Dom & Tom collaborated with RED a Santa Monica, California-based creative agency to launch a Connected Living visitor experience within Samsung’s flagship 837 space in New York City. The experience showcases a complete smart home filled with the latest Samsung connected products such as phones, tablets, watches, fridges, and TVs all working in unison. RED's team was responsible for the vision and development of the entire visitor experience within the Samsung 837 space with Dom & Tom executing on the technical aspects of the project including Android integrations, IoT, and a multi-device ecosystem experience.
INTRODUCING THE PRODUCT
RED, a Santa Monica, California-based creative agency with big name clients such as Under Armour, Bud Light, and ESPN approached Dom & Tom with a technically challenging project with their client Samsung 837.
Samsung is a multinational conglomerate known for products in the consumer electronics, home appliance, media, apparel, and automotive spaces. Their Samsung 837 space is where technology and culture collide. Located in the heart of the Meatpacking District in NYC, Samsung 837 combines art, fashion, technology, and sport in unprecedented ways. It’s not a store, but a new kind of place filled with ideas, experiences, and Samsung’s cutting-edge devices.
With RED as the lead creative agency, they knew they needed an experienced and solution-based technical collaborator to work through all of the challenges from a mobile and IoT perspective. With a tight turnaround, Dom & Tom orchestrated various devices on different ecosystems to create a fully simulated Connected Living apartment equipped with the latest Samsung and Samsung partner products.
ROLE OF THE APP
Samsung 837 challenged RED and Dom & Tom with a grand vision to bring a fully-functioning Connected Living experience to the hundreds of daily visitors to their interactive Samsung 837 space in New York City. They wanted partners to help develop an experience that expresses the power of IoT that would act as a product demo emulating a connected living environment.
In a sophisticated and coordinated effort, the connected rooms along with a selection of Samsung SmartThings enabled products, televisions, refrigerators and Android devices had to work in an orchestrated technical symphony. Five personas and four rooms totaling 20 sequences with various timing and SmartThings triggers had to create the entire experience with a Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. The four rooms were fully fitted to model a New York City railroad style apartment including a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and dining room.
Each room drives a user's focal point to specific flagship products including:
Utilizing a Galaxy Tab S4 operating as a survey kiosk a user would take a personality quiz that would determine which of the five previously created personas best fit the user. They would then be guided to each room where another Galaxy Tab S4 would launch a scripted experience for the user and trigger various actions with the IoT devices throughout the room. Overall creating an exciting and personalized experience for the user.
RESEARCH, TARGET, & PLAN
Challenged with building a future-focused Android kiosk app that uses activation triggers to sync and highlight 3-5 products for each room experiences, Dom & Tom worked with lead creative agency RED to build a strategic vision for the project.
We conducted a discovery session with RED to evaluate two potential approaches, timed vs. orchestrated. A timed experience would be activated when a customer selects a persona in a room with a sequence of events that last between 1-3 minutes. Once complete, the customer can replay the sequences or proceed to the next room. An orchestrated experience would be activated via Near Field Communication (NFC) tags when a customer is using a loaner device. The device narrates what is happening through a call-to-action text, image or interactive prompt. With an office full of test devices and products Dom & Tom found an engineering solution that was both durable and reproducible by creating engineering UML diagrams gathering all of the technologies and finding a way to interconnect them. Using an agile methodology, we worked in sprints, and each sprint we worked on specific tasks and rooms and evaluated and tested for both quality assurance and code reviews.Using our previous expertise and experience developing “out-of-the-box” products and experiences for other clients, we were able to evaluate both the pros and cons of the various implementation plans to determine a feature set that was sizeable and achievable for the experience.
With a pre-set list of assumptions such as not being able to leverage existing SDKs or APIs and the possibility that we could not connect to the devices wirelessly, the Dom & Tom engineering team had to get creative and specific with our solutions. We determined that our solution had to be broken out into three separate disciplines. Android, Tizen, and the server-side.
We started with the server-side implementation where there had to be two separate implementations to achieve the necessary outcome. First, we had to write Samsung SmartThings commands and expose them via endpoints using SmartThings Graph API. This allowed us to bind nearly 50 Philips Hue bulbs, outlets, and other Samsung SmartThings enabled devices to our ecosystem. We could then control every device via HTTP requests.
Second, we had to write a Node.js server that would receive HTTP POST messages and send out commands via WebSockets to connected devices which is how we solved connecting Tizen and Android applications in real-time.
Lastly, we set out writing leverage Gradle build flavors for two separate room-specific logics while retaining a significant amount of code that could be shared across rooms.
We wrote JSON “scripts” which contained timing and device IDs, as well as “node” messages which coordinated the timing of SmartThings actions, Tizen TV, Fridge content triggers, and companion Android applications playing content in specifically timed sequences.
With tight deadlines, technical constraints, and a physical build-out we are thrilled to announce that RED and Dom & Tom launched the experience at Samsung’s flagship 837 location in New York City in August 2018.
The experience opened to the public and is accessible by the thousands of visitors who come to enjoy an innovative, interactive, customer experience that connects physical products, IoT integration, and triggers for a symphony showcasing amazing cutting-edge technology that Samsung and their partners have to offer.
The lessons learned and frameworks developed throughout the production process have proved invaluable as RED and Dom & Tom seek to work with Samsung on expanding the experience both within the Samsung 837 space and at other Samsung flagship locations around the world.Samsung 837