Sprint Velocity: Discovering New Markets
Discovering ways to leverage the potentials of state-of-the-art connectivity into new applications is perhaps the most important work CDR students have taken on since the Center's formation. In the summer of 2013 CDR Director Greg Thomas presented this design direction to the telecommunications giant Sprint. Intrigued by the potential projects he proposed, Sprint and the CDR formed a formal industry partnership.
Sprint's most pressing need was a deep exploration of new markets that could be developed using VELOCITY, its cutting-edge, anytime-anywhere communications and computing system.
The inclusion of Sprint as an industry sponsor has opened up a myriad of opportunities for the CDR's industrial design students as well as providing market insight for Sprint. One of the most successful examples thus far has been the CDR's project to create an in-vehicle blood glucose monitoring system for Bayer HeathCare, which integrates Velocity into the cars as its essential telecom link.
Velocity is also included in many Chrysler vehicles under the “UConnect” brand, however Sprint intends to market the technology to other OEMs. Students in the CDR's ADS 560 class utilized the spring 2014 term to increase their technical knowledge of the Sprint Velocity product, and began looking at how it could be applied beyond the automotive context.
They developed prototype scenarios where Velocity could save time, money, and provide safety where needed. Concepts ranged from the application of Velocity to fire and medical EMS operations to reducing the hazards inherent in the operation of offshore oil rigs. It was applied as a solution for the needs of a chain of national bagel shops and grocery stores as a means of monitoring operations, inventory, waste, and customer satisfaction.
With support from Sprint’s Velocity group, as well as their User Experience Design team, several other projects including the CDR's WellCar have been identified for future engagement. “Industry partners such as Sprint are discovering that when they provide their technologies to our young, creative students—who happen to be in demographic they are trying to attract—amazing things can happen. Even their astonishingly well produced and positioned products can have alternate applications they might not have considered,” said Thomas.
“We’re getting to the point where a lot of the futuristic car technologies you see in the movies aren’t that far off,” he continued. “It’s exciting that the CDR and KU, with support from companies such as Sprint, are involved in this type of work.
“The sky is the limit in terms of using wireless technology to enhance the health and wellbeing of individuals on-the-go,” Thomas said. “In vehicles, for example, possibilities include customizable dashboards, smart lighting systems, facial recognition technology, and even windshields that double as computer touch screens."