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I am liking the idea of ‘Meta-products‘. What is a meta-product? The best examples are Nike+, the fabulously daft Nabaztag and, more recently, Alertme. Generally speaking they’re physical objects, rooted in networked technology that are driven by mobile and web services. There is nothing new about this idea, it’s roots are well established in many sci-fi and computer science paradigms like ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing or more broadly the Internet of Things.

The idea of meta-products perhaps gives us semantic framework within which we can talk more comfortably about experiences, without slipping into the void of intangibility that’s always felt like a hinderance to the service design dialogue or worshipping the design of objects for their own sake. Primarily it gives consumers something much more tangible to understand and of course – buy.

At a simplistic level: Technology can drive evolution of new networked interactions, product design can make them mainstream and attractive and service design can make them sustainable. For me the sustainability angle is the most interesting, products that have extended life spans because the services powering them adapt to new situations, but are liberated from traditional formal constraints.

Via Made by Many

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