Life through a smartphone

Posted On 24 Aug 2016
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worried teenager using mobile phone and computer as internet cybToday’s society is glued to smart devices, be them phones or tablets, but do they really need to be used for every aspect of our daily lives? PSI editor Andy Clutton is not so sure

OK, long time readers of PSI will know that I’m something of a cynic and an old  grump when it comes to new trends. Much like the father figure in “The Croods” I find change is usually something to be avoided, especially if there is nothing wrong with the existing situation.

While I’m certainly no hip young thing, like most people these days I do own a smartphone, however unlike the majority of people you come across out in public I am not glued to the thing. Give anyone a spare minute and out comes the phone. Just look at any bus queue, train platform or resting IFSEC exhibitor and you’ll see a phone emerge. There is an unprecedented desire to run absolutely every aspect of life through the mobile phone from monitoring your gas and electricity bills in real-time to counting how many steps you are taking during the day and having all your meals planned in advance by a clean eating app that recommend lots of kale, acai and chia seeds. Yum (not).

Quite why we feel that we need a little device to organise our whole life through and one that we cannot live for five minutes without switching on is beyond me. When I go on holiday, the mobile does not go with me. That’s two weeks without being connected to anyone except my family (who I do choose to take with with me). For some this is simply impossible, but when I go on holiday, I go off grid ok? I don’t need someone calling me saying “I know you are on holiday but…” and the like.

Likewise when I go away, I don’t want to be able to watch someone breaking into my house while I’m hundreds of miles (including the North Sea) away from home. But some people clearly do as the big trend, and I mean BIG trend, at the moment is remote access to the home via your mobile. It’s already got the CCTV camera manufacturers frothing at the R&D departments and now it seems that the intruder chaps are also joining in.

I accept that this trend is not my personal choice, but I can definitely see more suitability for intruder monitoring over the phone than internal CCTV. Panels lend themselves to be set remotely and status alerts to your mobile make complete sense, but wait for it… the panel itself might be under threat from the phone too. In our August 2016 Panel feature we asked industry experts whether the mobile could replace the domestic panel in the near future. And before you say “single point of failure” just think about it. There are plenty of people out there who would like an app for this service. Something installers could provide on a recurring revenue basis maybe? And then you could upgrade them as their requirements change. To a panel perhaps…?

I guess that at the moment everyone is trying to push every aspect of their lives through the smartphone, but maybe once the novelty has worn off we’ll go back to the tried and trusted methods of living – and maybe some more people might start to leave their phones at home…