Controlling home appliances from your smartphone, remotely monitoring your property, or intelligently automating the air conditioner is now an everyday reality for many Australian householders. And with Google Home and Amazon Alexa entering the Australian market, the vision for voice-controlled smart homes is closer than ever. But how are these devices set to transform our everyday lives and domestic relations?

You are warmly invited to join us for a panel discussion with Dr Melissa Gregg, the leader of smart home research for a global technology company, and RMIT social experts on smart home technology. The Panel will draw on their extensive research with Australian and international households to reflect on how emerging smart home technologies are challenging traditional roles and relationships in the home. Topics for discussion include:

  • How households are using smart home technologies to improve and enhance their everyday lives
  • The effects of smart home devices on gendered housework, including the rise of ‘digital housekeeping’
  • The role of feminised digital voice assistants (e.g Google Home and Amazon Alexa) in the smart home
  • The potential for smart home devices to help households save energy and live more sustainably

Through short presentations and facilitated discussion, the Panel brings fresh voices and insights on how to understand the emergence of smart home technologies in our everyday lives.

The Panel discussion will be followed by drinks and finger food.

This event is co-hosted by the Centre for Urban Research, the Social Change Enabling Capability Platform at RMIT University and the Digital Ethnography Research Centre.



Professor Julian Thomas, Director of the Social Change Enabling Capability Platform at RMIT University, and Director of the Technology, Communication and Policy Lab in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre.



  • Dr Melissa Gregg is Smart Homes Research Director and a Principal Engineer at Intel Corporation in the United States where she is responsible for User Experience (UX) research definition and execution in smart and connected home, including original ethnographic insights, extending to long term planning for ambient computing.
  • Dr Jenny Kennedy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Media and Communications. She researches the social consequences of digital media and the internet in domestic contexts.
  • Associate Professor Yolande Strengers is a sociologist of smart technology, social practices and energy demand. She is co-leader of the Beyond Behaviour Change Program at the Centre for Urban Research and currently holds an Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship on the automated smart home.


31 January 2018