Luxury’s Love Affair with High-Tech

July 26, 2010Sparxoo

Robot housemaids, electric cars, personal commuter airplanes and all the insanely impossible kitchen gadgetry imaginable. For nearly a century, the World’s Fair has illustrated American’s strong association between luxury and technology. Tech enhances our ability to connect with the world and how the world connects with us. It maximizes our time and extends our pleasure. It helps us navigate a world flooded in information while liberating us from its complexities.

The intersection of technology and luxury is more apparent and pervasive in the luxury market today than ever before. From social networking restaurants, to vehicle office management software, to accessorizing luxury products, technology is the height of luxury. Today’s tech speaks to several pillars of luxury: exclusivity, badge of importance and an immersive experience.

In-the-Know Luxury Tech

MiWorld leverages a main tenant of luxury: exclusivity. The tech-savvy Jahannesburg restaurant taps into affluent Gen Yers and Gen Xers lust for exclusivity and techno-gadgetry. To participate in MiWorld, patrons must receive an invitation and secret code to register online. The in-the-know customers can visit MiWorld’s modern cocktail bar, MiBar Martini or the sophisticated cocktail, champagne and wine bar, MiLounge Martini.

When patrons enter the door, they must log in — much like Facebook or FourSquare. Once inside, users can play with interactive, touchscreen MiTables, where they can chat with other tables, sign into Facebook, view the menu and access exclusive content and offers.

Complete Tech Immersion

Car phones were the height of luxury at the dawn of the mobile phone era. High-power CEO’s tooling around in company limos epitomized luxury nearly a two decades ago. Hartman’s System-On-a-Chip (SOC) is ushering auto tech into a new age of connectivity. Hartman is developing a premium automotive infotainment system for entry-level luxury vehicles.

SOC enables customers to integrate smartphone devices (iPhone, Blackberry, Android) to deliver mobile office features within their vehicle. That means e-mail, SMS, texting and calendar functions all within arms reach. That’s just the beginning… SOC delivers 3-D route graphics, real-time traffic updates, latest map info, construction zone notifications, speed limits, etc. Though there are arguably many hazards with such a system, SOC epitomizes auto luxury.

Tech Badge of Luxury

“Although Apple did not set out to be a luxury brand, it exhibits most of the qualities that luxury brands should strive for in the 21st century,” says Milton Pedraza, Luxury Institute CEO. In its quest for the most beautiful, awe-inspiring, user-friendly device, Apple created a leading luxury device. The tech company “delivers fabulous product design, unbeatable functionality, and a powerful in-store experience to consumers of all ages that many luxury brands lack.”

As with many prestige brands, accessories makes the product pop and serves as a badge of your personality. iSobre knows this more than anyone. iSobre’s offers an iPad made of 100 per cent leather, with double stitching all around with a turned-edge finish and two blue leather central buttons. The iSobre’s Bumble Bee iPad case tells the world not only do you love sexy tech, but you know how to dress it up.

American’s association between all things tech and luxury has accelerated at an astonishing rate since the 1950s World’s Fair. In fact, even many non-affluent individuals splurge on a $300 smartphone with a $100 monthly plan. A smartphone, tablet, high-tech software system for your car or an invite into a members-only cocktail lounge are ways individuals — non-affluent and high net worth individuals alike — display status. Much like a robot housemaid in the 1950s World’s Fair.

To read more about luxury trends:

2010 luxury trends

View more presentations from David Capece.
Image by Flavio Takemoto from Stock.Xchng