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[Smartwatch] Engineer Interview – The personal experiences of the development team members

The WSD-F10 was officially announced in January 2016 at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). We recently sat down to talk with Kayo Okada and Kosuke Ishizaki who were charged with product planning for the CASIO WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch.

Okada:Development of the WSD-F10 kicked off in 2011. It took about four years from the formation of the product team until the product was complete. At the time we were starting out, wearable terminals were gaining a great deal of attention, so there were plenty of objectives and principles that we wanted to implement and development started off from virtually zero.

Ishizaki:In addition to the market movement relating to wearable terminals, we also did surveys on user applications, usage, and other factors relative to the use of smartphones in everyday life, which had already become the norm at that time. Before obtaining any data, we got a team together to consider what kind of product we needed to come up with.

Okada:One idea we quickly hit upon was outdoor applications. Though there is a wide range of wearable terminals for business, fitness, and other applications that assume daily use, there were none that had focused on the outdoors that are not encountered in daily life. We decided not to enter the general purpose race, but rather to place our bests on specifically targeted functions. By taking an approach to produce a product that is unlike all of the others, I guess we started off creating a product that is really typical of CASIO.

Engineer Interview - The personal experiences of the development team members1

Emerging Business Department

Kayo Okada

Engineer Interview - The personal experiences of the development team members2

Emerging Business Department

Kousuke Ishizaki

Were you immediately able to reach a consensus within the team?

Okada:A lot of the members of the team enjoyed outdoor activities in their free time so decision-making during the product planning was pretty smooth. I think our solid foundation of personal experience made it easy to obtain a concrete image of what we were trying to accomplish. Ultimately, we narrowed things down to three applications: trekking, cycling, and fishing. Since we came up with a smartwatch for the outdoors, we decided to call it a smart outdoor watch.

Ishizaki:Once the concept was settled, it was time to decide upon the functions to be included, structure, design, and other specification details. Thanks to the actual mutual experiences of the team members, we were able to create a list is desired functions and shape them one-by-one.

Okada:For example, using a smartphone for outdoor activities ended up being not so smart after all. The need to constantly pull out the phone to operate it is troublesome. Battery life is always a concern. And there are plenty of other things that make it inconvenient. People wanted to use it, but actually could not put it to good use. Eliminating this user fog would make outdoor activities even more enjoyable. We had a strong desire to change the feeling of inconvenience that we felt ourselves when using devices, into a feeling that the new CASIO device provides a high level of convenience.

There certainly seems to have been a strong sense in maintaining the user’s point of view during the development process.

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