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Emotional connections between products and services

Many consumer device manufacturers are shifting towards an integrated product-service approach. But it seems to me that all the excitement about the business model can sometimes diminish the quality of the user experience. A couple of the companies I spoke to at Mobile World Congress yesterday have put the user firmly in the centre of their product-service strategies.

Emporia, a producer of mobiles for seniors, has developed a smart way to connect families with emporiaME. It’s an iPhone or Android app that allows people to remotely connect with their love one’s emporia device (such as the emporiaCONNECT, below) to remotely edit the phone’s contacts, transfer images or add appointments to a calendar. It can even do a real-time slide show while they chat on speaker-phone. This is a great addition to emporia’s growing portfolio of senior devices and services, which include safety monitoring and emergency alerting platforms.

Emporia Connect

Withings* are the trendy grandad of connected objects, inspiring many of the self quantification device-service fusions that we see today. Their latest connected scales have some nifty features such as identifying family members from their weight and a very cute new activity tracker device is on the way. I was particularly taken by their Health Mate app though, its ‘butterfly’ (see below) is a lovely visualisation of progress in wellness levels. Like Nike Fuel it abstracts away from absolute measurements, to provide a more positive, motivation for users to improve their lifestyles.


Whether it’s connecting with a relative or staying healthy, it’s great to see that products and services can empower users to live better lives in a positive, unpatronising way.

*Fact of the day: it’s pronounced ‘why-things’

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About the author
Andrew Muir Wood Andrew Muir Wood is the co-chair of MEX. Andrew is particularly interested in how technology intersects with the human aspects of design. He brings a new perspective to MEX from his work in user experience strategy at Plan in London and his academic background at Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing, where his PhD thesis drew together perspectives from fashion and technology to understand the patterns and drivers of change in the design of consumer products. Web | Email
Posted on
26 February 2013
MWC 2013