Williams Trading article

(Note: This story appears in the February 2021 issue of SE Magazine)

Today there is an app for nearly everything, including sex toys. Adult manufacturers are integrating Bluetooth technology into their latest creations, evolving the field of teledildonics. In this Special Focus, we highlight the products made for partners who are maintaining social distancing and can’t otherwise be connected the old-fashioned way.

We-Vibe: We-Connect App
We-Vibe’s new app connects to its “Chorus” vibe for next-level partner connectivity.

These Special Focus answers were provided to STOREROTICA by Denny Alexander, former head of communications for We-Vibe.

SE: Can you talk about the development of the We- Connect app, and the technology behind it and how it works with We-Vibe Chorus?
ALEXANDER: The goal in the development of the We- Connect app was to keep the design as simple as possible through a highly visual interface that is touch-based in function. With We-Vibe’s Chorus specifically, the app was taken to the next level with the introduction of the squeeze remote. The remote itself connects to the We-Connect app, and allows users to control the intensity of the vibrations with the grip of their hand.

SE: Why was an app-based toy a priority for your company? What was it about this specific market segment that drew your attention?
ALEXANDER: The reason an app-based toy became a priority for the company is two-fold. On one hand, it appeals to couples. Having a partner control the toy’s intensity adds an intimacy and excitement that multiplies pleasure. Additionally, the app-based toy simply appeals to customers interested in technology and gadget innovations. There is pleasure in exploring the app, figuring out how it works, customizing it to one’s own liking, etc.

SE: What separates an app-based toy from others that don’t showcase this type of connectivity?
ALEXANDER: The different ways in which couples can utilize the technology. For example, partners could be separated by rooms in the same household or oceans and international borders while experiencing this toy together. By relinquishing control to one’s partner in terms of vibration intensity, individuals experience high levels of trust and intimacy while using app-based products.

SE: How do app-based toys allow partners to stay connected with each other over long (or even short) distances? Has COVID impacted the sales of app-based toys, or at least, the interest in them?
ALEXANDER: The app-based toys allow for partners riding out COVID together or apart to experience excitement and intimacy in their sex lives. Over the past 10 months, the world has seen a more monotonous lifestyle, and app-based toys can definitely add excitement back into our customers’ sex lives. The app connects partners no matter how near or far they happen to be, which is why interest and sales have risen in the wake of COVID.

For more information, visit we-vibe.com.

Kiiroo: FeelConnect 3.0
Tech innovations keep Kiiroo ahead in the world of app-based toys.

These Special Focus answers were provided to STOREROTICA by Ashton Egner, communications manager for Kiiroo.

SE: You’ve become known as an industry leader in app-based toys. Can you talk about the development of the FeelConnect App, and the technology behind it?
EGNER: As the need for connection increased, we knew it was time to do a complete overhaul and start shaking up the industry with our new and improved FeelConnect 3.0, which we spent many, many years creating. We had a lot of feedback from our customers on our previous app (FeelConnect 2) and we used that knowledge and understanding to start creating our new app.

The first step in creating FeelConnect 3.0 was that we needed an all-inclusive app that helps our customers understand our products from the get-go and introduce them to the interactive features that are out there. The new set up takes the user by the hand and introduces them slowly to the many features that we have, since we have such a diverse customer base.

Along the way, the FeelConnect app learns about the needs of the customers and then provides relevant information to them for a customized experience. Secondly, the technology will be used by many different toy manufacturers allowing different toys to work with each other even though they are from different brands. Thirdly, the new architecture will allow us to introduce new features way more quickly then we could with our previous app.

We have created the FeelConnect 3 to be more like a social media site where like minded people are able to come, interact, learn, explore and meet one another (if they want to) all in a secure and safe space.

SE: Why was an app-based toy a priority for your company? What was it about this specific market segment that drew your attention?
EGNER: App-based toys are the future, and as it is, we know that a connection with content gives a way more immersive experience than toys on their own. Alongside this, the content market is much bigger than the sex toy market and so it allows us to sell our products together with content which is another revenue stream.

