Image by Darke Lv

Starbucks

Product Design to monitor Water Filtration System using IoT
OVERVIEW

A typical cup of coffee contains about 98.75% of water. Hence, a clean, safe and reliable water supply is an essential element of all Starbucks store operations and a key ingredient of all beverages made in-store. To get the water to the machines preparing various cold and hot beverages, it needs to be filtered and purified to ensure that a cup of cappuccino tastes the same in New York as it does in Washington.

Starbucks asked us to design an end-to-end system that converts their stand-alone water filtration systems to internet-connected units, along with providing the necessary monitoring and maintenance information at the store and headquarters level to maintain their maximum operating efficiency. Due to the nature of the project, extensive research and analysis were needed to provide superior design recommendations.

I undertook this project as a part of an independent study at Indiana University with 3 other teammates. The goal of doing this project was to get hands-on experience in designing with stakeholders as big as Starbucks in mind and to present design recommendations to allow maximum operating efficiency of the water filtration systems throughout the country.

Duration

January to May 2019

Tools

Balsamiq Mockups, Adobe XD, Adobe Photoshop

Skills

User Research, Interviewing, Data Analysis, Low and High Fidelity Prototyping

Role

UX Design, UX Research

OBJECTIVE
To produce a set of IoT dashboards that would monitor the water filtration systems in Starbucks around the 14000 retail stores of the USA. Utilize the advantages of IoT and cloud to allow preventive maintenance of filtration systems in the stores and to allow Baristas to dedicate more time attending to customers than troubleshooting the systems.

Note: Deliverables of this project cannot be displayed due to an NDA that prohibits us from disclosing any such material in public. Here's a news release from Indiana University about our project. 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS TO STARBUCKS
After all the research and testing of low and high-fidelity prototypes, we produced a set of dashboards that were centered into four cross-functional areas of focus:
  • The Store Baristas

  • Facilities Contact Center (support)
  • Corporate Facilities
  • Research & Development

The dashboards met the objectives of providing a quick overview and the ability to swiftly drill down to a specific store, specific equipment, and historical information on them. Based on the news release shared above, Starbucks is currently incorporating the learnings from our project into their dashboard designs and expanding them to other systems requiring monitoring as well.
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REFLECTIONS

Overall it was an enriching experience for me as it was a very intense project to complete in 5 months. It not only gave me a chance to hone my skills in the various prototyping techniques like Adobe XD and Photoshop but also gave me exposure to how to design for a product that is using new upcoming technology like Azure IoT. The research involved was tremendous which included interviews with industry experts at Starbucks, GE Appliances and many more well-known organizations. But it was worth it as the knowledge gained in the process of working with a mega real-life client like Starbucks was unparalleled.