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PDT was approached to create a home alert system from the ground up with two main objectives: keeping product costs down and making it user friendly and intuitive. Because our team was conceptualizing the entire system, we created story boards and user scenarios to map all critical elements, including: operating system, wireless protocol, necessary sensors, user setup scenarios, remote interaction requirements and more.
Posed with the challenge of creating an iconic look while meeting a very aggressive, low cost bill of material, we found inspiration in architectural elements that emit a friendly and unintimidating look, appealing to even the least tech-savvy user. “Form Implies Function” in this design solution as the form draws your attention to the main display area and directs your view down to the main input/output cord management. The hub and sensors share a family design language that communicates to the user that the elements interact with each other.
PDT designed the user experience for the entire iText system, including interaction via a mobile phone. Users can gesture to common menus, easily glance at the status of the entire system, eliminating the need for a HOME or MENU button. Large graphics, simple icons and custom alert sounds inform the user of changes to their environment while they are in the home even if they are not close to or in view of the hub.
PDT chose to leverage the Android operating system ported to a low end arm9 processor to cost reduce by avoiding licensing fees. The open platform gave our team the opportunity to create a unique user experience with a complete set of custom controls and integrated Zigbee communication. Our team saw the development through the circuit board design, mechanical engineering and low volume production and supported the program as the product went through FCC, PTCRB, and ETL approvals.
The customizable system is flexible to various user needs. As many as 8 sensors can be added up to 150ft away from the hub, enabling users to be informed of changes in temperature, moisture, motion, door or window openings, and power outages. The hub will run off battery power during a power loss. The system’s use of Android and unique interaction design make the iText Alert a distinctive offering in the home security and monitoring space.