After the demise of my wife’s last car (shot transmission at 99,800 miles - sad but true) – we purchased a new Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Aside from the very cool hybrid technology which provides for silent driving, my favorite part of the car is its key.
The key mechanism on the Highlander is completely wireless. With the key in your pocket, walk up to your locked car, put your hand on the handle, and then open. Sit down in the car, press the start button, and voila - the car springs to life. I find this key to be a great example of rethinking a function that we all take for granted – for the better.
BUT … There is always a but …
I really don’t want an additional wireless gizmo to carry around. The “real key” in my life is now my smart phone. I get into the same car and magically my phone pairs with the car and enables hands free phoning. I can browse my address book, place and receive phone calls, with no additional steps.
The key unfortunately reminds me of a car I purchased in 2002 that came with its own phone. The car integrated beautifully with that phone – unfortunately, that phone was horrible and was years behind what I was already using. I ended up with two phones, neither of which gave me the experience for which I was actually looking.
Consider this: have you ever misplaced your keys? I personally have left them in every corner of my house. I have washed them, thrown them away, chilled them, locked them in the car & even jumped into the ocean with them – you name it, I’ve done it. I am willing to say that in the grand scheme of things, the amount of time that I have spend hunting for the various keys in my life is dramatically worse than the inconvenience that I have experienced by not being able to use my car phone.
What I would really like is to nix the key and replace it with my smart phone. I already know that my phone can talk to the car – why can’t it do just a little more?
Furthermore, I can now grant access to my car for other phones in my family – no more $300 keys! If a phone gets lost or stolen - I’ll disable it. I can’t do that with the hardware key. Let’s take it one more step … Let’s imagine that my car is wirelessly enabled – now I can use my phone to start and heat up the car without going outside. All the administration associated with my keys I’ll do in the cloud. In short - no more key chains - just my phone …
Now if you take this to the next level, think about all of the things that we carry around today that could and should be replaced with my smart phone.
- Loyalty cards
- Credit Cards
- Garage door openers
- TV, DVD, Cable remote controls
Frankly, anything in my wallet could and should be replaced by my smart phone. I see a future where there are no more wallets, no purses, no keys, no cash, no change … Paul Jacobs, the CEO of Qualcomm, calls the phone the remote control for our lives. If I can use this remote to spend less time searching for the way to start my car in the morning – I’m all in!