So, the final pitch has been presented, we've met the client for the last time for now, held a meeting with Timo Poranen and a final meeting with Janne. We've provided YIT with a Final Package which contains everything there is to know about the project and its results. 

Therefore I decided to gather up some pictures I've taken throughout the months the project's been on. Some you've probably seen in the blog before, some are unseen - and unprofessional. Have fun! Also, the Final Pitch is here, go ahead and check it out too! 
Aaaaaaaaand the pictures! 
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This is what my browser basically looked like every time I worked. 20-tab-minimum here!
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One of the earlier meetings. Chau, Adnan and Kamil working on the very early features of the interface.
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Janne and Kamil posing with the super cool team t-shirts!
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We played with some legos..
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...and a little more legos...
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Later meetings, polishing the details with Chau and Tomas.
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Some very professional and important notes from the usability tests.
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Kamil with a Demola Jam creature.
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The group in New Factory Open 2013!
Anni
 
 
So, here are the final working hours: 
Adnan 109.5
Anni 135.5
Chau 111.5
Kamil 133.5
Tomas 153

In total we worked for 643 hours. 
 
 
It's time for the final pitch! We know you're interested, so here it is - the testable prototype of our Smart Housing application! Feel free to try it out, also feedback and comments are very welcome. Come and meet us at the pitching event. You'll recognize us by our awesome team t-shirts!

The link to the prototype:
http://tinyurl.com/smarthousing

BR,
(from left to right) Kamil, Anni, Tomas, Chau and Adnan, the Smart Housing team
 
 
What, where, when: Not a final meeting after all, Demola premises, Wednesday the 15th of May
On the blog today: Nay to a client meeting, aye to team meeting with unexpected turns of events
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Today we were prepared to meet with Juha Kostiainen from YIT for a lunch, but it turned out we were prepared for today, and Juha for Friday. Well, we still got a lot of things done, since though the project is getting closer to it's final, there's still a lot to do. We will have our final report done on Friday, the final Pitch will also have it's finishing touches, the information package for YIT is getting ready, the interface is as ready as it will be at least for this spring.

So, what we did today - we had a meeting with Janne and we finally signed our contracts. We did some iteration on the pitch scetch and came up with a compromise.



In the pic: Adnan explaining his view on the pitch slide, Kamil, Chau and Tomas listening. See how organized we are?

We also, surprisingly, held a brief presentation about our project for an European peer review group. We were asked to talk about the story behind our project: how we got selected for the group, where we are from, what have we done and what are our goals for the future. The group had a lot of good questions, the last one being "Do you watch Dragon's Den?"

The next meeting we'll have will probably be the last one during the course of this course. I'm thinking since the Final Pitch is coming up, the next blog entry will be the one where we'll finally reveal all that we have done. Well, not all, we've gotta keep some secrets for YIT, but you'll get the whole idea of our project!
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For the first time in the blog... The whole team! Tah-dah! Thanks to Janne for the pic.

Next Friday we'll meet with Juha and have lunch in The Grill! Sweet!


Working hours:
Adnan 21, so far 109.5
Anni 29.25, so far 118.25
Chau 41.5, so far 111.5
Kamil 32, so far 111.5
Tomas 15.5, so far 135.5
 
 
What, where, when: Interface usability tests, UTA usability lab, Friday the 3rd of May
On the blog today: Did I mention usability?
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Kamil & Tomas working in the lab
So, the time had come, there finally is a testable version of the interface, of which Tomas can take the credit for. We'we been working with Balsamiq, and the testing was also done by using Balsamiqs clever prototype-function. We basically just opened Balsamiq on the browser of a tablet computer and let the participant use the interface from a browser.

We started by a pilot test on Thursday to see if there was something to be changed before the actual tests on Friday, but to our luck there weren't any difficulties. We even got a screen recording of the test by taping my phone on a lamp and placing it over the tablet. We did have some luck - the memory of the phone filled just after we had finished the test and the interview, phew!

