In France where I come from, when we talk about the handful of BIG players that rule the world, we use the acronym GAFA. GAFA stands for Google, Apple, Facebook & Amazon, but obviously, we can add to this list Samsung, Microsoft, all ISP and TV services providers like Netflix, and probably a handful of others. The GAFA are about to change the way we use technology and in doing so will shake things up in a great many households.
For more years than we probably want to acknowledge, when a couple would buy a house, there was a non-stated compromise – a 100% accepted-in-advance deal about who would play what role and make which decisions with respect to household items. Decoration and organization was typically the woman’s domain, and she allowed her man to spend some money on technology and the often impenetrable world of AV and home automation. The complexity of the technology (all those remote controls – “can’t you just show me how to turn it on?”) part made women often suspicious and somewhat desperate because in the end it was just too complicated and never worked reliably. There was even an acronym for what a guy could get away with buying: WAF – the Wife Acceptance Factor.
Maybe men just like to make things complicated because the technology allows them to. Or maybe it’s because it makes them feel empowered? Whatever the reason, I personally know many women that will never even try to watch a DVD by themselves even if the system has been installed by a CEDIA certified professional. Most of the time, it’s just a question of perception. If you don’t trust the system, even if it’s simple, you’ll never be able to start it up, just because the anxiety of the last bad experiences makes you panic. Perception is a huge factor here, and companies like the GAFA are very good in making us feel relaxed and comfortable, even with complicated technology.
Let’s think about the impact of the GAFA on this man/woman equation. Today’s modern woman, whatever her generation, is in love with her mobile phone and of course knows how to use it even with her eyes closed. Her mobile has almost never let her down. She trusts that device 100% and even her 3 year old child knows how to deal with it. In short, she has the perception that mobile technology seemed to be made just for her. In fact, her mobile is possibly the only technological stuff in the house that she doesn’t need her husband to explain to her how it works. In fact, she might be better than him in this technology arena.
Now, what do you think will happen when GAFA and their partners massively launch AV and Home Automation systems that will natively work with the mobile device she uses and trusts all day long? Every single day manufacturers launch new Apple Homekit products or a Google Home compatible device. Not to mention new IP door locks, cameras, thermostats, lights, outlets, sensors, and smoke alarms. Before too long every fridge, washing machine, dishwasher and dryer will be connected and every woman will be able to choose on her own what’s best for the household. She’ll oversee the installation and run the connected home all by herself thanks to the native integration in her cherished mobile.
In a very short amount of time when a couple decide to buy a house, there is a high probability that the woman will implicitly ask to be responsible for the choice of the AV and Home Automation stuff in her house. Men will have to find another playground with a new set of toys to play with. And after the kids have been put to bed and the day’s chores are all done, you’ll most likely find her sipping a glass of wine in her new womancave.
This article has been published in Technology Insider Group