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This page provides an overview of different work and results from our research project.

Shop & Play – Select and configure online. Unbox at home and use immediately!


Nowadays users have to face many decisions when buying a smart home system. First of all, it is about recognizing specific needs of individual or several people in the household who are to be addressed by a Smart Home System. As soon as consumers have defined their own requirements, they take a decision about a particular technical solution – the final smart home system. But in order to make a final and appropriate decision, the user has to work through a great variety of often incompatible technical solutions. After purchase, the next step is the installation and configuration of the Smart Home System in the building, combined with further decisions about the use cases to be implemented.

„Current Smart Home Systems are designed by engineers for engineers. Our approach was designed and developed to help end-users getting at distance to technology in using technology to ensure user friendliness. We also want to guide the user from specific use cases and needs to an individual Smart Home solution“, so Philippe Hennes, Sr. Product Owner Innovations of the peak lab, says. Our Smart Home Shop & Play approach solves these problems as the possible users issues are treated and solved already during the ordering process:

  • Selection of specific requirements: lightening, room climate, security, comfort and analysis
  • Selection of pre-defined scenarios for managing and automatization of the Smart Home System
  • Adjusting the Smart Home components concerning requirements and selected scenarios – independent of the given architectural situation
  • Order and delivery of the pre-paired and pre-configured Smart Home System (ready to play)

After the components have been received, the user should only position these in the designated rooms and switch them on. The pairing of the modules and configuration download happens automatically in the background so that the system is ready-to-use immediately.

The Smart Home Shop and Play basically consists of three components:

  • Order process with CRM to gather and store requirements and scenarios, further order and payment information as well as logistics data
  • ProSyst mPRM von Bosch Software Innovations for administration and maintenance of configuration profiles and scenarios via the cloud as well as well for managing the Smart Home gateways and their software at the user’s home
  • Smart Home Gateway is responsible for inter-connectivity between the components, the communication to mPRM, update of components with firmware (OSGi) and scenarios (from the cloud)

The ordering process is implemented as a White Label Web Application and provides an interactive user interface in order to create a suitable configuration in a fast and easy way.


open.DASH – A flexible and individual information and retrieval tool for Smart Home Data

Digitalization gets more and more part of the daily life in our homes. Intelligent devices, sensors and actuators help us to learn more about our environment and activities at home, but they generate a huge amount of data. These data can be visualized for various use cases like e.g. energy efficiency, comfort or security. In addition, the information can help to identify new automatization potentials. The user needs are very specific and individual. They depend on a variety of different factors. So, there’s a big challenge for the visualization of Smart Home Data: Every user needs an individual solution which helps to adapt to personal information requirements and allows the user to explore their personal home.

open.DASH offers the possibility to customize and configure the Smart Home Interface to a huge variety of user specific requirements and demands. open.DASH operates as a hybride tool: Many elements for data-visualization are already pre-defined and ready to use, like e.g. widgets for displaying the energy consumption. The user can leave them as they are or adjust them according to his own needs. Like using a construction kit, consumers can arrange their own dashboard. Step by step they can create their own visualizations, explore data and add those visualizations to their dashboard. Our open.DASH dashboard system is independent of the most available Smart Home technology. For a variety of existing sensors and actuators interfaces are available in order to support universal integration in our system.

  • Pre-defined visualization elements for simple creation of smart home data views
  • Possibility to explore data and design individual visualizations independently

In cooperation with households that already use smart home systems, we elaborated data specific needs and potential value adds. In workshops and interviews we identified common and overlapping demands of end-users, for whom we could create and implement pre-defined widgets, that have been tested and evaluated in practice. In the context of a two-stage usability test an assistant module was developed and iteratively improved – supporting end-users now to create their own individualized visualizations.


Virtual Showroom – is tackling all your questions about Smart Home!


Our everyday life is more and more influenced by technology -smart home is the next step for everyone and everywhere! However, many concerns and a remarkable reservation dominates among customers and consumers. Prior to the decision to make your home smart, knowing what this so called smartness actually means, is crucial.

What is a so called smart home?
How does it work?
And most important: What can it do for me?

In cooperation with users, participating in our Living Lab in Siegen, we investigated how to design the topic “smart home for end users” in a more comprehensive way and evaluated the best balance of requirements and content. Participants were asked to evaluate the most suitable way to communicate the topic smart home – for this, they read information, clicked through an interactive showroom and watched a movie. Furthermore we developed interesting and useful examples how to apply smart home products. The result is a virtual showroom with an interplay of movie, interaction and information especially for smart home greenhorns and interested parties.

A student work by Annika Placke and Xiaoyu Wang (Master HCI), Advisor: Corinna Ogonowski and Timo Jakobi.


Competitor analysis – smart home products in Germany


The analysis of smart home products for the German market provides an overview of currently available products and systems. It focus on application and use cases of such products, compatibility and controlling, provided product portfolios of sensors and actuators, standards in data transmission, software functionalities, data storage, conformity of standards, usability and investment costs.

A joint study of the funded projects SmartLive und UUIS – Living Lab Energy & Environment, carried out by ASEW (December 2015). Only available in German.


Energy Perception – taste, feel, see, hear and smell power

Showroom Energy Perception

In most households and businesses, energy consumption is usually restricted to reading the amount of kWhs used which, for most consumers, is represented simply as a figure without value. Within the scope of this work, ideas were collected as to how energy consumption could be presented to end users in a way that would help them to comprehend the amount of energy consumed. The result was a showroom, the aim of which was to provide inspiration for end users to understand and actually feel the concept of energy consumption. First, the user selects one of four different categories. Each category incorporates various ideas and suggestions which visual, auditory, haptic, gustatory and olfactory alternatives exist to describe the category and therefore to represent energy consumption.

A student work by Sebastian Römer, Lucas Schühle and Yvonne Drymala (Master HCI), Advisor: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens.


Ambient Tree – conception and realization of ambient furnishing to represent energy-awareness in the home

In many areas of product development, the gap between consumers and the environment is increasingly being bridged. The constant reminder of the consequences of environmental pollution and the extravagance of humans is a subject which has been increasingly addressed by the media. The opportunity to switch to products which are ecologically beneficial has led to greater awareness among consumers. These constant reminders are crucial to design processes, for even though we know that human misconduct can cause serious damage to the environment, our daily behavioural patterns prove that we consume resources such as water, gas and electricity as if we had infinite quantities at our disposal. The objective of this work was to design an eco-feedback-system which blends in with the living ambience and communicates energy consumption to the consumer in a way which encourages greater awareness and enables a better understanding of energy use. Ideally, this then leads to a positive change of behaviour benefitting the environment.

Master thesis by Anida Multiliovic for the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) program, Advisor: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens.

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