Customer-Driven Optimal Design for Convergence Products

Author(s):
Volume: 133(10) - October, 2011

Convergence products are multifunctional designs which are changing the way consumers use existing functionalities. Manufacturers’ ventures in developing convergence products abound in the marketplace. Smartphones, tablet computers, and internet TV are just a few examples. The complexity of designing a convergence product can differ significantly from that of single function products which most research in “design for market systems” aims at. In this paper, a new customer-driven approach for designing convergence products is proposed to address the following issues: (i) a design representation scheme that considers information from design solutions used in existing products. The representation facilitates the coupling of and combining multiple functionalities; (ii) a hierarchical Bayes model that evaluates consumers’ heterogeneous choices while revealing how usage of multiple functionalities impacts consumers’ preferences; and (iii) design metrics which help to evaluate profitability of design alternatives and account for future market penetration given evolving consumer preferences. An example problem for designing a tablet computer is used to demonstrate the proposed approach. The data for the example are collected by conducting a choice-based conjoint survey which yielded 92 responses. The proposed approach is demonstrated with three scenarios differentiated by the consideration of consumer heterogeneity and future market penetration, while comparing how the resulting optimal design solutions for the convergence product differ.


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