Android Everywhere: Toasters, Robots, and Lasers…The World

androidarmySure we want our phone to do everything, make payments, take pictures, unlock our house, turn on the oven….but if you think of all those appliances why don’t they just have a touch screen and create my own button, Jim’s Toast. And if they all can talk to each other, and then tell me when my toast is done.  Why have single use buttons at all, why should I go through fifteen menu options to defrost chicken in my microwave, shouldn’t there be an app for that?  Even better how about a ‘cook chicken’ app that knows what appliance it is running on and then just does the job of cooking the chicken, microwave, oven, toaster oven, crock pot, doesn’t care.

So why, presumably tackle this, on this blog.  In my day to day pitching software as well as services, I get asked in 98% of the meeting, does it run on an ipad, what is your ipad strategy.  It starts to sound like the scene when John Malkovich drops into his own brain in the movie “Being John Malkovich” but instead of the word “Malkovich” being spoken as every word, it’s ipad.  Listen I got an ipad, it’s great at content and information delivery but as much as I’d like to strap it on to a pair of robot legs and have it run the world, it can’t do everything, and in the AEC profession we still need a set of professional tools, but we can certainly learn from the UI experience of the ipad, and its apps, touch interface etc.  And if the iOS was available to stuff on every appliance I’d say iOS everywhere, but it’s not, and Apple long ago made the decision to control their ecosystem.  So Android.

Drilling this down into my day to day I use two hand held devices almost everyday, first it’s my phone, and secondly it’s a laser range finder.  The phone, while not yet making my toast, does an extraordinary amount of work.  My laser, essentially a brick that gives me a critical piece of data.  We have software running on a workstation that takes the data and does good things with it, but the laser itself, not so much.   However, put Android on the laser the User Experience I can give our clients increases exponentially, or at least geometrically.  Instead of looking at a set of single use buttons that we assign sub routines to, we can design an interface that is simplified, elegant, self explanatory.  The laser itself becomes the hand held with wifi, bluetooth.  You can serve information, query data, use it as a walkie talkie on a job sight, etc. granted your not taking it out on the town at night, but during the day this is it.  You put the apps on it that make sense.  Need to capture the volume of a room, assign it a room number and move on, boom done.  All on the hand held.  There is a start to this, with a laser you can strap on the iphone, so somebody is up and thinking, but I don’t have an iphone and the laser/strap on doesn’t have the features and commercial strength I need but on the face of it, great idea.

So Android Everywhere, appliances talking to appliances, cats with dogs, and with Bluetooth Smart Ready, your phone will unlock doors, tell you when your toast is done…just hope google doesn’t serve me an ad after my toast pops up, ‘Wouldn’t You Like Some Smuckers Jam on that Toast”



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