An always on digital sticky note
The internet of things might be a concept which is still a bit far away, but that has not stopped us from forging ahead. Connected fridges, tv's, ovens, thermostats and so on - the living room is fast becoming the research lab for entrepreneurs to re-think many of the tools we use in our everyday lives. In most cases the innovation mostly consists of connecting a device to a wireless network or bluetooth, thereby making it possible for it to be controlled via your phone.
Most of this innovation has happened over electronic goods. Goods that were electronic but not connected to a network and frankly in many cases we still don't really need an oven to be connected to an app. Sure it helps, but there is so much of actual physical proximity that is required for the person to be near the oven while baking, that the app does not actually make it any easer, most of the time.
So when I bumped across SeeNote, I almost did a double take. What was cool to me was the idea of rethinking the age old sticky note (which we use in planning / agile framing / but mostly to stick reminders on the refrigerator - and which is actually a product made of paper) as a digital tool which could be hung on to your fridge using a magnetised system.
By now you are probably trying to find some context.
What is SeeNote ?
SeeNote is a 3.5inch digital display screen which looks like a post-it note and can be stuck on your refrigerator, or just about any wall. Just like an eReader it has an ePaper touchscreen which at 300dpi can render text and information clearly.
It is WiFi enabled and can connect to bluetooth, while battery life is about a month on a single charge. The way it works is fairly simple. You have to set it up using the SeeNote app on the app store and whatever you save on the app from the phone, gets displayed in real time on the Display screen of SeeNote (while it's hanging from your refrigerator)
So you can set reminders, route information (integrates with google maps), control home switches (integrates with WINK) and get to see that information on the wall / refrigerator/ door - wherever you decide to stick the display screen.
It's almost like a 3.5 inch touchscreen display which cannot call, cannot text, cannot play music, cannot take pictures, but can scroll up informational notes set on your phone for a family member to see in real time (without you texting or calling that person - of course)
It is a sexy digital screen mimicking the age old post-it note.
Do we really need it, when we can do most of the thing's mentioned in the feature list, on our phone? I don't know. Do we need another screen? For sure no - but that does not mean that screens will lessen. In all possibility it will increase. Our lifestyles and habits are all going in that direction.
What I do know, is that I found the sheer guts to take on the beautiful age old sticky note and making a digital product out of it, pretty cool. I don't know if people will buy it or whether it will have any additional benefit, or whether it solves any problem which is not already solved - but, come on, you have to admit. You never thought about making the post it note into a display screen.
Will I buy it ? Probably. Just because it will be a cool thing to hang on my refrigerator. I know I won't use it that much, because I do not use even my phone's note application that much - but that has never stopped me from buying things. I like gadgets. Period. I just like the fact that the post-it can now be a screen.
But most people are probably not like me and at $99, some people will wonder what's the added benefit. I guess time will tell. What this does tell, is that whether this product does well or not, there will be more experiments like this and newer products will be created which digitise our lives further more.
It looks very neat. So kudos to the design team who built it. And as I said I loved the sheer idea and the effrontery of going ahead and building it, knowing fully well the caveats that exist.
What will be interesting to see, is if the initial idea catches on and people buy it, then does it have the capability to be a connected hub. Adding additional parameters will be easy. Like thermostat, oven, ordering a pizza by tapping a button while you are in the kitchen without your phone. The fact is we do use some screens/ display panels beyond our phones. Examples being washing machines, heaters, dryers, dishwashers, mixers and so on. Most of these are situated in one part of the house (mostly surrounding the kitchen) and a display screen hung right there which connects these and can manage these would be interesting.
*EthicsNote: SeeNote have not asked me to write about their product. This is not a paid promotion.
Image courtesy - I could not find a good enough image on their website, so I took a screenshot. That is not my image and I have not shot it. I just used it to illustrate what the product does.