Women demand different connectivity functions in the car

December 05, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The typical computer, smartphone and social media nerd is male, you think? In particular if that smartphone connects a car to the internet? Think again. A study conducted by the Hochschule Niederrhein proves that female users utilise their smartphone more intensely than their male contemporaries. But they are asking for different functionalities.

In a time when the European automotive market is highly competitive, carmakers particularly woo the age group of under 30. These Digital Natives typically are less interested in owning their own car than older people - unless that car is a connected one. Professor Doris Kortus-Schulte from Hochschule Niederrhein (Mönchengladbach, Germany) polled car users in this age cohort how they use their mobile phones within and without the car. It turned out that women in general make more use of their handset than men. In addition, female users carry out certain tasks particularly frequently - besides for phone talks (as some already might have expected), they use it more for GPS-related functionalities including navigation and location-based services, for texting and accessing social networks.

Utilizing these services in street traffic can be hazardous. However, well functioning hands-free equipment is available for phone talks. But texting, messenger services and social networks still are difficult to use during a ride. Accordingly, better and more voice control functions rank high on the wish list of the Digital Natives. In particular, the respondents named the following features they would like to see implemented: Voice recognition for text messages, chats and social networks (mainly Facebook) and voice control for navigation functions. Users were asking also for better background noise suppression for car-based voice control functions.

Another question of the poll referred to the kind of apps to be used in the car. The most used app was a social network-based aerlting service for speed cameras - though all respondents were aware that this kind of app would be illegal (at least in Germany where the study was conducted). Other frequently used apps were the search for cheap filling stations, traffic stall alert and video calls during the ride.

"Young people today want to be always online, even when driving a car", said Kortus-Schulte. "However, the automotive industry does not yet comply with these wishes. The innovation