What isn't controlled by a smartphone? A look at how mobile devices are taking over

On December 11, 2013

mobileThink back five years ago. Although it seems like just yesterday, the tech world had an entirely different landscape. iPhones were barely a year old. Android was making its debut. iPad’s were still almost two years away from being introduced!

We’ve come a long way in just five short years.  Everything, from our schedules and Internet surfing, to entertainment and bill paying, seems to be conducted on mobile devices. While most people utilize the “basics”, tech savvy users are taking full advantage of their smartphone’s capabilities.  Let’s take a deeper look into how mobile devices are taking over just about everything we do.

Just Like George Jetson!

Remember the futuristic innovations featured on the popular cartoon, The Jetson’s?  Well, the future is here.  There are a plethora of Apps and services that allow you to control just about any aspect of your home with your smartphone.  Among the available features include turning lights and appliances on and off, changing thermostat settings, view what is happening at, in or around your home with live camera feeds and locking and unlocking doors.  Companies such as Verizon offer a subscription-based service with a complementing App. INSTEON is another popular brand specializing in mobile phone home automation. Their online store features a plentiful selection of both IOS and Android Apps.

On the Road

While we are not to the point of smartphone actually driving our vehicles, there are a number of fun Apps to help some excitement, and even practicality, to your road experience.  Parkopedia is an amazing App that allows you to locate all available parking near you.  Once you find a spot, Honk will monitor your parking meter time and alert you when it is about to expire.  And, if you cannot find your car, the App will even provide a mapped route back to where it’s parked.  Worried about traffic?  Most smartphone users are familiar with either Apple Maps or Google Maps.  In addition to navigation, both have advanced feature to display real-time traffic. I find this especially useful when traveling the interstate and during rush hour.

Doctor’s Assistant

With hundreds of thousands of available Apps, it is sometimes difficult to know what is really available.  Because we are now a “smartphone” driven society, some of the more tech savvy physicians are referring Apps to help their patients record health habits and patterns.  There are Apps to help your control calorie intake and monitor exercise.  Some of the most interesting Apps are heart rate monitors.  Instant Heart Rate by Azumio, Inc. actually reads and records your pulse using the lens of your camera phone!

Personal “Mall”

Why fight the crowds and battle traffic?  Many consumers are discovering they can load their favorite stores right on to their smartphones, literally creating a personal mall on their devices.  IBM has released their cloud-based analytics report for Black Friday 2013 and the numbers are impressive.  According to the report:

“Mobile Shopping Soars:  Mobile traffic grew to 39.7 percent of all online traffic, an increase of 34 percent over Black Friday 2012. Mobile sales were also strong, reaching 21.8 percent of total online sales, an increase of nearly 43 percent year-over-year.”   (source: IBM Cloud Based Analytics Black Friday 2013)

Gazing at the Stars or Hanging a Picture

Smartphones are even adding a new dimension to everyday activities.  The next time you want to gaze at the stars, search for a star map App.  Sky Map is an example of an App that allows you to point your smartphone to the heavens and replicates exactly what you are looking at on your smartphone, making planet, star and constellation identification a piece of cake. You can even use your smartphone as a level to help you hang photos or perform advanced carpentry work. iHandy Carpenter is a nifty suite by iHandySoft that gives you a protractor, ruler, plumb bob, surface level and level bar.  Now, you can lighten up that heavy toolbox a bit!

We have come a long way since 2008.  Today, mobile devices do rule the world.  Makes you wonder what the tech landscape will look like five years from now.  One can only imagine, but I can almost guarantee someone looking back at this article will probably laugh at our “ancient” technology!

Guest author: Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies, including Spanning.com. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.