Living the [augmented] Life

A Framework for smarter smart lives


A while ago, I was asked a question, an oddly specific one:

How would you approach the development of a new smart device for a young family’s first apartment?

Nothing further.

So off I went, trying to organise my thoughts on this “challenge”. Below is a step-by-step breakdown to make it easier to read. (full map at the bottom)

Smarter Smart Homes Framework - Simon Vinh

Setting the stage

First, let’s consider that there are 3 main “actors” built-in to this challenge:

#1- The Young Family : This comes in as a compound users that could include all or any of the following: one or more adults, one or more children, men, women, in a reduced age bracket, and any other demographic information will be important knowledge as the project develops.

#2- The Smart Device : It is not further described so it could be anything.

#3- The First Apartment : A living space which could also be a house but I won’t read too much into that since it doesn’t really affect my approach today. We can, however, keep in the back of our minds that an apartment tends to be a smaller space than a house and tends to be a term used for the urban housing context vs. suburban or other.

In addition, first-time owners comes in as a subgroup of both Apartment Owners and Young Families which could be significant for the value proposition of this device, the business model that will bring it to market, marketing, pricing and so on.

Relationships and interactions

Together, all three actors will develop a functional and emotional relationship through their interactions.

The users interact with their living space, they will also interact with the smart device directly. For this device to be relevant to the apartment, it will most likely interact with elements of the living space and the result of these interactions should provide value to the users. This is the foundation for the emergence of “The Augmented Life”!



Designing a “smart” household device is an opportunity to provide people with the tools to live better, healthier and more fulfilling lives on their journey toward making a Home.


Connected devices are never simply an experiments in technological prowess. Developing products and services should always be human-centric especially in new and less-explored contexts.

In the end, this project never took off. I was, however, very entertained by the brain exercise of searching for a holistic framework to structure my thoughts and eventually the Research for this project.

If anything, it gave me a way to visually synthesize all my thinking around the important elements, stated or not, in the challenge.

A picture of my brain from 03/2015

A picture of my brain from 03/2015