IoT Design by Playing Cards

By Get Connected Blog September 26, 2018

IoT Card Game

Researchers from a top Norwegian University have designed a game to help players think about user-focused design for the IoT solutions of the future.

Successful connected products require more than just good hardware. Customers today – regardless of whether they are a business or an individual - are looking for connected experiences.

Hardware is just one element

Our products need to integrate into complex scenarios. A physical component may play a key role in such a scenario but can’t be looked at in isolation.

> Read more: The human factors of implementing IoT projects

The biggest challenge therefore is designing a compelling offer that anticipates how a customer will use a product, fulfils the basic functionality, and extends its value beyond that.

Only then will users accept a device not only as a tool they maybe have to use, but as something that makes the task at hand significantly easier.

A support tool for generating ideas

It is incredibly hard to approach the design process with an open mind and not to get lost in detail.

Tiles IoT Cards game

To combat this, a group of researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim have developed the IoT Tiles Toolkit, part of which is a set of playing cards.

The cards are designed to be used in a workshop format involving novices and experts alike. They provide talking points to spur on participants to get creative and brainstorm concrete solutions, while introducing an element of randomness to help everyone keep an open mind.

How the game works

The journey starts with a set of problem scenarios and personas given to participants. Each player is in turn asked to choose and combine things, data channels, human actions, and feedbacks relevant to the chosen scenario.

> Read more: Rapid prototyping: Develop the next great IoT app

Participants then elaborate on the initial concept and sketch it out on a storyboard, before challenging their own ideas inspired by missions cards.

How to prototype IoT with a game

A refined idea in now visualised on the idea generator board, on which players are asked to collaboratively reflect and improve their concepts using criteria cards and to prepare an elevator pitch to present their concept to an audience.

You can learn more about the IoT Tiles Toolkit on

The cards layouts are available for download free of charge and generously licensed under a Creative Commons license.


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Topics: cool stuff


Get Connected Blog

This blog is for you who are new to the connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT) - whether you are a senior executive, in product development, or simply a curious soul.

Our goal is to inform you, keep you updated and help you understand the opportunities and challenges of IoT for your industry.

If you are a developer, you may want to check out our blogs and developer guides in the DevZone


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