From a house to a concert hall
It’s all very well to be able to demonstrate a new technology in the lab or develop a new idea for your company at a brainstorming session. But will it work ‘for real’?
Imec now has five test environments to offer – ranging from a house to a concert hall – for developing and testing promising smart technologies.
This process can be done in conjunction with other partners and supported by the imec.livinglabs team (for co-creation and user tests).
One of these Smart Spaces – and possibly the most unique of them – began operating in October: HomeLab. This family home is located on the Technology campus in Zwijnaarde (Ghent). The idea is that companies can use the home as a ‘living lab’ to refine their smart applications and services – for example by operating on a co-creation basis with users and by working with the imec research teams – and also by enabling them to have tests carried out by the (temporary) residents living in the house.
We spoke to three of our specialists and asked them to explain the various Smart Spaces for us: Piet Demeester (director of imec’s IDLab research group at UGent), Kathleen Philips (imec/Holst Centre program director) and Lieven De Marez (research director of imec’s MICT research group at UGent).
Testing becomes a great deal more complex in a smart environment
An alarm clock, a washing machine, a smartphone, etc. – these are the sorts of things that you as a company can ask to have trialed by hundreds of testers. But what happens if you happen to make a smart light switch that also communicates with the home’s internal drapes, motion detectors and heating system that are made by other manufacturers? Suddenly, proper (user) testing becomes a whole lot more complex.