The pilot test went well and already from the one test alone we got some important information about the interface. The actual tests were implemented in the UTA usability lab in Pinni B. Tomas handled the interaction and interviews with the participants, and me and Kamil stayed in the other room and observed while handling the recordings. 

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The testing environment
I'm glad we arrived early to the lab - due to some unseen problems  there was more to arrange than I had been hoping for. The tablet didn't really want to cooperate, and kept changing the screen to a horizontal view, which we couldn't really approve because the product would have been untestable. Luckily the great team of computer geeks solved the problem by switching it off and back on again. And yes, I study computer sciences, why do you ask..? The lamps on the ceiling also caused some problems. The reflection was pretty bad even though the lights were the dimmering kind and we set the screen brightness to full 100% on the tab (we tried to also turn the lights off and back on again, but unfortunately for some reason it didn't work with the lights as it did with the tab. Darn.)

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Click the image to see it bigger!
We placed the camera on a mic stand and taped it to the desk to keep it from moving. We also made marks on the desk for the tab to keep it in the cam view. In the pic you can see how the interface looked on the screen.

Here's a little better sample of the interface so far. The user is warming up the sauna with remote access from a phone, and setting a time for the sauna to be warm and ready.

I had to leave for work before the last participant, but I think we got ourselves some vital information with the tests. There were some tasks every participant had trouble with, which is a pretty clear sign for us. For some reason the "items" -category was something everybody thought of as non-descriptive for what it actually holds inside. We'll have to do something about that.





Anni


Working hours:

Adnan 21,5, so far 88.5
Anni 9.5, so far 89
Chau 14, so far 70
Kamil 4, so far 79.5
Tomas 35, so far 120
 
 
Our project is going on the final phase right now. All of our members are working hard on the final prototype for future smart living, which can be a virtual platform connecting the construction and housing company with the end-users in new and existing apartments.

From the viewpoint of architecture, I see a huge potential for inhabitants to get involved in this open data collecting platform. It is not only about controlling your smart house, but also concerning about your actual needs  during months and years. These huge packages of data will be a perfect resource for investors, developers, urban planners and architects. 

Imagine in the next ten year, before moving in a new flat or investigating other flats in the market, you can give your living data to the network, decide how big is your flat and which value is on the high priority list. Why you don't get a YIT account in our network? Then you can contribute to the whole process from today, not a far future. 


I find a good reference about "Data driven architecture" from Zach Soflin:
http://zachsoflin.com/data-driven-architecture/#.UYJB2bVtPh4

The concept about data-driven design has been discussed more frequently these years. We are living in the web 2.0 era when everyday there is a huge flow of data available in the network.
The new landscape of computing and the so-called “web 2.0” era make it possible to measure all kinds of changing circumstances. We can aggregate data about the energy performance of whole networks of buildings, and this information can inform what we design now. We can better understand dynamic components like traffic, parking use, and water management. But we can also experiment by changing the relationship of zoning rules about retail store size to encourage local retailers. The ability to measure multiple things at once means that the same tools that we use to design can be used to evaluate, and ultimately to prescribe new regulations that foster better cities.  
Source: http://www.northeastern.edu

Data Driven Architecture

One of the largest resources we have today is data. We have information on almost every measurable subject. But what do we do with it? This project explores how data can directly influence architectural form. The results of this exploration into data driven architecture is that of an automated system that based on its location, users, and surrounding data can produce an efficient and performative building. Not necessarily performative in purely the ecological sense but rather performative in all measured ways to satisfaction, circulation efficiency, types of program,
THE TOWER:Residential towers seem to grow anywhere and everywhere in an urban context. Stacked floors with similar floor plans for every unit. But what if you could layout your own unit? What if you paid for exactly what you wanted and nothing else? 

