Why Updating Your Mobile Phone Could Replace a Visit to the Electronics Store

Blog Post created by ablanchard on Jun 23, 2016

Before you groan over downloading the latest Android or iOS version to your Smartphone, consider this-- phone applications and operating systems could be on the verge of replacing a significant portion of the electronics in the average North American home. Your average home 5 years ago might have had:


*Home Security system

*Sprinkler control system

*Car keys - electronic/battery operated

*A radio

*An alarm clock

*A thermostat

*More than one TV

*TV Remote control

*PC or laptop

*An aging VCR camera

*Dusty DVD and CD players

*Handheld video games


*For musicians - specialized electronics for recording and playback


Today smartphone users don’t need to buy alarm clocks, radios, calculators, or cameras if they don’t want to -this functionality is already pre-loaded onto their  new phones when they buy them.  What’s less obvious is the trend toward phones and phone apps being created to control other devices.  This growing phenomenon is being driven by early breakthroughs in the internet of things.  Let’s look at a few examples:


Already Available:

*Car control: A host of new apps, such as Viper SmartStart and My Start, enable starting and locking your car remotely.


Available But Facing Uncertain Adoption:

*Nest and Wink work together to make your phone the monitoring center for smoke alarms, lights, door locks, and thermostats, among other things.  However, this level of home interconnectedness has perceived drawbacks, as consumers want to be assured their homes can’t be hacked into.  Additionally Smart devices like Amazon’s Alexa are almost too easy to use, prompting concerns that a guest or even a TV announcer could end up resetting your thermostat!


Announced But Not Available Yet:

*Device Control:  Google’s project Brillo offers a new version of their Android operating system set to work with device partners.


Already announced:

-Kwickset will develop a set of smartlocks to work with it

-LG will connect home appliances to it

-Harman will enable their speaker systems to run on it


Aaaah - but what about the biggest reason why people still visit electronic stores - the all -inviting “TV wall” that lets you compare the latest and greatest SmartTV’s?  Answer: mobile phones will not replace Smart TV’s and home entertainment systems anytime soon, but they are eating away at the time spent in front of them.  For example, a hefty 17% of UEFA Euro 2016 (Europe’s largest soccer tournament) are expected to watch the matches live on their phones, according to research by Opera Mediaworks.  And, 44% are inclined to practice app-enhanced viewing while they are watching the live matches. (For more on the tech behind UEFA Euro 2016, see my colleague Charlie Kraus' blog.)


As the phone becomes a leverage point for managing other devices, updates to the operating system become  important not just to consumers, but to appliance manufacturers and developers. This has major implications for those technologies that supply phone updates, including content delivery networks:


  • Phone manufacturers will demand even more of their update delivery networks as device integration becomes part of their platform growth strategy.
  • App developers will pay more attention to the choice of content delivery networks behind their app stores as frequency and reliability become more important to consumers.
  • Consumers will want ways to streamline and schedule the update process in ways that don’t interfere with their usage - a need that becomes more and more challenging as the devices are used for more round the clock functions.


Phone updates could replace a trip to the electronics store and may even create a sense of loss for those of us who love to touch and feel new, cool devices.  But manufacturers are counting on the advantages to outweigh the loss - and on content delivery networks to minimize the inconvenience.