Qualcomm had a big IoE (Internet of Everything) event this week and they walked us through a variety of their initiatives from AllSeen and AllPlay, to Smarter Cities and Automotive, to smart appliances and smartwatches. All of these have a smartphone in the mix and the promise is that in the future—and I’m talking next 6 to 24 months future—your smartphone is about to get one hell of a lot more useful.
Let’s talk about what is coming.
Smartphone Driven Cars
I’ll start with this because it will take the longest and because I think it will be the coolest of the bunch. Their demonstration in two custom modified cars was the ability to control the car with the phone and the phone more aggressively with the car. Now the latter is already becoming available by makers like Jaguar who in their latest integration package allow you to do things like launch and execute smartphone applications from the infotainment screens of their latest cars and the increased use of Miracast (which puts your phone screen on an infotainment screen) in the aftermarket by companies like Kenwood and Pioneer.
But the really cool stuff is controlling your car from the phone. While some of this has already rolled to market and you can get an aftermarket product that will turn your smartphone into an auto locking and unlocking device for your car. But the future that is coming will allow it to replace your car key completely and allow you to control all of the in cabin car functions using the voice command capability in your phone. Yes you can get voice command in some cars (like Honda) but it generally is years or decades behind the capability of your phone.
Now if you valet your car you’ll need the valet key as I can’t imagine anyone leaving their phone behind with the car and the key will provide limited functionality (if it were me that would include not being able to drive it faster than 25 miles an hour). Eventually you’ll just give them a temporary code that will expire and in all cases the result will be far more secure than what we have today.
Though it is kind of amazing what we already can do with an aftermarket stereo and our phones today.
Mix and Match Whole House Audio
I’m a big Sonos fan but the problem with Sonos is they have a very limited line. Sonos for some time has allowed you to use your smartphone to control the music throughout your home. I’d like to have wireless headphones that connect to the system and especially outdoor speakers and they don’t make those yet. And with a proprietary solution you can only buy what the vendor sells.
Well Qualcomm’s AllPlay is working to change that and by the end of the year we’ll be up to our armpits in speakers from a variety of vendors like Monster and Hitachi who will allow us to mix and match products to our heart’s content. Sadly, so far, none of these folks is doing an outdoor or headphone product. Go figure?
But, eventually, those will come along with a whole host of other options that should give you choices you can’t even imagine now all controllable from your smartphone.
From iGlass like headsets to the AR Glasses like the ones BMW / Mini is developing for cars to smartwatches we are going to be little walking technology showcases shortly. All of these things extend your smartphone’s capabilities to your wrist or your head. I don’t think there will be a part of your body that doesn’t tell someone or something about you, beep, flash, or listen to your every word. Yes it is kind of a mess right now but the vendors are figuring this all out.
My personal current favorite smartwatch is the LG Electronics G Watch R because the damn thing looks like a high end watch. But this showcases how fast these things are advancing we are already on generation two devices and designs are becoming far more attractive, battery life is improving, and we are even doing a better job of figuring out what people want in a smart wearable product.
As we advance the vendors not only will improve all of these things but get them to all interoperate better so your smart headset, smartwatch, and smartphone can be more of a team each focusing on what it does best.
One of the big aspects of all of this is the idea that your smart house, smart car, and desk (yes we still have to work) will all know who you are and auto-configure for your personal needs. Your house will power down when you leave for work—conserving energy—and power up when you get home playing the music and/or TV show you want to see when you walk in the door automatically. Your car will know you are driving, automatically give you entry and configure itself for you and even be able to call for help if you need it. It will even be able to pull from your schedule for navigation, give you news uniquely interesting to you, and let you know if friends are driving nearby. And your office PC will go active when you sit at your desk and become secure when you walk away all through the magic of your Smartphone.
This is just the tip of the iceberg is a world that will eventually have smart glass windows, virtual displays most everyplace we look, drones that record your every move, and robots that jump at your every wish. Qualcomm’s message is “Why Wait?”.
Why wait indeed?
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