Zach Soflin - Data Driven Architecture
An app was developed so users could do this. The app begins with collecting information about the user and what their priorities are. This includes showing the user views from different sides and heights of the building and asking their opinion, finding how important a quick elevator ride is to you, and many others. Since you are not buying a specific unit on the tower, this first portion of the app is meant to find the users overall preferences when it comes to their unit location on the tower.


The second portion of the app is a visual layout of a typical unit (either corner or standard depending on which you prefer). Here the user begins to program their unit by placing living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, patio space,  etc. and choosing their sizes. As stated before users begin with 6 modules (5 open ones and 1 unchanging utility module). They can then move outward depending on how much space they need. While all of these design decisions are being made in the app, the program is keeping a running total of cost which is assigned to all aspects of this process. For example, if a user wants to move outward 4 modules they can, but the further they move out, the more expensive each square foot becomes. This is to cover the additional cost for structure that is a result of the cantilever. The running total is always in view of the user so they can keep tabs on their cost and make sure they are staying within their budget.
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Once all of the units for the tower are laid out and sold, the tower begins its optimization process. This process works by placing all units at a default location. Each priority given by the user is tested and given a score. The units are then moved randomly at first to give the program an idea of the possible solutions. Through an evolutionary optimization process the units are moved, priorities tested, and scored then repeated. This continues until the program reaches a solution it believes scores the best possible. This becomes the towers final geometry and the construction process can begin.

Fusing these two frameworks delivers a unique building tightly and directly connected to its context and to its users. This program can take any given location and data from users and lay out a unique form based directly on its context and its users in a matter of minutes. Therefore this same system could be applied with minimal effort anywhere in the world and produce a unique contextual product.


What makes a building smarter?

Finally, I hope you can get a piece of the future landscape when we have all the potential to decide how we live and release us from all daily restraints. Our concept with this Demola prototye is just the very early step towards the bright future.
No building is an island

A smarter building doesn’t stop at the four walls that surround it. It’s important to consider how a building can interact with and be affected by its surroundings—its externalities.

IBM Smarter City 
- Chau Nguyen -
 
 
Idea is to decide what kind of hardware we need in our project.
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Home control Tablet
We need a portable tablet which can be mounted on some wall, also it is movable or the other idea can be a fixed control panel placed on wall which is immovable. This will be used to control our house, interact with the community, energy efficiency gamification and other displays.

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Temperature sensors
Then we will be needing wireless temperature sensors to measure the overall temperature of the house

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Water meters
A company ABB has developed Digital water meter which can send the data over wireless network. We also need similar water meter to measure the usage of water in our Washroom, Kitchen or lawn. This data will be used to display our water consumption and also to play games with out neighbors and compare the results, we need such data.

WiFi / 3G
Then this project requires some data network to transmit and receive data from YIT central server. We can have a WiFi device at home or we can also have a 3G/4G compatible tablet, through which we can interact with YIT server.


YIT Server
Most importantly there will be a Central YIT server which will receiving data from all the YIT clients, processing and saving it and passing it to all the clients
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Bio-metrics based entry system
The idea is still under discussion of having a hassle free finger print based or face recognition entry system. We will need a complete hardware system for this and also its integration with our home control tablet.


 
 
The idea is about wireless electricity in smart houses of future. Below video is from WiTricity, explaining the applications of wireless electricity. This video will give fair enough idea to understand the concept of wireless electricity.
What is wireless electricity ? Its about having a transmitter and receiver at both ends and in between electromagnetic waves are the medium instead of having wires. Yes its safe to use because it is similar to the natural magnetic field around us on earth all the time and causing no harm.
Is the price cheap? The technology is evolving at a very fast pace and soon it will be available into the market at reasonable price.
Is it energy efficient? Yes this is the fact that it is less efficient then wires but our second idea discussed below is more than 90% efficient and if it will be used only for movable things like laptops, mobiles, lamps etc then energy efficiency wont be a really big issue.

In our project of Smart housing we thought about including wireless electricity. We mainly discussed two ideas. 
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First idea was to place the transmitter somewhere in the room and the devices in the room having receiver will catch those radio waves and convert them to electricity, but the problem with this idea is that it is less efficient.

