Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Era of Family...

This is going to be about clouds, mobile apps and technology in context of Families.

The technology was historically created to make individuals powerful until the last decade which saw a realization in the power of tribes. Technology was then focused in bringing distant people together, creating virtual societies and then leverage their synergies. As with all technologies it seems 'random social' has seen its peak and given way to more specific virtual socializing. Instead of "groups" now there are "groups for <a reason>". At the same time, some real social institutions like Friends, Class, Family have transformed to virtual networks.

A lot has already been done about friends, alumni, business, dating, need-based networking. Family has often found space as a subset of larger technologies created for networking people. But, Families are DIFFERENT. Families are special. Unlike other relationships that you choose to make, you are born in to a family and most likely have an option to create one. Families are uniquely heterogenous and still one closely knit unit.

This is the era of technology focused on Families.
Everything from Car makers to Mobile app developers are trying to tap this potential niche. There are several challenges, special considerations and attributes to products/services that need to be addressed while thinking about developing any technology around families.


Heterogeneity - Families are as different as they are similar. There are members of multiple generations and due to which they have different technical understanding and cultural prejudice. The variety of tastes and liking may be very wide in a small closely knit family. This is unlike other flocks that usually are of same feather.   

Sensitivity - Relationship and bonding are often more intimate and more sensitive then other relationships that are based on choice. 

Buying behavior - Dynamic of making purchase decision is quite different when consumers purchase for family as compared to when they purchase for individuals or business. It is often driven by choice of younger members, influence of extended family and neighborhood, emotional concerns. 


Connection - Families always need better ways to stay connected. There have been a lot of technologies that provide for better connectivity and help even spatially distributed families feel 'at home'.    

Security - The emotional connect and caring for each other makes security of family often the number one consideration for choice of technology, products and services. While businesses are more aligned towards securing data of their employees and customers, families tend to align more towards life, health, happiness and general well being of its members.  

Privacy - Families often strive to strike balance between what is private and what is shared. The more individuals feel the need to share. the more they need the urgency to maintain privacy and individualism intact.        

Being part of the small fragment of this technological progress, I am quite excited to see the changes happening around mobility and cloud technology. I'm just starting to compile and present all that I'd find useful in this space as we gear up for the new year. 2014 - I am sure would see more technological advances in family niche.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer or any organization, institution or business I am associated with.