HERMAN MILLER

Twisthink worked with Herman Miller to create Live OS: a series of cloud-connected furnishings, app, and dashboard that provides a more connected and personalized workplace. 

Challenge

Herman Miller engaged with Twisthink to explore the possibilities that the “Internet of Things” (IoT) could offer employers and workplace strategy.  It started with the idea of equipping a chair with sensors, an idea that quickly expanded to the creation of an ecosystem of connected furniture. 

“OVERALL TWISTHINK HAS THE CAPABILITY TO KEEP THE BUSINESS DRIVERS AND STRATEGY IN CONTEXT WHILE DELIVERING TACTICAL ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT. “

-Jeff Gibson, Director of New Product Commercialization, Herman Miller 

Solution

Twisthink collaborated with Herman Miller and a host of partners on the conception, validation and development of Herman Miller’s Live OS: a new system of cloud-connected furnishings. 

Solution

Twisthink collaborated with Herman Miller and a host of partners on the conception, validation and development of Herman Miller’s Live OS: a new system of cloud-connected furnishings. 

Ideation & Stakeholder Testing

With a blank whiteboard and ambitious curiosity, the team embarked upon the human-centered design process to understand the pain points and values of potential stakeholders. This HCD process started with interviews hosted by Twisthink to answer some strategic questions in order to uncover the desirability of the concept.

 

Key Stakeholder Questions: 

  • Could furniture provide useful data with business value? 
  • Would it be technically feasible to design and deploy furniture capable of producing this data? 
  • What stakeholders would benefit from and pay for this data? 

 

Initial Value Proposition

Initial Value Proposition

As a result of extensive research, we found that by optimizing individual health, product performance and the work environment, an enterprise can improve their organizational performance. With an understanding of what customers needed, the team next set out to develop and test the concept’s business viability. By creating mock-ups and visual research tools, we were able to generate rich dialogue with Herman Miller key stakeholders.

 

Technical Feasibility 

After building confidence in the user desirability, we shifted focus to the looming challenge of technical feasibility. The team conducted broad electronic industry research and explored the trade-offs with Herman Miller to develop the architecture that best served the business needs. As the production solution came into focus, we began creating the hardware, firmware, and communication protocols for the production solution and provided testing to plan for the best quality launch.

 Key Technology Questions: 

  • Where and what type of sensing provides the most value
    to the various stakeholders?
  • How much would the technology cost to manufacture?
  • How would the furniture communicate?
  • Should the IoT Infrastructure be built using Amazon/Google/Azure?

Technology Architecture

Technology Architecture

The hardware platform was custom designed for the furniture and the edge device connectivity was created with a unique blend of Bluetooth mesh and Bluetooth low energy. This data-driven development process allowed multiple sensors to be connected together in order to maximize the accuracy of occupancy detection at the desk. The final IOT infrastructure opened the door to enterprise scale, coexistence with other wireless technology within the office and reduced cost.

During the implementation phase, the team designed an automated and recursive test environment as a tool to harden and stabilize the system. Human-centered design tools were again implemented to eliminate hurdles for easy deployment of the solution in the market place. As our partners at Herman Miller prepare to release the first human-centered, enterprise-ready system of connected furnishings
to enterprises around the world, we look forward to witnessing the impact it will have for the future of employee well-being.

Outcome

The Live OS platform represents the beginning of Herman Miller’s strategic transition from goods manufacturer to services provider. Live OS is currently running in various locations from Boston to Silicon Valley and Herman Miller has since released their Live Aeron chair to work seamlessly with the Live OS system, to improve employee wellness.  

Track how the office is being used through the dashboard

Improve activity by setting personalized sit-stand goals

Set personalized settings for an enhanced experience

Find unused spaces in the office through the dashboard