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In the future you will pay extra for an offline bed

What happens in the near future if the technical development continues in the present way? This question has been investigated by the research project Consumer-facing Internet of Things at the Stockholm University Mobile Life Centre. The result is a report – and a design fiction Ikea catalogue.

tre. The result is a report – and a design fiction Ikea catalogue.

Design fiction Ikea catalogue
The design fiction Ikea catalogue.

“The catalogue is a way to visualize results of the research project. It is the end product of a workshop where we talked about future technology in a concrete way. And we came up with some political thoughts as well – do we really want this?”

This says Maria Holm, co-director of the Mobile Life Centre in Kista. The project Consumer-facing Internet of Things has examined, among other things, how people can be affected when internet is everywhere and when sensors and processors are built-in in everything from machines and household appliances to clothes and furniture.

“We want to stimulate debate and thoughts when we are researching the implications of starting to use this technology. What will online services do with us? What happens when other players take over instead of the established and regulated?” she says and gives the example of Airbnb, where you can find accommodation worldwide as an alternative to hotels.

“And what does being constantly connected do to people? Can a bed without network, where you can really rest, become a luxury?”

Mobile Life Centre works with research, not product development, but Maria Holm believes that some of the products in the fictional catalogue will exist in five to ten years’ time.

The designs fiction Ikea catalogue can be found on Mobile Life Centre’s web.

You can also read the final report of the project ”Building Folkhemmet with the Internet of Things”.

Mobile Life Centre is one of Vinnova's Win Excellence Centres and is run by Stockholm University in collaboration with SICS, Swedish ICT and KTH.

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