Melanie Malcolm, director at Bespoke Home Cinemas says women are just as passionate about technology and interested in the smart home as men…
Although smart home technology has been driven by men for the past couple of decades, this is finally starting to change. Previously, technology has been marketed as ‘boy’s toys’ and has had masculine design to match its male dominated audience. However, as technology becomes mainstream and user friendly, smart home appliances are becoming more design led to appeal to all users: males and females, young and old.
Technology is no longer just a man’s word. Women and children are becoming interested by all things tech. Products are now beautifully designed and have become more than the technology itself, which is what is attracting women. For example, televisions can now be seamlessly integrated into the layout and interior décor of the property, whether it appears from the foot of the bed or is elegantly disguised in a mirror.
What do women want from tech?
Without a doubt, women are becoming more interested in technology as the functionality and purpose of smart home appliances changes. They don’t want technology for technology’s sake, they want a system or gadget that will benefit and improve their lifestyle.
As technology has advanced, its simplicity and usability has also developed. Virtually all smart home technology can now be controlled and accessed via a smartphone or mobile device – if you can use a smartphone, you can control a smart home.
What attracts women to tech?
The design element of technology is one of the main features that continue to draw women in. At Bespoke Home Cinemas, I’ve personally noticed a recent peak in women enquiring about multi-room music systems with recognised brands. I believe this stems from the greater design possibilities now available when integrating home technology. Whereas previously large sound systems would have dominated and overpowered the interior design of a room, we are now able to seamlessly integrate speaker panels that look like pieces of art in their own right, or even plaster speakers into the wall to make them invisible. Now that technology has conformed to modern design principles, women are able to incorporate such products into their home, without the worry that it will ruin the home’s décor.
Secondly, the growth of wearable technology appeals hugely to women. The latest wearable tech works with a range of home automation systems, allowing users to control smart home appliances, lighting or heating systems through a smart watch or ring. A great example of wearable tech combining technology and style is the latest Fitbit Flex 2, which is more customisable than ever. The removable tracker allows users to place the technology into a number of different jewellery pieces, including a wristband, hand-polished bracelet, or an elegant pendant, depending on their choice of style.
Finally, the convenience of technology is highly attractive. The 21st century woman has to balance a number of demands, whether this is being a successful mother, career woman or maintaining a healthy social life. Smart home appliances are making daily chores simpler and quicker, freeing time for other things that they wish to spend their extra time on.
Products aimed at women
One of the most recent strategies to draw women to use smart technology is to create and market products with females at the forefront.
A great example of this is the new Amazon Echo, a voice-activated hands-free speaker that is referred to by the female name Alexa. Giving the Amazon Echo a female persona engages more with not only women, but men and children.
Technology is no longer associated with the dated stereotype of a geeky male. It is evident that women and children are now being used as marketing strategies themselves to help demonstrate that it is becoming a household essential, suitable for all members of the family.
Another strategy that companies are taking to draw people in is hiring women within sales, marketing and design roles. CEDIA, the trade association for the home technology industry, encourages women to get involved and over the last year, we have seen more and more join the industry.
Will women continue to love tech?
I can only see women becoming more and more interested in home technology as time goes on. We are already at a phase where smart home appliances can be controlled remotely, using a control panel or smart mobile device, within or outside the property. The next phase is slowly being introduced by Amazon with Echo and the Amazon Dash Button, offering women a whole new level of convenience.