Oskar Juhlin. Foto: Anna-Karin Landin
Oskar Juhlin. Foto: Anna-Karin Landin

Oskar Juhlin, with a background in sociology and computer science, is one of the researchers who founded and has worked at Mobile Life since the start in 2007. The projects he leads are good examples of the fundamental idea behind the centre: to conduct serious research on what may seem frivolous.

“Human behaviour and needs are what drive the development of IT. We have to understand the relationship between technology and people’s needs, and how these needs can manifest in relation to technology. Therefore, it is natural for researchers to work close to the industry,” he says.

Over the years, video technology and streaming have been Oskar’s main research interests. His research includes technology for live broadcasts from mobile phones and technological support for multiple users to broadcast together.

The research has led to collaborations with several companies, one of which is IKEA. The company was not quite sure how to handle digital technology or how their products work in the IT age. In order to advance, they had to get into contact with researchers working on both consumer behaviour and digital technology. The choice fell on Mobile Life. One of the results of this collaboration involved screens displaying video, which allowed customers to imagine how a piece of furniture or decorative object would look in a certain environment. The technology that allows users to collectively produce, edit and broadcast live from mobile phones and laptops is now being commercialised by the company Liveling, where Oskar is one of the partners. They expect to have the product on the market by the end of 2017.

Interest from the fashion industry

His interest in the link between technology and consumer behaviour has also taken Oskar to the fashion industry. Fashion and IT have completely different technological traditions, he argues. The fashion industry has great consumer knowledge, and it works with a short-term focus on the next collection. The IT industry is more research based and employs a more long-term perspective.

“Stockholm University is the perfect place to bring these traditions together. We have advanced technological research, but also social-science research that involves technological aspects. In addition, we have world-leading research in fashion studies, as well as researchers in business administration.”

The network Digitizing Fashion was created in order to take the research further. The goal is to make Swedish fashion more digital by bringing the IT and fashion industries together and creating new technology. In addition to Stockholm University, the network includes researchers from KTH, Aalto University in Finland, the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås, the Swedish Fashion Council, H&M, Sony Mobile, Telia Sonera, etc.

The research has resulted in interactive live broadcasts from fashion shows. Researchers at DSV are now working on training computers to recognise individual models on the catwalk. The idea is that consumers will be able to watch a live broadcast from a fashion show and click on the articles of clothing that they are interested in. The clothes will then be added to a “wish list”.

Work is underway to create a centre at Stockholm University with a focus on digitising fashion, which will include DSV, the Centre for Fashion Studies and Stockholm Business School.

Read more on what happens next with Mobile Life.