SE: What separates an app-based toy from others that don’t showcase this type of connectivity?
EGNER: Connectivity. The value that app-based toys bring to the market is that they bring people together. Whether it is using the app to control your partner’s toy; using your toy to connect with your partner’s toy to have remote/internet connected sex; or whether you use the app to connect your toy to interactive content (2D and VR); interactive virtual games; or utilizing the tipping functionalities as a webcam performer. The possibilities seem endless, and the app is what makes all of these things possible!

We’ve done extensive research and found that a lot of people use products like ours for edging, orgasm denial and remote sex games. Some people that interact like this may not have ever had the chance to in real life due to limitations with their partner or confidence. Interactive sex toys allow people to experiment from the comfort of their own homes. From speaking to those that do connect, I know that it can be an incredibly exciting experience to connect with anonymous users, so interactive toys add a whole new dimension to masturbation and remote connection.

SE: How do app-based toys allow partners to stay connected with each other over long (or even short) distances? Has COVID impacted the sales of app-based toys, or at least, the interest in them?
EGNER: App-based toys can be remotely controlled allowing partners to control each other’s toys while they are in a video chat. The Kiiroo toys are different as they have sensors in them, which measure depth and speed. This sensor information can be sent to the other toy allowing for in sync movement from one person to another while in a video chat; allowing for an even more immersive experience.

And, the FeelConnect 3.0 app adds a new dimension to these remote connections by allowing a space for users to video chat and talk.

COVID has had a big impact on our company as people cannot travel anymore to see their partner, and are now using our toys. They are searching for new ways to connect in a time that governments and health professionals are urging you to stay indoors and to self-isolate, but are still encouraging people to take care of their personal and mental wellbeing.

We had a huge spike in sales on the B2C side especially as many couples around the world suddenly found themselves in a long-distance or short-distance relationship. We also had a spike in individual toy sales as people were looking for new remote connections through social media platforms like Reddit and other forums.

For more information, visit kiiroo.com.

Svakom: Neo line of app-connected toys
Their app-based “Neo” line works hand- in-hand with the Svakom app.

These Special Focus answers were provided to STOREROTICA by Alex Feynerol, sales manager for Svakom.

SE: Why was an app-based toy a priority for your company? What was it about this specific market segment that drew your attention?
FEYNEROL: A couple of years ago, we noticed this huge increase in the camming market that only a few brands were targeting. Not only that, but whether you like it or not, we are in an era where the digital is reigning over everything, and it was just a matter of time before even one of our most intimate act transformed into a virtual experience.

Our app-based Connexion Series, presently featuring five products, includes the Phoenix Neo, an interactive app-controlled vibrator. Phoenix Neo boasts 11 different vibration frequencies to make users’ toes curl. From juicy foreplay to mind-blowing stimulation, Phoenix Neo knows all the ways to tease and please.

Other products making up the Connexion Series include: Ella Neo, an interactive vibrating bullet with app; Emma Neo, an interactive warming wand vibrator; Vick Neo, an interactive prostate and perineum massager; and Alex Neo; an interactive thrusting masturbator.

SE: What separates an app-based toy from others that don’t showcase this type of connectivity?
FEYNEROL: The main difference is the versatility. Versatility in deciding when, where, how and with who to use your toy. Most of Svakom’s toys fluctuate around the concept of versatility; people nowadays don’t want to buy one vibrator and feel stuck or forced to use it for one purpose only. Instead, they want their imagination to be stimulated and we try to satisfy their needs.

SE: How do app-based toys allow partners to stay connected with each other over long (or even short) distances? Has COVID impacted the sales of app-based toys, or at least, the interest in them?
FEYNEROL: Well, only last year you could have discussed that for people having a short-distance relationship these products would have had little impact on their lives, but after the outbreak of COVID we can all confidently say that this technology helped any couple that was not living together to get through those tough times of lockdown.

