Polargraph Energy Monitor product development

Following on from the work I did for Matt Venn last month (awards submission & quick ideas for energy visualisation patterns) this time I elaborated on the service aspect of the Polargraph Energy Monitor* addressing the following key questions: (This is the result of a quick half a day brainstorm and first wire frames just to get thoughts and conversation going)

*For the ones who wonder what a Polargraph is? It’s a drawing robot. It visualises energy in the home using pen and paper. It’s like a developing art work on the living room or kitchen wall. Once it’s more refined the level of detail of the drawing can be quite fine and graphical (like to be seen on polargraph.co.uk). It knows the houses energy usage receiving it from the energy meter using an open energy monitor

  • What’s the experience like when people receive their monitor by post?
  • How do they set it up?
  • What’s the experience of their first drawing?
  • How and when are they encouraged to change to a different pattern (to keep it exciting)?
  • How to encourage the sharing of learning and close the community/feedback loop?
  • What happens when supplied paper runs out?
  • What happens with finished sheets?
  • How long (how many days) does the Polargraph draw on one sheet?
  • What happens in case of malfunction or incorrect setup with energy meter?
  • How do customers hear about the energy Monitor?
  • Where can people buy it from and how do they hear about it?
Ideas for unboxing, setup and first drawing.
First version of wire frames (PDF) for the website with content priorities of:
1. What is the Polargraph?
2. What do people do and say who have one?
3. Ohh patterns! (and how do they come about?)
4. How can I get one?

Problem areas/ open questions still to be figured out:

1. Instant internet connection – To instantly start drawing after unpacking the two components are already set up to converse on their own wireless network. When the pattern shall be changed, it then needs to access  and connect to a local wifi in the home.  This process of connecting it to the router needs to be as easy and painless as possible.

2. Local or also online (patchube) tracking of energy data – it doesn’t need to be recorded online to work, but once it’s setup to a local internet connection, it may be worth to do it. This would allow pre-viewing patterns based on your real energy data (average or the last day) when deciding to update to a new pattern.

3. Online account – Online accounts are created everywhere. Would it be easier to have the physical object marked with ID and password for identification or would this just be an unconventional confusion?

4. Community feel – it would be lovely to have a community feel around the product of people sharing drawings, their learning and overall progression. But is it necessary? What’s the link with social media or #tags?

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