Making it 'smart'

A shot-in-the-arm can turn a regular TV that cannot connect to the internet, what I call a DumbTV, into a SmartTV that can connect to the cloud – aka internet. An available HDMI connection port on the DumbTV, wireless internet, and a streaming device completes the transformation. It's a far cry from buying a new SmartTV as streaming devices can be had for under $100 or even under $50!

Comparatively, the hit on your wallet may be more marginal when you decide to replace your LED light bulb at the front door with a “Smart” LED light bulb so you can turn it on with your phone rather than fumble through your keychain in the dark.

There are many examples of turning a regular, everyday object in your home into a “smart” object by adding computer-like intelligence circuitry as part of home automation, aka Smart Home. More broadly, transforming regular objects in this world “smart” is referred to as “Internet of Things.”

Like transforming a DumbTV into a SmartTV at a fraction of the cost of buying a new SmartTV by using a streaming device, some of the more beneficial features found in a new car can also be attained without replacing the whole car. One such feature is a backup camera.

Due to physical ailments, people may have a painful time turning their head when checking for safety before backing out of a parking spot. Or in the course of trying to parallel park, it can be challenging when reversing snugly in-between two cars.

When we replaced our 15-year-old car, it came with a backup camera. Boy, it sure made checking the surroundings before backing out easy, and parallel parking became easier too. No more parking tickets because you couldn’t parallel park close enough to the curb (yes, I received such a ticket in the old car). I’m sure there are some of you experts in parallel parking laughing at me – LOL!

But just like the DumbTV example above, what if you just recently bought a new car but didn’t opt for a backup camera or it was not offered for your model? As a rule of thumb, a new car depreciates more than 10 percent the first month you drive it off the lot so replacing the whole car might not be a sound financial decision.

I’ve said this before that people don’t necessarily make an U-turn home if they forget their wallet but if they forget their smartphone, probably many would make that U-turn as the smartphone has become your wallet and much more.

Keeping the ubiquity of a smartphone in mind, just like adding a $50 streaming device to a DumbTV, you can buy a backup camera that will use Wi-Fi and show the image out the back on your smartphone! Online retailer Amazon, for example, has many examples of such backup cameras on license plate frames for under $150. That is one Internet of Things we need on our 18-year-old Caddy!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with almost 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 10:05 AM, 03.19.2019