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Customer-oriented ideas for smart products
Essential Summary
For the development of a successful smart product it is important to systematically analyse the benefit and thus also the value of the planned product for the customer.

In order to develop successful smart products, it is important to systematically analyze the benefits and thus the value of the planned product for the customer.

For this purpose the Swiss business theorist Alexander Osterwalder has developed an interesting method, which has become popular under the name Value Proposition Canvas.

With this tool, product ideas can be analyzed, questioned and improved in a creative way – in order to fundamentally ensure that the customer really wants such a product.

The Value Proposition Canvas

If you don’t know the Value Proposition Canvas (VPC) yet, it’s best to let Osterwalder himself explain it in an entertaining way – either in his book or in the video (the impatient among you can jump to 10:16 ).

In short, the VPC uses a scheme („canvas“) to compare two perspectives (see graphic below):

  • the customer profile and

  • the value promise of the manufacturer („value map“).

The analysis begins customer-oriented with the user’s field of activity. You take a look at the tasks your target group has to cope with – and the hurdles („Pains“) and amenities („Gains“). The trick is to completely hide the advantages of your product. Only once it is clear what the customer really wants, does the process continue. Then the customer perspective is contrasted with the value proposition of the manufacturer. The product features are listed and the functionalities with which the customer’s difficulties can be removed („Pain Relievers“) or which provide a sense of achievement („Gain Creators“). Both sides can then be balanced by new ideas („Fit“).

Customer-oriented ideas for smart products 1 basysKom, HMI Dienstleistung, Qt, Cloud, Azure
From the perspective of basysKom and the UX Group, this systematic approach is interesting because it enables us to better understand what the customer wants and to better assess the importance of product properties for technical implementation.

The Value Proposition Canvas for smart products

For smart products (more precisely the Smart Connected Products) the VPC is also suitable. However, there are also important aspects to be considered: smart products often come with innovative smart services, whereby the latter often lead to a significant increase in value. The use of smart products results in usage data (e.g. via sensors), contextual data and status data (of the device) that represent a value for the manufacturer. Via the data analysis in the cloud, he can in turn offer the consumer optimizations and automations based on the data as a „quid pro quo“, which represent functional added value. In science, this joint value creation is also known as Value Co-Creation and is often seen as the basis for the success of smart products. An important prerequisite for the Value Co-Creation are of course not only the trust of the customer, but above all data security and data protection. In addition, smart products also create hurdles if the user interface of the HMI does not meet the user’s expectations, or if the platforms used (web, smartphone app, etc.) are not suitable for the user.
So for smart products, the classic Value Proposition Canvas in the last step with a >/span> Value Transportintermediary layer. In this layer one would extend the potential an Value Co-Creation analysis. Finally, one would also check whether the user interface and platforms used are suitable to enable the customer to enjoy the promised benefits.
Customer-oriented ideas for smart products 2 basysKom, HMI Dienstleistung, Qt, Cloud, Azure
By the way, Osterwalder has meanwhile announced his latest book: The Invincible Company gives you an overview of particularly successful business model strategies using the example of supposedly „invincible“ companies.
Picture of Torsten Rahn

Torsten Rahn

Torsten is employed as a Qt Specialist by basysKom. He has spearheaded Qt in various projects across different industries already. In addition to that Torsten has been an active member of the KDE community and launched his own Qt-based Open Source Project "Marble Virtual Globe" in 2006. Torsten has a Diplom degree in physics and studied at the University of Kiel. He lives in Nuremberg, Germany.

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