A survey about internet of things (IoT): What does IoT mean to industrial design students

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Conference Proceeding

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The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is not new. The first traceable practical application of the IoT technology was a vending machine, which reports the condition of the beverages inside, developed by Carnegie Mellon University in 1982 [1]. It was a simple system with simple sensors, compared to today's extremely sophisticated IoT applications. Since its first conception, IoT came a long way in consumer products and industrial applications. Numerous research projects have been conducted; and, countless research papers have been published. IoT gained momentum in recent years and became one of the hottest topics in the Industrial Design (ID) discipline. IoT transformed the way once acceptable design methodologies into obsolete. New design disciplines started to emerge to solve complex information architecture problems. The consumer market is experiencing a growth of products that work by networking things with sensors. House appliances with sophisticated sensors help owners by carrying out house chores. Autonomous homes control indoor climate while the owners are not present. Smart devices even feed pets and play with them while their owners are at work or out of town. As the demand for skilled designers is increasing in the industry, it is not a surprise that the IoTrelated courses started to emerge in the ID curriculums. The interconnectivity of products is becoming a standard in the product development process rather than an option; consequently, companies look for designers who can conceptualize such products. This paper asks the vital question, perhaps as a self-criticizing way: Are we ready to address the demand when potential employers ask for a new breed of designers who are capable of designing interconnected products? The authors of this paper investigated this question by conducting mixed methodology research with ID students on all levels. Their focus was to understand whether the ID students were aware of the technology, its implications, and future impacts on the ID discipline. 68 ID students from Syracuse University participated in this research by answering a questionnaire, which is being presented in the Appendices of this paper. Findings are presented in the Results section; and, future recommendations are presented in the Discussions section of this paper.

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

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