Driving Ms. Smartphone

n the Academy Award-winning film, “Driving Miss Daisy,” Jessica Tandy craves her independence and wants to drive, but is of the age where it has become difficult. Her son, Boolie (Dan Aykroyd), suggests she gets a driver, and in steps Hoke (Morgan Freeman). For days she avoids his chauffeuring, as he follows her throughout the Magnolia tree-lined streets as she shops on foot. Eventually she gives in and they become the grandest of friends—to the very end.

So here we are in our own movie of sorts. Let’s call it: “Driving Ms. Smartphone.” Everything we do, or quite a bit of it, is based on smartphones, tablets, Flash technology, computers, software, wireless and on! In the beginning maybe we were like Miss Daisy—we resisted and said that our customers didn’t need it. But now the time has come to embrace technology.

Remember that the biggest buying dollars are coming from the thirty-something’s or younger and they have technology attached at the hip. They aren’t necessarily driven by security, but instead by convenience, and there’s no better way to arm/disarm security or look in on home or office than remotely.

Up and down the manufacturing channel there are examples of new technologies, many Web-based, wireless or based on cellular communications. Honeywell’s Total Connect is now in a 2.0 version and according to Gordon Hope, vice president of Marketing and Business Development for Honeywell and chairman of the Security Industry Association, the new version is a big change with upgraded functionality that allows home and business owners to remotely manage their security systems and view live video via PCs, smartphones, tablets and other Web-enabled devices. “Total Connect 2.0 has been vastly re-engineered,” he said. Commenting on technology, Hope said: “Right now the biggest concern for the industry is ‘when does the next G or generation’ come in. It will and everyone is adding 3G capability. But migrating to new technology, yes, that’s a real, ongoing issue for our industry,” Hope said.

Hope has other keen insights on the industry. “If the carrier community is shaping the expectations of consumers, which I believe it is, then we know people in their 20s and 30s want blazing speed. So it’s not an argument about the technology coming but how you will put it to use. To get robust communications you probably will be using a blend of technologies.”

At the ESX show in Charlotte the 2GIG Technologies booth was crowded each day of exhibits and Todd Santiago, president of the Utah-based firm said he was excited about the traffic and the fact that the company was filling an untapped niche in the marketplace—was there at the right time—with its security offering which of course is much more and spans lighting control and home automation. Remote access and user-friendly features are key to the system, with a wireless touch-screen secondary keypad and new and expanding distribution channels, as well as hints from Santiago at some sort of video product in the works.

And our future was staring at us at other places at the show; at the Cernium booth where the analytics company is working with Sprint 3G to bring more wireless broadband video capabilities to its CheckVideo hosted video analytics solution for central stations. Or, at the ControlByNet booth where CEO Ryan Strange talked about integrators using the hosted surveillance solution in critical vertical markets. At the KORE Wireless booth, Stefan Spurrell, national sales manager-Canada, talked about their digital wireless portfolio focused exclusively on the rapidly expanding machine-to-machine (M2M) communications market, offering a self-management portal for all wireless, whether GSM- or CDMA-based.

We may not all like new technology or understand it fully, but we have to embrace it or die on the vine. That’s just what Miss Daisy did—embraced her future—and she lived to a ripe old age.