Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mobile Applications that Move Things

There is a new category of mobile software applications for Smart Phones and handheld computers that physically move things. I love it!!! Zip Car, a rental car service, allows you to use your iPhone to both find and unlock the rental car. Zip Car's business model is they park their rental cars around a metropolitan area and people can register and pay for the rental online, then they are provided with a list of locations where these cars are parked near them. Once there, they can enter their rental code into their iPhone and the Zip Car is unlocked for them.

In this USA Today article, a California company has now created an application called Viper SmartStart that can replace your car keys. Your iPhone will now be able to lock, unlock and start your car. Again, your Smart Phone is controlling mechanical movements. Next I can see throwing away my garage door opener, TV Remote and using my iPhone to start up and warm my car during the dark of winter.

I have read in other articles about home security systems and security related video cameras all being managed and activated by Smart Phones. There has been the concept of convergent devices for some time, but this generally referred to converging different pieces of equipment such as bar code scanners, GPS, digital cameras etc, together in one mobile device. This new Convergence 2.0 includes taking control of and managing the mechanical movement of things.

Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy and Marketing Consultant