet the offerings in consumer appliances continue to grow. Many new appliances appeal to niche use case and only offer one specific function. What this can lead to is an over abundance of single use-case appliances that regularly go unused and take up space. How can we consolidate several kitchen appliances in one convenient package?
My role
I defined the need in the market and targeted the consumers who would most likely benefit from such a system. Ultimately, this resulted in a system centered around a smart piece of hardware that replaces core kitchen faucet functionality, and then some. To tie it all together, iOV app tracks your usage trends for a more informed experience.
Design Goal
Identify opportunities to reduce the clutter that comes with traditional consumer appliance offerings. Explore options that appeal to the future of the consumer appliance industry.
1
Identify
Discovering trends in the consumer appliances market led to a unique opportunities for design solutions. An indepth market analysis revealed an open area for innovation in space of utilities, as most new appliance offerings appeal to a novel or niche use. Further, while small appliance offerings are on the uptick, home sizes (especially in the kitchen) are trending downwards.
Market analysis
An opportunity was revealed to design a "general use" device that appealed to utility over novelty.
Surveys
Many respondents indicated that they own several kitchen appliances that they no longer use, and regularly lacked countertop space.
2
Define
The initial discovery research led to some interesting areas for innovation, however, in the interest of meeting the definition of appealing to kitchen utility, one component stood out above all others. The kitchen faucet represents a potential for a hub for consolidation of other appliances. Replacing the faucet won't necessarily add more to the consumer's kitchen, but can declutter if executed correctly.
Exploring user behavior
Exploring user behavior around the kitchen faucet led to several insights - namely, tasks and appliances can be categorized into actions, utilities, and novelties. Utilities are the core components of any kitchen (the sink, ice maker, or refrigerator, for instance). Novelties describe the additional components that one might use for a specific task (soda makers, coffee makers, etc.).
actions
Sometimes a simple task like this can require the user to move all over the kitchen to complete, hoping that no spills or overfills are encountered along the way.
utilities
The "core of the kitchen" is a smaller area for new product innovation, yet the ability to wash dishes, clean produce, or otherwise use a readily-available water source is a necessity that will always remain in the kitchen.
novelties
New kitchen products usually appeal to an entertainment, novel or otherwise niche use. Unfortunately these are usually the first products to end up forgotten, left to collect dust and occupy valuable countertop or storage space.
Defining MVP
Replacing a kitchen sink carries many implications, the most obvious being that it must do all the things that a kitchen faucet would normally do. Customers would expect that a replacement of their kitchen faucet be able to do all the things they are used to.
Personas
Based on the innovative factor of this new product, the ideal consumer would be open-minded and welcoming of new technologies. They can be found on the spectrum of the early adopter to the minimalist.
3
Ideate
The initial discovery research led to some interesting areas for innovation, however, in the interest of meeting the definition of appealing to kitchen utility, one component stood out above all others. The kitchen faucet represents a potential for a hub for consolidation of other appliances. Replacing the faucet won't necessarily add more to the consumer's kitchen, but can declutter if executed correctly.
The vision
An innovation in the kitchen means that style options and use cases are fairly well-defined by industry standards. Though this is product intends to disrupt the market, it must also be able to fit into a user's existing kitchen, both stylistically and functionally.
"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it."

Mark Weiser, 1991, The Computer of the 21st Century
4
Iterate & Test
Iteration
Ideation resulted in several viable options. After some analysis, option 3 was determined best suited for the target personas and market gap.
1
2
3
User testing
Concept 3 was 3D printed, attached to a sink basin, and presented to user for quick usability testing.
5
Realize
The whole package
The bulk of iOV remains out of sight and under the counter. Modular units contain both the ice maker and custom beverage concentrates, while an individual water line connects to the tap.
Durable construction, and a flexible mounting system.
Full ABS construction withstands the test of time, and an adjustable spacer on the bottom provides access for the various hoses and water lines. A flexible mounting system will mount seamlessly to any sink basin.
3 spray settings.
Embrace syncs with mobile devices, so you can check in wherever you might be, and whenever you want to.
Stream
Spray
Waterfall
All the functionality of a faucet, and then some.
A mobile wand sprayer hides itself away while not in use, yet is quick to accommodate single-handed use, with adjustable pressure and temperature settings.
Smart interaction.
iOV will dispense water, ice, or your favorite beverage in many different ways, appealing to different use cases.
One-Touch
Proximity
Remote
Out of sight, out of mind.
Modular under the counter units support different ice and beverage types. With these universal units, you can change the contents as you wish.
Drink what you want.
Replaceable concentrate will keep your glasses filled.
6
Syncing with mobile
Connection in the kitchen.
In taking this product past the point of minimum viability, I decided a connected feature will improve accessibility and convenience, and provide a unique opportunity to connect to a larger system.
No more missing the not-so-critical moments.
Ideally, iOV will find its place among every aspect of the user's life. No more waiting. No more clutter. And, perhaps most importantly, no more missing the not-so-critical moments.
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Overview
Research
Ideate
User Testing
Realize
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Designed and built by Benton Humphreys. © 2020