SXSW 2019

Designing Technology for Longevity


There’s nothing quite like a classic product – like the watch inherited from your grandfather or the Persian rug that has warmed floors for generations. But increasingly, advanced and rapidly changing technologies are being embedded in the objects that might one day be considered a classic or heirloom – such as appliances, cars, furniture, and buildings. What happens when previously durable goods becoming disposable, because their embedded technologies expire long before the primary engine of their function deteriorates? In this talk, we will examine this existential risk, historical and contemporary examples for graceful technology decline, and new business models that can enable even smart, cloud-connected, AI rugs to last for decades.

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  1. Different types of technological products can and should have different lifespans, according to their function and ecological impact.
  2. As durable goods are increasingly embedded with the digital, we should select technology and design goods that enable appropriate lifespans.
  3. Companies and customers can benefit from recurring revenue by designing products whose most advanced tech components are standardized and modularized.


  • Ryan Wickre, Senior Mechanical Engineer, frog


Ryan Wickre, Senior Mechanical Engineer, frog

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Intelligent Future
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced

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