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Mass Customization Monday #1

Mass Customization Monday is your weekly news update on mass customization news. We at Twikit follow all the relevant articles, papers and developments in the mass custom world. We then filter out the most relevant news for you, in this curated recurring post. Follow us to keep up to date on all the major developments in customization.

Skelmet Makes Mass Customized Sunglasses

Skelmet_MassCustomization_Twikit

Skelmet focuses their marketing on the experience of having more control, affect and ownership of an item because you helped create it for you.

Skelmet’s mass customized Falcon 1 sunglasses aim to give you a more perfect fit. The company uses a 3D scan of the customer’s head to 3D print custom sunglasses. The company hopes to raise the money for these glasses on Indiegogo. Sunglasses is a high margin high fashion business that has so far been dominated by Italian companies such as Safilo and Luxottica. 3D printing and customization is making it easier for startups to enter this established business. One could see a myriad of new 3D printed sunglasses companies emerge but other items such as jewelry, prosthetics, handles of all kinds are also ripe for customization and use similar software tools as well as the same 3D printing technologies.

Mon Purse doing well in the high end handbag market with mass customization

monpurse_Customization_pursesThe company lets one choose a number of custom options such as monograms.

The high end handbag market has long been dominated by the likes of Coach and Hermes. A new entrant Mon Purse aims to use choice to let people personalize their handbags. It seems to be going well for them, “the company says that business has grown 8,000% over the last two years, exceeding $10 million in sales in 2016, and is on track to hit $20 million this year.” High end fashion brands have flirted with mass custom options and some are still traditionally making couture items. It seems that new market entrants are currently the most bold in entering the fashion market with custom offerings. It is interesting to note that much of Mon Purse’s focus is on monograms. The company’s offerings are very much in line with the idea of “you are the brand” but offer one customization options that have been around for many years.

Google and H&M Data Dress

Big data is all the rage with many companies wanting to collect, organize and display all the data that they collect. Google has more data than almost any company on earth and they decided to team up with H&M’s label IvyRevel to create a dress that visualizes data. The data comes from all of the sensor data collected by your phone through Google’s Awareness API. This is an interesting way to take a set of numbers and turn it into a design. We anticipate that more companies will take data visualizations and apply them to sunglasses, t shirts and other fashion items. Datasets are a comparatively easy thing to translate into a mass customized design. We also anticipate more companies coming out with social media inspired data fashion items.

AI Wearable tries to predict how conversations are going

Another much talked about area right now is AI. Much is going on in adding sensors to phones and giving consumers access to AI or using AI to track consumer behavior. MIT SAIL developed a wearable that purports to with an 83% level of accuracy use AI to predict sentiment in the conversations it overhears. We are already carriers and creators of a lot of sensor input via our phones. Do we also wish them not only to overhear our conversations but also to analyze them? Taking sensor data and then analyzing moods or the way people feel could be very interesting inputs for mass customized articles. Now many mass customization examples focus on a parameter based interaction whereby the customer selects and chooses a design. What if your phone could know what you felt? Or what if it knew what mood you were in and would use that data to show you the earring you wanted to see at that moment? Or if your phone could change your music selection to a more upbeat one to lighten the mood? Or an AI coupled to a recording device could gauge the mood of a room and adapt lighting accordingly? AI coupled with sensors and design could lead to a new generation of data driven mass customized products that anticipate or act in accordance with people’s sentiment.   

Fit Based Mass Personalization

Helix_fit_based_Mass_Personalization_Matress

Helix’s mattresses can be customized according to weight or softness and they’re made out of memory foam so can be compressed to fit inside a helix shape that can be delivered by UPS.

Direct to consumer Mattress company Helix tries to coin and own a new term, “Fit based Mass Personalization.”  The resulting blog post is a good guide on mass customization trends and a possible future.

“The fact that people inherently want customized products is not a trend. It’s not even trendy. There is a nuanced answer here. It’s about how direct-to-consumer companies have learned to take customization a level past “do you want a red or blue stripe on your sneaker?” It’s about recognizing that taste is different than fit, and figuring out how to balance and solve for both. It’s about using data, caring deeply about the customer, and providing the best possible products through a process we’ve dubbed Fit-Based Mass Personalization.”

Participation in architecture design

Spanish researchers have developed the Barcode Housing System which enables user participation in architecture design. They’ve made a database with over 10,000 housing layouts and use a generative process for future occupants to choose the right floorplan for them. People can also look at the spatial qualities of a room, plan their layout while considering what they’ll actually do in the room. Will mass customization make people a part of the design process for their own homes?

Optimizing product planning for mass customization

This Japanese paper (in Japanese) looks at using an auction system to implement product planning for mass customization. No one yet has found a definitive method to optimally combine lean, six sigma, SOP, just in time based approaches with mass customized demand. It seems like a just in time delivery and production world would work well with a mass customized one but implementing this in a large scale manufacturing environment would seem to be a very complex affair indeed.

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