Innovation out of frustration
Covid is spreading. The vaccine is yet to be developed and working from home has become a requirement imposed on all by the government. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty Microsoft hand out free access to their corporate Teams application.
Microsoft Teams is introduced to a $Billion firm. Employees soon realise that EVERYONE around the world in the same org can see their availability and monitor their time "AWAY" from the Teams app. Frustration builds and the idea to solve the privacy problem starts.
First idea to simulate activity on a keyboard using mechanical means is born. Focus is on trying out ideas quickly. Prototypes made from wire and other materials found in garage.
Wire concepts developed into a rubber coated bent steel prototype. Reels of measuring tape are purchased, bent at home and over moulded with electrical heat shrink tubing. Product works but appearance is poor.
Multiple designs based on the measuring tape prototype are created in 3D CAD software and Rapid Prototypes ordered from London prototyping firm. User feedback encourages rework of best concept. Greater flex of product needed & logo should be improved. Great solution though!
Dec 2021 - CAD Concepts
Concepts developed fast and tested with a handful of users. Various materials explored with environmental impact & cost as key design criteria.
Both SolidWorks® and Onshape® 3D CAD tools are used to develop the initial concepts with Onshape® new rendering engine used for initial images on the Amazon market place.
User research conducted with 114 employees in the UK completing a SurveyMonkey questionnaire about their use of Microsft Teams.
Results confirm the need for a low cost solution.
77% of daily teams users are returning to their computer just to wiggle the mouse and stay Available. The results back up findings from discussions with friends, family & their wider network.
Registration with Amazon Seller begins. Search for suitable suppliers for product packaging, bar codes and patent registration starts.
Product Designer develops a new brand logo encorporating the invisible 'N' feature in the Caps N Lock® logo. Styling of the product improved and volume of material halved.
1st units sold on AMAZON UK in May 2022. Subsequent units sold at a rate of over 100 in first few days of Facebook advertising.
Issues with product mis-categorisation on Amazon Seller Central. Caps N Lock® brand becomes the No.1 selling product for motorcycle locks due to this error. Interesting problem however not the target customer.
Great feedback from 100's of live users around the UK. Issues with Mac's that have esc key in digital Touch Bar identified.
Facebook comments highlight some people's frustration that a tool to look like you are working should not be allowed!
Decision made to sell via own website. 1st units sold in the USA & South America. New product colours and product packaging introduced.