Smartphones the key to the future

She wants to shift the focus from computers and hardware to people, behaviour and the entire digital culture.
“It’s all about normal people’s lives. We’re still immature in the way we use technology,” says Christiane Vejlø, digital trend analyst and media advisor in Copenhagen.

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Christiane Vejlø believes that technology is becoming increasingly invisible. According to her, putting your mobile on the table during a meeting is increasingly viewed as poor style.

he has her own consultancy company, writes the Elektronista blog and is also a popular speaker and presenter on the radio. Almost half of those who read her blog are women, and she believes that women are a neglected target group. 
 “I’m reluctant to divide it up into being about women and men, but the fact that women are a neglected target group is a problem.” 
When Christiane Vejlø attended a conference in Copenhagen organised by Dell, she reacted strongly to the sexist jokes told by the entertainer hired for the conference.
She wrote a blog entry that generated widespread attention and forced the company to apologise. 
“It turned out they completely overlooked the fact that there would be female attendees at the conference who wouldn’t appreciate the jokes at all.” 
She believes that the same holds true for technology.

Always a focus on men

“Women are the major consumers of the future when it comes to technology and everyday devices. Yet the focus is always on men when people talk about new products and trends. This is a problem, and women are tired of being considered to be stupid and ignorant in this field, by the media, producers and salespeople.” 
A few years ago she conducted a survey about women and technology, which was published in the e-book “Elektronista eller Elektro-not-Kvinder, Teknologi og Trends” (“Electronista, or Electro-not Women, Technology and Trends”). It emerged that women really want technology that is easy to use. So when the industry ignores this, it loses a target group with strong purchasing power that actually needs their products. Furthermore, trying to attract women using clichéd, feminine products in pink is seen by many as being an outright insult to their intelligence.
But rather than talking about gender or age, Christiane Vejlø prefers to talk about archetypes. She has identified three personalities – Electronista, Electro-neutral and Electro-not – ranging from extremely knowledgeable and interested to ignorant and uninterested. Companies too can conform to these archetypes, believes Christiane Vejlø.

The way people think must change

“Companies often have just a vague sense that they should be involved in, for example, social media, but they have no real idea what it’s all about. It’s more about changing the way they think than being on Twitter or creating an app.” 
Christiane Vejlø believes that the issue demands the attention of senior management. If it stops at the Communication Department, it doesn’t work. The company needs strategies that aren’t based solely on their own message.
“The company Blockbuster didn’t see the danger signs. They thought they had a good enough product and that customers would continue to rent films and buy sweets in their shops. Then up came Netflix and transformed the whole market,” says Christiane Vejlø, who feels that the music industry fell into the same trap. 
“Companies must embrace all the new things that are happening and remind themselves constantly that nothing comes for free.” 
As good examples, she cites Maersk (good at Instagram), Jabra (good at Twitter) and Danske Bank (first to have a Mobile Pay solution). According to Christiane Vejlø, the emergence of the smartphone in the market represented a paradigm shift. It made us think differently and expect other things.

Self-tracking on the rise

“The smartphone is a catapult into the future. It’s made life easier in many ways.” 
Christiane Vejlø thinks that we’ll be using more and more apps, not least so-called self-tracking ones, which enable us to measure our body functions and our physical performance. More and better photo apps are also on the way. 
“Young people in particular prefer photos over text. One example of this is the growth of Instagram among young people at the expense of Facebook. The latest trend is sharing photos that disappear as soon as you’ve viewed them. A rapid flow that doesn’t leave any trace behind. 
“The young generation has invaluable experience of its Internet use. I believe that when they become parents themselves, they’ll be able to offer guidance to their children in a totally different way. They never had anyone to help them, as their parents’ generation had even less knowledge.”

Clothes packed with technology

Christiane Vejlø believes that technology is becoming increasingly invisible. According to her, putting your mobile on the table during a meeting is increasingly viewed as poor style. Young people are choosing more often to have their mobile on silent so that they can choose for themselves when they want to communicate. 
In future, maybe the phone will be replaced by a watch or a pair of glasses containing the same technology. 
“Our clothes will be packed with technology. They can monitor the temperature, maybe inflate when it gets cold, be transformed from one thing into another.” 
It hardly needs to be said that she herself is enthusiastic about the digital world. 
“Sure, we spend a lot of time sitting in front of screens nowadays, but what’s the basic difference between that and sitting with a book?  
“Maybe we do occasionally waste time, but there are also lots of conversations in social media that also allow us to keep in touch with friends in a stressed daily life. We can be present without being physically present.” 
And as for developments in the digital field, she says:  “It’s actually a waste of time reading anything in this field that’s more than two years old.”