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Streamlined Assessment to Assist in the Design of Internet-of-Things (IOT) Enabled Products: A Case Study of the Smart Fridge

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 July 2019


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This paper shows how designers of IoT-enabled products can assess the environmental impacts associated with the user behaviour and the service system around the product. High-quality secondary data and a user-behaviour survey were able to highlight critical aspects of a smart fridge's design. A streamlined LCA looked at just the in-use phase of the product within 4 PSS scenarios. The system included: the effects on the food waste; grocery shopping methods; fridge door openings; and how the users interact with the smart fridge features. The results show that a smart fridge as within a PSS can reduce the impact on the environment (GWP of 21,700 kg CO2-eq within the ‘average PSS scenario’ and GWP of 23,100 kg CO2-eq for the normal fridge with ‘typical scenario’). The product's increased emissions are counteracted by the reduction in GWP due to: reduction in food waste; and shifts from brick-and-mortar grocery shopping to e-commerce. Therefore some of the critical aspects of the product's design that are most influential on the environmental impact of an IoT fridge are: the design of the web-browsing capability; and the use-by date tracking system.

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