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Second idea was to put the transmitters at the floor level and the floor tiles will have the passive repeaters, and practically you can have the wireless electricity in all of your floor. You can place anything on the floor having receiver  can get electricity. Your table can have the repeater under it, and you can place your table anywhere in the room and it has wireless electricity in it. You can then place your laptop, tablet, mobile phone etc with wireless receiver added, and it will start charging without any wires attached.

Our great team member Chau has made this picture explaining our concept of wireless electricity. Isn't it great to have such technology in our home?. It will get rid of charger and wires running everywhere in your room. We are excited about this.

After discussion with YIT, the idea is suspended for now because of some practical issues and energy efficiency. But in near future this will be in your house.

Comments are welcomed.


- Adnan -
 
 
What, where, when: Team meeting, Demola premises, Wednesday the 24th of April
On the blog today: Plans, plans, plans
We decided to change the day of the meeting for this week, so that everybody would be able to join. When I arrived, Kamil, Tomas and Chau, back in Finland, had already started on some interface design evaluation. They had also come up with an idea which had probably crossed our minds during the project but we never seemed to pay much attention to it: an interactive, touch-screen community board. You know those terribly messy cork board in every appartement building in the first floor? (Yeah, I never check those either) I should have taken a picture of my Tampere appartement's board, it has some notifications from 2008 I believe.

So what are we going to do? Basically, we're going to recreate the community board, and along with it, the need for it. After the meeting with the partner last Friday we felt like the smart housing interface and gamification were the things we should go further with, and we feel that the interactive community board will go nicely along with the ideas. Chau will be doing some schetches based on our mindmapping during the meeting - I can't wait!
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After Adnan joined us we started some serious planning. We have several deadlines considering the overall achievements of the project, the school course, the final pitch and the interface and now also the community board. Right now the greatest interest is on the interface design and usability testing. Janne helped us with some connections to Suuntaamo, and arranged a meeting to Tomas with a usability expert, who helped us with some planning. Now the main barrier are the schedules - will we be able to make the product as finished as we would like it to be in the end of the project?

I get the feeling that the project is going to get more and more time consuming towards the end, now that we have some plans and visions on what we want to see in the final pitch in the 20th.

BTW, check out the fabulous team t-shirts, we also got ones for Juha and Pekka from YIT and for Janne as well!
They have the YIT and Demola logos along with our project logo in the front, and in the back a QR-code leading to our blog!

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Me, Kamil and Tomas working the t-shirts
Anni


Working hours:
Adnan 15, so far 67
Anni 9.5, so far 79.5
Chau 3, so far 56
Kamil 15.5, so far 75.5
Tomas 15, so far 85

 
 
What, where, when: Meeting with our Project Partner, Demola premises, Friday the 19th of April
On the blog today: Cutting some leads, following others
The great thing about Demola projects is that a team has a lot of freedom to design their own path towards the end, and still they can rely on proffesional advice and friendly guidelines every here and then.

We have met our Project Partner, Juha, for the second time, and presented him two main concepts we are working on - the neighbourhood social application (oh, come on! we have to come up with a better name one day!) and movable walls. 

The meeting went smoothly and we have engaged in discussions around the concepts. The bottomline was that we have to be focused on enhancing the market value of our ideas, and delivering the customer value to the final users. 
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Our social app can for example encourage new business models for local companies, and improve energy efficiency for inhabitants by modern digital solutions.

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Our concept of movable walls faced more obstacles. Not only we are having hard time finding right technical solutions, but also it is challenging to forge this idea into business idea with our Partner's core business activity. 
Hence we decided to set it aside for some time, and focus more on the app and its hardware.

It is always hard to do a NO-GO for an idea one has already worked for some time. But it is a tough world, baby, and nobody said it was any different;) The good part is, that we have a more clear goal now, and all our resources will be directed towards it.

Kamil
 

Digital Living Demola 2013