I have said for some time now that I think the dedicated remote control will soon be a vestige of the past. As more and more devices allow your smartphone to control them, the old world of losing remotes and trying to figure out which one is the right one will disappear.
Unfortunately, my iPhone screen is starting to look a bit like my old drawer of remotes. I currently have apps to control smartbulbs, smartwatches, thermostats, receivers, cars, and so on. Figuring out which one to use for which device can be a real hassle. And, the problem is only going to get worse as my number of smart devices grows.
Lots of folks are attempting to provide the answer to controlling all your devices. Everyone wants in on this action:
- Communications companies (Time Warner, AT&T, etc.)
- Hardware stores (Lowes, Home Depot, etc.)
- Smartphone vendors (Apple, Google, Samsung, etc.)
- Small startups (like IFTTT and SmartThings, though that was recently acquired by Samsung).
The challenge, of course, is that not every controlling solution supports every device. I don’t want a platform that dictates what products I can use. That harkens back to the early days of smartphones or PCs, when your platform determined what you were able to do. Eventually, the world will shake out and products and platforms will live together in harmony. Until then, expect things to continue to be a bit of a mess.
In the interim, I’ll do my best to keep my smartphone screens neat and orderly, just like I did with my remote drawer. I fear, however, that I will get as frustrated with my many control apps as I did with my remotes. Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem if I stopped getting the latest toys!