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Women and Technology: Say Goodbye to ‘WAF’
Don’t worry about your wife squashing your electronics dreams. Chances are, she wants it too, because the 'Wife Acceptance Factor' isn't as large an obstacle anymore. If not, try to convince her with these techniques.
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Women, wine and song? Technology like Sonos’ unobtrusive distributed audio system make A/V more appealing. Credit: Sonos
July 15, 2009 by Lisa Montgomery

A few weeks ago, someone suggested that I write a piece about what our industry refers to as the “wife acceptance factor,” or WAF.

What WAF means, basically, is that a husband will get the technology he wants for his home only if his wife agrees. While it’s easy to place the blame the wife for the absence of a 100-inch TV in the living room, it turns out that women aren’t the main roadblocks to high-tech living.

In fact, they’re often the driving force, says Murray Kunis, a custom electronics (CE) pro at Future Home in Los Angeles. “Ten years ago, it was always the wife who objected to having technology in the home,” says “They’re no longer the automatic rejecters.” 

Kunis offered an example of the paradigm shift: During conversations with a couple about what they wanted for their new home theater, the husband requested just a plasma on the wall, but his wife thought that to do a theater right, the room would need at least a 100-inch screen. The husband eventually conceded, giving his wife the go-ahead to trick out the space with some of the highest-grade equipment available at the time.

Kunis’ experience is not unique. Every CE pro I spoke with says no longer can we point the finger and women. As a term in the electronics vernacular, WAF is completely washed up. However, CE pros do agree that when dealing with couples, there is usually one person who’s more accepting of technology than the other. If there’s someone in your relationship who needs a push in the right direction, these rebuttals to common concerns about technology might strengthen your case. Try them before you hire a pro or buy a piece of equipment.

When They Say: It’ll clash with the decor.
You Say: Everything can be hidden or designed to blend in with the architecture. Use in-ceiling speaker as an example, and assure your less-technical spouse that the equipment can be hidden away inside a closet.

When They Say: It’s too difficult to use. I’ll never be able to operate the system.
You Say: Let’s go to the nearest A/V retailer to try out some controls. “In our showroom we have a fully operational home theater system that we invite customers to operate through a programmable remote control,” says Steve Hooper of Audio Video Design Consultants in Nashville, Tenn.

When They Say: What happens if the system crashes? Will our home slip into the dark ages?
You Say: We’ll ask for backup. Most CE pros put some type of backup system in place before they leave the job. This will ensure that no matter what happens to the system, you’ll be able to get it up and running again in no time. Also, even when a control system fails, you’ll be able to operate all the lights, thermostats and other equipment manually.

When They Say: It’s too expensive.
You Say: Not if we expand gradually. Lots of manufacturers offer systems that can manage one facet of your home—like security—and then be expanded later as you have the funds to also automate the lights and thermostats, for example. “Home electronics is not an all or nothing deal,” says Jeff Carnes of Accent ESI in Bonita Springs, Fla.

When They Say: We don’t need it.
You Say: It’ll make things so much simpler. Simplicity is a great catch-phrase when trying to convince a woman, says Carnes. If you’re trying to sell a man, it’s better to say that the electronics will be able to monitor the house while we’re away.

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

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