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The business of good design

Nokia WiFi Beacon 2

Nokia is frequently celebrated at industry events for our technology and innovation, but there is another quiet revolution taking place at Nokia. Design. A culture of design has been percolating at Nokia for many years, and the fruits of our labor are beginning to manifest in our global product experience.

Radically simple (Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway)

Many think design is simply about the look of a product, or perhaps its superficial qualities. Of course, we think our products can be beautiful, but at Nokia, we believe that great design goes far beyond aesthetics. It’s an end-to-end process, starting with the initial conception, through to the consideration of every interaction between the user and the product. That means design plays a significant role in areas like manufacturing, packaging, transportation, installation, activation, usage as well as end-of-life recycling, repurposing and disposal. It’s in this understanding of interaction between user and product that we identify valuable insight and create opportunities to genuinely enhance the product experience.

Dynamic – (Nokia WiFi /Nokia Wireless UI screens)

That’s why our design team is regularly involved in bids and proposals with service providers. Listening to providers and observing their processes, ensures that we fully understand their specific requirements, and can adapt to changing needs by employing a design mindset.

Service providers want to know what the customer experience will be for their products, but in our approach, we consider the experience of every single person that will touch the product. In fixed broadband deployments where you are deploying tens of thousands of the same device in tens of thousands of locations, small design changes can create significant competitive advantage, cost savings, accelerated revenues and, of course, delight millions of people.

Human – Nokia Pure Design System with Nokia WiFi and Illustrations tool box

The benefits of this approach are extensive:

  • Time-to-revenue and deployment costs. We’ve worked with broadband providers to design product features to reduce deployment costs, while pre-provisioning and QR-code activation speed up technician installations. We are even developing a way to spool fiber more quickly and accurately, again saving valuable time and money.
  • Sustainability. We focus on ensuring components can be repaired, replaced and recycled as much as possible. We use environmentally responsible packaging materials and have reduced waste and weight to lower transport carbon emissions. We’re ultimately aiming to be 100% organic, by eliminating all synthetic material.
  • Maintenance and longevity. The hinges on our cabinets ensure cables are never pinched or caught, avoiding malfunctions, damage and maintenance issues.
  • Health & safety. We’ve reduced the weight and improved the handling of pole-mounted products so they’re easier and safer to install.
  • Usability. Our self-install applications provide an unparalleled user experience, enabling customer self-install, seamless control and monitoring.

But, of course, our designers are also users and customers ourselves. We believe in the products we make, because we use them. We’re not providing solutions for billions of anonymous users. Instead, we start with creating experiences that enhance our own lives. We like this blurred line between designer and user and it’s key to the human centricity of our products. This can be seen in the evolution of our Nokia WiFi Beacons, where the latest Wi-Fi 6 enabled Beacon 2 pushes the boundaries with a radically simple solution that has a new single chassis design that significantly improves cooling. We identified this opportunity by using the product, realizing a previous generation ran a little hotter than we wanted and adapted the design.

Nokia Design works with all Nokia divisions as well as third parties that license Nokia intellectual property but the Fixed Networks division in particular has embraced end-to-end design as a way of increasing the value we bring our customers. Earlier this year at the prestigious Red Dot design awards, we received multiple accolades for our 5G FastMile fixed wireless access and Nokia WiFi products, with the jury acknowledging our sensibility for functionality and performance as much as aesthetics and ergonomics.

Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway 3.0

So, when you look at our products, whether it be Nokia WiFi beacons, software and mobile applications, our home gateways, or even our chassis and cabinets; we hope that the care and consideration that has gone into every detail, every feature and every finish is truly evident.

Axel Meyer

About Axel Meyer

Axel is an experienced multi-disciplinary design leader, reductive, and minimalist, specializing in product creation and product making leadership.

As head of Nokia Design, Axel leads design activities across all of the consumer-facing products within Nokia’s licensing businesses, as well as Fixed Networks B2B and B2C initiatives, including the highly acclaimed Nokia WiFi and Nokia FastMile product lines.

In addition to his responsibilities at Nokia, Axel is passionate about all areas of design. Most noticeably in his love for espresso coffee—finding joy in the process of refinement and craftsmanship, in the pursuit of consistently extracting the perfect shot of espresso—as well as in creating the best possible products for people.

Connect with Axel on LinkedIn

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