IFB Home Appliances is a division of IFB Industries Ltd which has over four decades of providing products and services across a range of product categories. Washing machines are one of their products. IFB has been striving to improve their washing machines using innovation and technology to bring convenience to their customers fingertips. In 2013, they decided to reinvent the way washing machines are used. After searching for a right partner, they chose SectorQube to get an edge on the technology of their pioneering product, the front loading washing machines.
Since washing machines were products mostly used by middle aged ladies, maids and less tech savvy people, our challenge was to make the technology simple and to have an almost flat learning curve so that everybody in a family can use the washing machines as using a washing machine wouldn’t be much of an hassle. At the same time, we had to make sure that there wouldn’t be a sharp rise in the manufacturing cost because of this.
Our Process and Insights
We interviewed executives at the call centers, product managers, customers and analyzed all available data to learn the usage pattern, demographics, gender and age groups of the users.
Once we had an insight about the users and how they used the product, we got back to our drawing boards and worked upon an architecture. Our design and development teams collaborated closely to create an interactive prototype which they used to test and evaluate the interface for usability.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) being a common technology available in every smartphone was the perfect solution to our challenge. BLE modules were available at lower cost and since there were no complexities for applying for MFi license in case of iPhone, we decided to make their front loaders smart by incorporating a BLE module to their washing machines and developed a smartphone app to connect to the machine
India’s first smart washing machine was born. Since the launch of the app, manufacturing costs for the washing machines were brought down as the screen in the washing machines were no longer needed. They could be replaced by the users mobile screen. The technical team at IFB could now know in advance the status of an error via the machine health analytics. They received better insights about machine errors which help them to rectify the same easily. Colour loss and cloth damage cases were brought down. A simple graphical interface suggested the programs based on the user’s perception of dirt and cloth material. The user no longer needed to know in detail about the type of clothes and wash programs.
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1st Floor Thejus Karthika Building CSEZ P.O Kakkanad Kochi - 682037
Indian Telecom Innovation Hub Kinfra Hi-Tech Park HMT Colony P.O Kalamassery Kochi -683503
SectorQube Inc. 2600 EL Camino Real STE 403 Palo Alto CA-94306
0484 211 0332