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Spotlight: Caroline Laurenson, Managing Director, TL Tech – Smart Home Solutions

I love to sing and my voice features in the sonic branding for our Amazon Alexa voice application. Music is a passion of mine and I love how it brings people together and how complimentary it is for young people in their school studies.

Tell us about your careers journey so far.

I didn’t always work in tech, or even want to become an entrepreneur. My background is a little bit unusual in that I studied Chemical Engineering and I’ve worked in oil and gas industry for quite some time decommissioning offshore oil and gas platforms. I now run a smart home technology company called TL Tech, that I set up with my husband who is an Electronic and Electrical Engineer.

I always thought that by becoming an engineer that I would be able to make a difference in the world, but I now see how powerful entrepreneurship also is in improving our lives and planet. The idea that you can have a vision and share this with others and inspire people to join your mission is so amazing. People with engineering and entrepreneurship skills can provide solutions to society’s greatest challenges.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

My favourite subjects at school were Chemistry, Maths and Music. For a long time, I wanted to be a teacher, but because of my interest in Chemistry this led me to Chemical Engineering. I love the creativity in engineering and the investigative nature of science, but also needing to be disciplined and structured in your approach to problem solving.

What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?

In my work running a smart homes company and as a voice application designer, useful subjects include computer science, physics, design, music, psychology, languages, maths and business.

What I love most about tech is you don't need a traditional qualification to work in tech, for example in the area I am most interested in, which is HealthTech and healthy ageing, the Royal College of Art have an amazing and very well-respected Design Age Institute with some amazing experts in inclusive technology design.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I love helping people and seeing how technology can enhance their lives. We work with a lot of student interns and trainees and this is something we feel is important to help young people in their career journey and to give them opportunities to learn and develop.

What is a normal day in your role like?

My days are very varied. I spend time most days reviewing the user interaction on our Alexa voice skill and working on new content for the platform. Our voice application focuses on helping people with their wellbeing and so I spend time meeting experts in this field and curating content for our users. We’ve recently started building voice applications for other companies and I help to project manage these scopes, tracking actions and ensuring that progress is being made to complete the workscopes.

A large proportion of my time is taken up working on marketing and sales, including managing our social media, website and talking to customers.

Our team works virtually, we use an online collaboration tool called Trello to share information and plan activities. Because the team is small, we don’t typically have a lot of meetings.

And what does your job title mean?

My title is Managing Director, which means I am in overall charge of the business day-to-day operations and also the strategic future direction of the business. As our company is so small my role entails managing pretty much everything, finance, marketing, sales, people, product development, talking to customers, partnering, bidding for projects, creating help guide content (inc. videos), applying for funding and general admin.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

We have a smart dolls house that we created to take to events that allows people to really imagine how a space and someone’s life can be enhanced with technology. We’ve also created a wordsearch and smart home design worksheet that can be used to think about inclusive design.


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