Cisco is known as a big business-to-business player in the market of networking, digital security and digital collaboration. Our task was to see into the future and conceptualize how it could look when Cisco sets its experienced foot in the consumer market. My fellow classmate Erik Ivarson and I wanted to take this opportunity and see how the company's core, networking, could be of great use to consumers in need of high performance network in remote locations.
Project: Umeå Institute of Design
Collaboration partner: Cisco
Time span: 10 weeks
When: spring 2022
More and more people are moving to the countryside to get closer to nature and away from the hectic city life. For example, more families are moving from Stockholm, than families moving to Stockholm. This lifestyle, in combination with new advancements in remote working, put higher requirements on a reliable and secure internet connection, especially in these areas where internet connectivity is a scarce resource.
“Routers! They’re the blobfish of gadgets; aggressively unattractive, and hidden well out of the way.” – Wired Magazine
Routers are not exactly our proudest piece of hardware that we have in hour homes, so they tend to be hidden away. But a system of mesh network routers, that conspire together to create the strongest possible signal, needs to be out in the open of the home interior. This puts higher demands on aesthetics and form. Could mesh network routers work as a functional yet decorative enhancement in one's home?
The receiver is a modular system that ensures a secure connection at remote locations. If you have a 5G connection, then you only get the 5G receiver box. If not, then you add the satellite dish that will ensure your connection. And if you want to lower your electricity bill while at the same time being sustainable, you add the solar dish which also acts as an auxiliary energy source.
Built up from simple, geometrical forms and with the ability to customize the color to match the fasade and other surroundings, the receiver is designed to be unobtrusive. It can also be placed on different locations to maximize connection.
The Panactive router does not look like a conventional router.
It places itself in the grayzone between consumer tech and decoration by introducing a different form factor, material and color. While the silhouette is simple and gentle, the transparent casing indicates about a sophisticated core with a functionality that is more than just decoration – but only for the most observant eye.
Routers can get surprisingly hot.
Thanks to the hollow tower architecture, air can flow freely through the router, cooling it during times of high load.
Cisco is a company that is known for its security and quality, a quality in itself that is worth celebrating in the products themselves. Therefore, every component in the router has been carefully considered, from circuit board and heat sinks to antennas and power supply.
– Strategic product design
– Brand analysis
This project revolved around visualizing the transition for a corporate brand like Cisco to being a consumer oriented brand. This was done by developing relevant products that can make a positive change for people. My biggest learning was to understand a brand - what it does, how it looks and how it communicates itself, and then using that as a springboard for taking the next step.