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With the explosion of Internet-connected devices in the home and new modes of interaction, we’re soon going to start seeing a new problem — a shorter expected lifecycle for these devices. In the case of IOT devices, there at least three types of lifecycles to consider:

  • Duty cycle (how long before the thing breaks from regular use)
  • Utility cycle (how long before the device gets replaced by a better technology)
  • Interest cycle (how long before the device is no longer a shiny object of our attention)

Duty is an easy one to address but depends on how long the manufacturer thinks the device will be kept by the user. Utility, it’s harder to predict and control. Some cordless phone makers added BT capability to pair with cellphones and extend their longevity, but it was just easier to use the cell phone. For interest, this is tough. Designers to make their product constantly sizzle.

In designing a product and focusing on these cycles, one should design each cycle to try to outlast the others.

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