February 25, 2021

Design for a new outdoors clientele

A Challenge for European Outdoors/Winter Sports Brands

Since the 90s, snowboarding, freestyle skiing and freeriding have had a tremendous cultural impact. A generation that grew up with action sports and now in their 30s and 40s is looking to equip their children and themselves for less extreme ventures.

They expect style and a certain youthful “sexiness” as a matter of course. American (and Scandinavian) brands have long understood this, offering stylish goods for the mainstream winter sports and mountaineering markets. Take The North Face as an example.

These new mainstream consumers are not willing to compromise on “sexiness” even for regular outdoors products - but are often not able to find this with traditional Central European quality manufacturers, and are forced to look elsewhere. At the same time, the cohort too old to be impressed by the advent of action sports back in the 90s is slowly fading out of the consumer demographic.

As far as design goes, many European quality brands will need to step up their game.

See what Antimatter can do for you and contact us to talk about your products!
Read more thoughts on product design and UX/UI design in our lab section!


About the author: Heinrich Lentz is the founder of Antimatter, a physical / digital product design agency in Vienna/Austria, and functions as its design director. Previously he has been working in product and ux/ui design for agencies in Austria and Spain and lecturing at IED Barcelona.

Photo by Zachary Kyra-Derksen on Unsplash

February 15, 2021

Our Takeaways from ISPO 2021

ISPO 2021 Takeaways – Winter & Outdoor Sporting Goods

This year’s ISPO Sports Fair took place online in the first week of February – and we dove right in. These are our observations:

  1. Big innovations come from small companies and start-ups
  2. Sensors and IoT are taking over the sports sector
  3. Traditional European quality brands need to step up their game

1. Big innovations come from small companies & startups

The most striking innovations this year came from smaller companies and start-ups. Some highly specialized – like the Auftriib “vertical crampon”, a hybrid between snowshoes and crampons for steep, deep-snow ascent. Some quite revolutionary like Moonbikes’ compact, electrical snow scooter: lighter and easier to handle than traditional snowmobiles – and completely silent.

2. Sensors and IoT are taking over the sports sector

We were quite impressed just how far sensors and chips have evolved to offer compelling, real-world applications in the sports sector. The increased presence of digital technology exhibitors at ISPO was notable. Motesque for example enables smart, feedback-controlled fitness equipment. Graspor’s wearable device monitors physiological muscle values in real-time for optimum training results. VerifiR enhances customer experience through product authentication and digital content display, enabled by NFC technology.

3. Traditional European quality brands need to step up their game

A previous observation we have seen reinforced at this year’s ISPO is a widening gap between mainstream consumer trends and the offering of traditional, Central European quality manufacturers of mountaineering, outdoors and winter sports gear. Please stick around for a separate post on this topic, to appear shortly in the Antimatter Lab!

Have a look at Biorower S1, an "ISPO Brandnew"-awarded smart rowing trainer!
See what Antimatter can do for you and contact us to talk about your products!
Read more thoughts on product design and UX/UI design in our lab section!


About the author: Heinrich Lentz is the founder of Antimatter, a physical / digital product design agency in Vienna/Austria, and functions as its design director. Previously he has been working in product and ux/ui design for agencies in Austria and Spain and lecturing at IED Barcelona.

Photo by Alex Lange on Unsplash

November 19, 2020

Technology vs. Customer Benefit

Closing the Gap between Technology and Customer Benefit

Technologically innovative companies - especially in the fields of IoT, smart products and Industry 4.0 - often face this challenge: how to close the gap between technological opportunity and a deliverable product/service system customers are willing to pay for?

Established industry leaders updating their products and processes, startups with promising new solutions, technology companies expanding their expertise and services or establishing platform systems: tackling the digital dimension and converting it into actual business cases is no easy task.

Typically, there is no lack of innovation - it is getting innovations out of a scientific domain that is challenging to technology-led businesses, bringing them back into the reality of a customer or user. After all, this is where the success of a product, service, or ecosystem is decided.

"To a user, a product is only as desirable as the benefits it delivers."

To a user, a product/service is only as interesting as he is able to grasp, and only as desirable as the benefits it delivers or the experiences it enables. A user-centric approach right from the outset of product development ensures innovation is channeled towards actual customer benefit and converted into products, services and ecosystems clients and consumers truly understand, appreciate, and value.

Thus, when working to convert technological innovation into user-focused business models, we go through the following steps with our clients in the development process:

  • identifying users/customers and their underlying needs early on through user research & interviews
  • identifying tangible user benefits: how can the product/service bring users closer to fulfilling their needs
  • designing the product/service around these benefits and associated experiences
  • employing user testing strategically, looping feedback back into development
  • addressing customer benefits and experience directly in all communication

Instead of imposing technology on customers, such an approach connects with users through products and digital services - enabling successful business cases for smart products and digital services.

See what we can do for you or contact us to talk about your products!


About the author: Heinrich Lentz is the founder of Antimatter, a physical / digital product design agency in Vienna/Austria, and functions as its design director. Previously, he has been working in product and ux/ui design for agencies in Austria and Spain and lecturing at IED Barcelona. The design project for TTTech's Nerve device, pictured above, was developed by Peschkedesign.

This article was originally published by Heinrich Lentz on LinkedIn in September 2018.

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