CES 2014 is just a few days away at this point, starting on January 7 and lasting until the 10th in beautiful Las Vegas. Every year the Consumer Electronics Show takes place, and every year we are given a glimpse into what advancements manufacturers will be introducing to us this year. More than just mobile tech is demoed during CES, but even new tech that doesn't seem related to mobile can actually be very relevant to the future in our industry. What might seem like a regular washer, dryer, or refrigerator might actually use technology that allows your smartphone to control certain aspects of everyday household appliances.
Smartphones are branching out to be more than just smartphones. Just as the cell phone has branched out to be more than just a phone and now serves as an entire computer that fits in our pockets, the direction of where the smartphone is going is switching it up again as we try to make them able to control more than just what goes on inside of the device. This isn't by any means completely new technology as we've already seen applications developed that allow your phone to do certain tasks by unlocking/locking your car, setting alarms and checking video surveillance. But those were just the start of what our smartphones would be able to control, because according to rumors we will be able to control a lot more in the next couple of years.
I've given this a bit of thought. I haven't really used my phones for controlling anything much at this point; I never had a car modern enough to put my smartphone to good use or a surveillance system. But from what I'm seeing, and given what we've seen last year, it probably won't be too much longer until things like coffee machines (which I use multiple times a day) and even toaster ovens could use smartphones just to do mundane things like make you breakfast while you're busy getting ready for your day. It's kind of weird, but kind of cool at the same time.
The first (and only actual time) that I ever used my phone as a remote control was using my HTC One's power button/IR Blaster to control my TV. Actually, it did come in handy once or twice when I was too lazy to go find the remote control. Acting as a TV remote is something that you would expect a smartphone to be able to do at this point in time though; acting as a remote control for things that don't normally have remote controls is an entirely different ballgame.
Do I think that smartphones as remote controls will be useful? For a lot of people, I think that it could be. I think that the idea works great for accessibility purposes. People who aren't able to walk around as easily or comfortably would probably find such technology beneficial to their everday lives. But even if not, using your smartphone as a remote control to start breakfast or move laundry could still be a handy time-saving tool for anybody. Plus, the idea just makes sense. I'm always losing remote controls for things, like garage doors and televisions, but I'm always conscious of where my smartphone is. It makes sense to make my smartphone an all-in-one remote control for things.
What are your thoughts on using your smartphone as an all-in-one remote control? What appliances would you want to work with a smartphone remote control? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!