PC Advisor talks to Suzi Perry, the Ideal Home Show’s ‘queen of gadgets’.
PCA: Which up-and-coming company should we look out for this year?
SP: Can I say an inventor? There’s a really fantastic British inventor. We’re all about Britain here at the ideal home show so I’d like to champion Tom Lawton who has made Bubblescope, a young British inventor and he’s invented an optical device basically that you put on your phone and will take 360 [degree] pictures and it’s £50 and it’s brilliant. He’s got the app, Bubblepix, that goes with it and it’s wonderful, I’d look out for him, he’s a good guy.
I think HTC are starting to go down that path. They’re selling loads of products but also they’re doing these big launches with big superstars turning up like Lady GaGa. They’ve got the whole Dr.Dre Beats going on. I think they’re really with the times and they seem to be bringing out models every five minutes so they’re hard to keep up with but I think they’re marketing is definitely going the right way. Down with the kids, as they say.
PCA: What would you most like to see in the ‘Home of the Future’?
SP: I think we’re getting there really. We’ve got some good stuff in this year. I’d like things to be more affordable so we’ve got the transport pod which is fantastic if you’re really shattered to crawl in and have your sound kind of resonate through the water bed and drift off. That’s a really great way of relaxing, it’s like a technical cocoon I suppose but it’s $19,000 so it’s a lot of money. You know all the things I want are always really expensive. As we know, they come down and down in price and when they get to consumer level then boom. I’d like a house that cleans itself, entirely.
PCA: what type of technology do you think is most responsible for getting girls excited about computer tech?
SP: I’ll tell you what I think the first truly uni-sex gadget was. The iPod, because it was simple, it was easy to use, it looked beautiful and it worked and everybody wanted to have one. It’s now become a brand, you know like you’d Hoover for a vacuum cleaner. ‘The iPod mp3’. You don’t really hear about other mp3s anymore, it’s always all about the iPod. I think when that came out, that was the one that everyone had.
You just saw everyone with the little white earphones which weren’t really very good but it showed that you had an iPod and that for me was the point where it swung. Weirdly it showed that girls wanted what boys wanted as well. Then manufacturers went on this big whole condescending pink patterned thing for girls which was just awful and now they seem to be coming away from it again. We just want beautiful technology that works; just the same as you’d [males] want.
PCA: No-one could have escaped noticing that Apple is in the ascendency for computers and gadgets that 'just work'. Why do you think Apple has got the end-to-end customer experience right, while most the rest of the tech industry is still in the Windows dark ages of 'sometimes works' or 'have you tried switching it off and back on again'?
SP: I would put it down to Steve Jobs. I don’t want to sit here and I don’t want you to think that I’m Apple-tastic but the man was completely visionary and it did just work but it was also beautiful. They were the first people that made gadgets look very, very beautiful and affordable. Yeah, they’re still expensive but I think they did that and then with that came the whole American ‘razamataz’ which I’m not sure that we massively buy into in this country.
I think we’re all a bit like scared of clapping and whooping and hollering, you seen them in the states and they go insane but it definitely transcends and they’re the ones that have got people queuing around the block it’s brilliant marketing. That’s what it comes down ultimately, vision and marketing.