In a way, we’ve been a bit lucky here at Svakom with the launch of our app-enabled toys; they were scheduled to come out in June, right in the middle of the pandemic, and this has had a pretty great effect on our sales. All five of these toys have set records in our company as the biggest launches of any of our previous releases.

SE: How valid are concerns of hacking wireless sex toys? What are you doing as a manufacturer to protect your customers in this area (if any protections are necessary)?
FEYNEROL: There is not really any big chance of getting your wireless sex toy hacked, especially with our app, the only way it could happen if it’s someone would hack and gain the control of your whole phone, therefore the probability of them using wirelessly your sex toys would be the least of your concerns.

For more information, visit svakom.net.

Motorbunny: Motorbunny LINK
In our device-driven world, app-based solutions were a “natural evolution” for Motorbunny LINK.

These Special Focus answers were provided to STOREROTICA by Caleb Thompson, who handles product marketing for Motorbunny.

SE: Can you talk about the development of the Motorbunny Link Controller app and the technology behind it?
THOMPSON: Motorbunny LINK technology was developed as a result of feedback from some of our earliest customers who were experiencing accessibility issues. For some, a manual controller was just too cumbersome. Wireless Bluetooth control was a great first step, but we challenged ourselves to go further. Since we had the basics, we asked ourselves, “What if we could build any functionality we wanted into this?” Our answers led us to building in music synchronization, reverse rotation, Siri voice controls, mobile gaming integration, and of course, seamless remote control via the internet.

SE: Why was an app-based toy a priority for your company? What was it about this specific market segment that drew your attention?
THOMPSON: For better or worse, we navigate through and negotiate with our world through a screen. It was a natural evolution to make Motorbunny compatible with a device people are already comfortable and intimate with. In some ways, hopping on a Motorbunny with the LINK app is more intuitive and natural than twisting knobs on a wired controller.

SE: What separates an app-based toy from others that don’t showcase this type of connectivity?
THOMPSON: At retail this gives store associates a powerful tool for customer engagement. Pulling out a phone and showing how Motorbunny reacts to a mobile game like Fappy Bunny in real-time provides an “a-ha” moment for many customers who are unsure of the value of wireless control.

On a personal level, at least in our category, it is about so much more than changing vibration intensity. It completely transforms the fundamental functionality and role of the machine. Complex combinations of “buzz” and “twirl” that would be impossible for a human to replicate are available. Experiences that were limited to only one room can now safely and consensually be explored with a partner across the world with the touch of a button.

SE: How do app-based toys allow partners to stay connected with each other over long (or even short) distances?
THOMPSON: Naturally, long-distance control gives the opportunity to share an orgasm with a partner when it is impossible to meet physically. Sexting is one thing but receiving a link to consensual control of a powerful vibrator is on another level. Interestingly, some of our customers who are spending more time at home with a partner have said that exploring the multiple control options of Motorbunny LINK together has sparked greater creativity in their sex lives—which is great, because that is our mission.

SE: Has COVID impacted the sales of app-based toys, or at least, the interest in them?
THOMPSON: Yes, but it’s impossible to quantify how much. General demand for Motorbunny has risen, much like exercise equipment. Keeping up with it has been a challenge. True, seamless long-distance control is now a major feature customers look for, when once it may have been considered a novelty, and key features always contribute to sales.

SE: How valid are concerns of hacking wireless sex toys? What are you doing as a manufacturer to protect your customers in this area (if any protections are necessary)?THOMPSON: As with any emerging technology, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Motorbunny never collects personalized data unless explicitly sent for bug reporting purposes by the user, or when the user submits an email to set up a Motorbunny LINK account (which is optional but required for online sharing to function). None of this data is shared. All control-sharing functionality is anonymous and secure by design by using random secure tokenized URLs. The URL recipient is completely anonymous, and no account is needed to participate in remote controlling a Motorbunny.

For more information, visit motorbunny.com.

 

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