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2018 | YI Technology - Industrial design for the 4K generation


2018 | YI Technology - Industrial design for the 4K generation

Februar 2020 | Fallstudie unseres Shanghai Büros über die intensive Design-Partnerschaft (2015-2019) mit dem Team von YI Technology, dem schärfsten Konkurrenten von Go Pro und einem der zukünftigen Giganten in der Video- und Imaging-Welt.

How do you deal with high customer expectations?

‍Whentechnological progress and the latest design trends come together in an ambitious Chinese company whose vision is to become a global player, China becomes the place-to-be for a global design agency.

For us, this was an opportunity to embrace dramatic change and new design experiences, but also a time when we had to maintain the rigor of our design and ensure our standards and methods.

The challenge at YI: As a young, dynamic and relatively small company in the Pudong Economic Zone in Shanghai, YI was not yet a household Chinese name, let alone a global player, at a time when Go Pro was ubiquitous and Sony was on the rise. Its early beginnings in video and image editing were not yet successful enough to challenge the "big boys".

The design of their products lacked a clear and innovative design language and the brand image was suffering from an identity crisis, meaning that technical developments were stagnating due to a lack of acceptance. They needed a new impetus and looked outside their company for a design partner who understood their complex and ambitious requirements and could translate them into a new and unique product family portfolio. This is where WILDDESIGN came into play.

"Full of action" with the sports camera

Big ambitions become concrete product goals

So WILDDESIGN China and YI joined forces at the end of 2014 to tackle this task (at that time the brand was still operating under the name Xiaoyi, which means "little ants"). During the first meetings, our design team started to break down the goals and visualize them in technology roadmaps and NPD (New Product Development) priority lists. We tried to develop an understanding of how design can be placed within an organization of developers, engineers and sales people.

We coordinated these increasingly concrete ideas in regular milestone meetings. Once the various approaches had stabilized and a number of initial projects had been tackled, Yi commissioned WILDDESIGN to complete the design of the company's first action camera. This marked an important milestone and laid the foundation for future success. After three and a half years of design partnership, YI has transformed itself into an established consumer brand for video and photo systems. With the world's first 4K action camera - which records in 60 FPS (frames per second) - Yi is now heating up the global competition. A small work of art that customers soon dubbed the "Go-Pro killer".

Three more successful models of their action camera followed, as well as a whole range of niche products and special accessories. The team at WILDDESIGN Shanghai is proud to have helped YI become a major global player and market leader in this field - so much so that their new slogan "See Everything" fits the brand's mission perfectly.

Design & engineering and testing, testing, testing...

‍Actioncamera users have diverse needs and each with an individual "thrill factor" - from the steady "uphill" jogger to the crazy "downhill" cyclist. Designing a camera that can withstand such demands, capture beautifully sharp and stunning video and be housed in protective and functional accessories is a challenge that can push even the most methodical and meticulous design process to its limits.

With users demanding ever smarter features to capture spectacular footage, the end of technical development is nowhere in sight. Fortunately, WILDDESIGN was able to work closely with YI's software and hardware engineers. This enabled the analysis of functional prototypes and all important real user needs and paved the way for the refinement of future development processes.

Intuitive security within our four walls

Our private home is our sanctuary. It is worth protecting in a truly intelligent way. A living place with precious treasures that we have created and collected over the course of our lives. But in our fast-paced world, we can't always guarantee full attention. YI capitalized on this idea early on and commissioned WILDDESIGN to develop the next generation of their smart home cameras in early 2015.

With a range of intelligent functions such as emergency photos of unrecognized guests, detecting break-ins, monitoring a small child - and whether Cooper the dog is bullying Jimbo the cat - a camera was to be developed that could record all of this in full HD.

Combined with the encrypted YI cloud and an intuitive mobile app experience, the user is always kept up to date. In the final design, we were able to intelligently pack all these features into a sleek, portable and attractive product. It offers the family a discreet and remote-controlled experience that they can feel safe with.

A large product family with a uniform design language

Given YI's rapid growth and increasing product diversity, it was important for WILDDESIGN to create a strong and coherent corporate identity from the outset. As a Chinese brand with big global ambitions, there was a clear intention to compete with the top international players through distinctive industrial design and smart technological features.

In addition, Yi was able to take advantage of lower manufacturing costs without sacrificing quality to ensure it offered the same, if not better, experience for a fraction of the competitor's price. The rapid shift in product development to next-generation models meant that WILDDESIGN needed to reformulate the design language into technology roadmaps to ensure that the process of product management could continue smoothly through YI's future growth.

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Innovation drives - we drive innovation

Between soothing, homely vibes and horsepower-boosting bolides, lies the world of everyday driving or, as most of us are used to, commuting. In this mobile world full of contrasts, it took a little longer for the idea of intelligent and connected driving to force its way into our lives.

In 2015, YI commissioned WILDDESIGN to design and develop a dashcam, a camera for the dashboard. The ADAS, an advanced driver assistance system, can analyze driving data in real time and protect the driver from impending dangers or help improve driving style through intelligent warnings.

The final design included a metal-coated polymer shell that integrates discreetly into the vehicle interior and is also resistant to abrasion, corrosion, heat and cold cycling, impact and the sun's relentless rays. The dashcam, now in its second generation, together with recent developments such as the compact dashcam plus and the newly developed mirror camera, will continue to drive smart driving as a central idea and product component within YI's identity.

Virtual reality - the next bold step for YI

‍Withits portfolio in home security, action sports and smart driving, YI has recently turned its attention to the world of VR and commissioned WILDDESIGN to develop its first dual lens camera, which is the size of the palm of your hand with a 3D resolution of 5.7K.

With a wide range of expandable accessories, from 3-axis gimbals and smart doorbells to panoramic microphones and camera mounts, the partnership between WILDDESIGN and YI has produced a variety of design variations that have met the market's strict and demanding timelines and YI's original ambitions.

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‍Ina relatively short period of time, we have brought products of smart functionality and a host of memorable user experiences to a pampered and demanding market of high-end professionals, drivers, homeowners, parents and children.


In addition to intensive problem analysis within the product portfolios, continuous product and brand development is the main focus of the collaboration between WILDDESIGN and YI.

"From our brand's point of view, the ultimate goal of product design is to solve the practical, functional and psychological needs of users. In the development of YI, WILDDESIGN is always a great helper!"
- Ms. Song (Founder YI)

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