OpenBAS User Research Finding Summary

Usability

  • Managers do not want fine control of the system and prefers automation. (see: participatory design)
  • Managers likes the idea of having a building automation system (of course this depends on how well the system delivers, but also depends on managers’ attitude towards automation in terms of professional values and job security) (see: interviews, usability studies)
  • Managers currently spend little time on building management activities (this doesn’t mean that more management activities that save energy or increase comfort should not be done) (see: interviews, diary study)
  • Managers do not want to increase the amount of time spent on building management. (see: interviews)
  • Managers prefer performing building management activities on physical interfaces than the current web interface. (see: interviews, diary study)
  • Managers think the current web interface has many features that they do not need. (see: interviews, usability studies, card sorting)
  • Among the values that openBAS provides, office managers think convenience is more important than energy saving, but higher management thinks energy saving is more important than convenience. (see: interviews, usability studies)

Overall market fit

openBAS provides two values (see: expert interviews)

  • Convenience: Automates building management through smart devices, so office managers do not need to manage HVAC and lighting manually (most desirable), or can manage them in a centralized setting (secondarily desirable). 
  • Energy saving: Auto adjusts HVAC and lighting settings to energy efficient modes based on demand to save energy. 

Small-medium size offices currently do not want openBAS because (see: expert interviews)

  • Not enough smart devices to be connected to openBAS (expert interviews)
  • Not enough incentive to upgrade to smart devices in the short term
    • Convenience: openBAS not significantly increase convenience because current management is easy enough
    • Financial: energy cost savings do not justify device upgrade costs

Small-medium size offices will want openBAS in the long term, but it may take a long time (see: expert interviews)

  • Building code will eventually require buildings to install smart devices, but this will take a long time
  • The technology will help save energy and make management more convenient, but it may take a long time before the technology becomes reliable and affordable.