On the meaningfulness of data in product design for lifetime optimization

E. Fiore*, J. Bourgeois

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Planned obsolescence is generally considered as a negative business strategy that induces replacement needs and affects attachment dynamics, as opposed to the goal of elongating product lifetime. At the present, however, an early replacement of long-lasting products is preferred in at least two cases which can be addressed during the design stage i.e. when the cost of maintaining is higher than product benefits and when there are environmental reasons to replace obsolete products. Furthermore, designing meaningful products that help the user in his/her daily activities, while addressing environmental issues, could help affecting attachment even in standardized and utilitarian products, such as home appliances. In this study, the holistic view and the management of the complexity of Systemic Design, combined with the use of the IoT technologies are proposed using the refrigerator as a case study. Acquiring information is considered as a tool for product innovation; the data is divided into (i) static data, related to the product and (ii) dynamic data, which derive from the context of use and interaction with users. The latter can be acquired by investigating the object’s daily use and environment, with data acquisition through quantitative tools (sensors) and qualitative ones (feedback, questionnaires, interviews). IoT and data retrieval open a variety of possibilities in monitoring, accessing more precise knowledge of products and households useful for design purposes. This paper seeks to demonstrate how IoT can support and trigger a design transition towards more durable products and components, by focusing on sustainability and simplifying people’s lives in daily actions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProduct Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE'17)
EditorsConny Bakker, Ruth Mugge
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-61499-820-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-61499-819-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Planned obsolescence
  • Product design
  • Maintenance
  • IoT
  • Data


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