One of the best conversations you can have these days centers on the technology that we’re carrying around right now. Before long, it will have gone the way of the camera, the PDA and analog television. Faster than you can say Polaroid, technology is replacing some of the items we’ve depended on our entire lives.
The competition is already fierce in the world of smart locks and digital keys. Kwikset (www.kwikset.com) is on the market with its Kevo Smart Lock.
As long as you have your smartphone with you, you only have to touch the lock on your door to open it. If you don’t have a smartphone, Kwikset also offers a key fob you touch to the lock that will unlock it too.
August’s (www.august.com) digital door lock needs the owner’s smartphone within range but will unlock the door without a touch and re-lock itself once you’re inside. Currently in beta testing, the company is designing the lock with even more digital smarts. Using the August’s app you can issue keys to your door to anyone with a smartphone. Use it to give access to guests only for the night of your party, or to that dog walker who’ll be in and out the week you’re on vacation.
Goji’s lock (www.gojiaccess.com) is similar to the August lock. It also lets you see, in real time, pictures of visitors standing at your door.
Google and Apple are leading the efforts to drive wallets from our pockets to our smartphones. Before long, magnetic credit card swiping will go the way of the old credit card imprinting machines (although many small businesses keep these for backup just in case their electronic terminals fail.)
Unlike magnetic strip information that is easy for thieves to steal, even through a wall of leather and denim, digital wallets are typically more secure.
With banks and credit card companies hot on the trail of NFC technology, it won’t be long before everyone has the ability to accept and make payments with a tap or a wave, instead of a swipe.
Thanks to Bluetooth technology, wireless headphones are fast becoming as common as curved-screen LED TVs. Now, we can look forward to the demise of the earbuds with the irritating cable connecting the speaker in our right ear to the one in our left.
Two separate earbuds that look like earplugs and connect wirelessly to a smartphone are in development at start-ups like Earin (www.earin.com) and Ownphones (www.ownphones.com.) Ownphones is putting 3D printing technology to good use with earbuds that are custom made for the individual wearer.
Perhaps looking for its next technology leadership position, Motorola is working on a Bluetooth headset that is the smallest of any on the market today.
The music download business that Apple almost single-handedly created is already “so 2007.” Music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and even YouTube are moving the entire recorded music space to streaming.
With its 2014 acquisition of Beats Music and Beats Electronics, Apple is perfectly positioned to join the streaming party. If the rumors are true, this year Apple will be slowing the downloading business in favor of integration with their Beats streaming music service.
Thanks to the endless possibilities of today’s technology universe, someone is always looking to out-do the Apples of the world. For audiophiles who like the convenience of streaming but don’t want to sacrifice so much of the sound quality they get with CDs, Deezer (www.deezer.com) and Tidal (www.tidalhifi.com) will soon launch high-end, high-fidelity streaming services.
Go ahead and shout out your protests that change is still years away for keys, wallets, wired headphones and music downloads. The rest of us will be glad to say bye-bye to lost keys, accidentally running our wallets through the wash cycle, catching that earbud cord on anything within two feet and paying for tunes by the download.