Why design is the key to the connected world

The explosion of big data — it’s one of the most talked about trends of 2012 and it has the potential to create a lot of business opportunities, and tell important visual stories. But couple big data with always-on wireless networks, and a connection being added to every device from our thermostats to our home appliances to our pill caps, and the result is a tidal wave of complexity.

At GigaOM we fundamentally think that intelligent and simple design is one of the key solutions to simplifying this complexity, and creating a meaningful experience out of the connected world. Picture the elegant designs of Apple’s new iPhone 5, the Nest learning thermostat, Instagram’s mobile app, or Pinterest’s visual web experience — the leading web sites, mobile apps and connected gadgets are putting design first and foremost. To highlight this thesis, we’re holding our second annual RoadMap event on November 5th in San Francisco (tickets here). Some of our speakers include the CEO of Instagram Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Tumblr, David Karp, designers Yves Behar and Tony Fadell, and web pioneers like Obvious CEO and former Twitter CEO Evan Williams. Full speaker list here and we’ll be announcing more speakers in the coming weeks.

Pinterest, and its visual-dominant design, and social sharing elements have created a new paradigm for how users want the web to look: beautiful and emotional. And it turns out this design is also delivering a new type of e-commerce ecosystem. Instagram created a $1 billion valued company by enabling its community to make every day photos look gorgeous, and share those photos with friends. Social networks, and social mobile networks were not new ideas before Instagram and Pinterest, but these companies used smart design to create undiscovered value.

All our devices, including our cars, are getting a wireless data connection, and our content and data will be streaming among our hardware. But more important than giving people access to all this data everywhere all the time, devices will have to be designed to deliver just the data we want, and when we want it. Designers like Yves Behar, Scott Wilson and Tony Fadell are creating such gadgets — including wearables and body sensors — that use smart algorithms that add value and meaning to our connected lives. Ford is creating a connected car experience using these principles. Hear from these three designers at RoadMap as well as the CTO of Ford, Paul Mascarenas.

Design and experience have turned into a strategic focus for tech companies. Apple is now the world’s most valuable company, and its influence is being felt across the tech sector. Startups like AirBnB and Nest are being founded by designers.

Even looking to the creative sectors can help startups create products and develop stories around those products. Oren Jacob, the former CTO of Pixar, and now the CEO of ToyTalk, and Bobby Podesta, the former head animator of Pixar and now Chief Creative at ToyTalk will kick off our morning at RoadMap with insights into how to use storyboards to create inspiration.

We’ll announce more speakers at RoadMap in the coming weeks.¬†We’re also creating a physical book on this topic to give away to all of the attendees of RoadMap! We have a limited supply of tickets, so register today for RoadMap on November 5th in San Francisco.