AT&T needed to simplify and evolve Digital Life, its connected ecosystem to include DirecTV.
As I explored ideas to merge the two very different areas of Digital Life: LifeShield video home security (part of the DirecTV acquisition) with the AT&T home automation ecosystem, I realized our role wasn't to simply monitor events or remotely control devices, the real opportunity was to protect and connect what matters in our digital lives: family, friends, and most importantly, our home.
AT&T's purpose was clear—protect and connect what matters
Working closely with talented AT&T designers, software and hardware engineers, as well as product managers, I poured over existing screens, designs, and focus group feedback to understand what people needed, learned the opportunities the technology and hardware affored, then designed solutions tailor made to suit these needs, and push the limits.
Turns out, most people only needed to know when something is happening, so we used notifications instead of email to alert them right away, and with a tap or swipe, they're watching a live feed. We made it really simple to interact with connected devices (such as door locks and lights) as well as communicate live over video or voice, and review (or share) any piece of media. We also took note of how complicated it was to program events, so we made it simple, just write a sentence: Lock the front door, every weekday at 7:00pm. All of this information was captured on an Event Timeline which became the story of how AT&T can protect and connect those who matter, where it matters, and when it matters.
Early prototype used to validate thinking, design, get a feel for motion and the basic relationships between interface and content:
Alerts from doorbell cameras, sensors and alarms were seamlessly integrated with DirecTV providing a complete view of what's happening around the home while also watching any TV.
Customers complained their storage limits were always at risk. We learned it was due to hours of footage showing nothing significant. As a solution, we introduced the idea of a "Hightlight Reel," an automated process assembling only saving significant events from the previous day. People could simply view "Timelapse" to see relevant footage of these event.
To build on the idea of relevance, we designed an interface to create unique motion zones to focus the camera on what matters — a task well suited for the browser.
This idea grew into homeOS, the operating system for your home. And, lifeOS, an operating system for our digital world, which I'll write about soon.