Sitting on a shelf in my entertainment room are five oblong plastic boxes.
One is the remote control for my TV, another for my surround-sound receiver. One is for my blue-ray player, another is for the PVR, and yet another one is for no discernible purpose.
But if I wasn’t half the lazy idiot I sadly am, I could replace them all with a simple app on my iPhone or iPad, like Roomie.
We’re getting fairly used to our mobile devices being remote controls for the various aspects of our digital and not-so-digital lives. Your LG fridge has an IP address, can text you when food is going bad, and can be controlled by your phone. Home security systems that come complete with an app, and can tell you what’s happening in your home, are almost the norm.
OnStar gives your car a remote control too, and if it’s not exactly a James Bond-style actually-drive-your-car-by-remote app, it at least tells you the condition of your battery, how much gas you have, and lets you remotely unlock your vehicle. (Oh, and by the way, if you do want to drive your car by remote control, just buy the Chinese BYD Su Rui, an ordinary 5-seater sedan that yes, can be driven by remote control — at 1.2 miles per hour.)
Next week at VentureBeat’s Mobile Summit 2013, we’re going to be talking about mobile as a remote control for life. Security systems, cars, homes, appliances: everything modern, seemingly, has a remote control.
One of the things we’re increasingly using our mobile phones/remote control is to control ourselves. Sometimes with little devices like a Fitbit or an Up, but often also simply with our phones and apps like Digifit, which monitors and tracks our fitness and workouts. Others help us get better sleep, stop smoking, and walk more, simply by letting us set goals, and then holding us to them.
One, the Gain Fitness app, helps us to manage our fitness with one simple feature: the workout streak tracker. Although the app does other things, it tracks every day you do a workout, and every day you do not. Miss one, skip one, or avoid one, and your workout streak is broken, and you start back down at zero. Essentially, it’s a simple motivational trick to make yourself do what you know you really want to do, but sometimes don’t feel like.
In essence, a remote control.
More on devices, gadgets, the internet of things, and the mobile computers we call phones that are enabling this remote control trend at Mobile Summit 2013, April 1-2 in Sausalito, California.