August 09, 2008

Could UDO Be The Next Killer App?

By Mark Dykeman of Broadcasting Brain (FriendFeed/Twitter)

The iPhone and its similarly-gifted sibling, the iPod Touch, combine wireless Internet access and an innovative, flexible user interface to perform a number of functions from a single device. As Apple works to own the mobile phone market - as it has done with trendy personal computers, laptops, and digital music devices - many may be wondering what the next innovation will be.

I think I've found something that could be the next big thing, and a very practical thing at that: UDO, or universal device operation.

Put simply, UDO (pronounced "you do") would be a technology that would allow you to operate any electronic device that used certain control protocols and that were subject to certain security standards. You could use UDO technology, in theory, to:
  • Lock and unlock objects (car doors, office buildings, etc.)
  • Activate machines (car starter, home appliances, etc.)
  • Command or use machines like a standard remote control
We have bits and pieces of this technology strewn about the world today, including:
  • Remote controlled car locks and car starters, either by wireless remote or mobile phone
  • Building access via RFID chips in security badges
  • Dedicated remote controls (e.g. TV, home entertainment center, model airplanes)
  • Wireless/RF scanning of barcodes to execute instructions
If we had a single technology or protocol, using wireless Internet or other communication channels, that we could use to program devices to follow certain commands, you'd have something more versatile and powerful than the Space:1999 comlock (a portable video communicator that could also lock or unlock certain kinds of doors using wireless technology).

The iPhone's interface and wireless capability would seem to be ideal for portability, touch sensitivity, and flexible interface.

There are some considerations:

This protocol would have to be built in to virtually every electronic device to be useful. This might include additional hardware and software for these devices.

Security would be key:
    You might want to use biometrics to restrict access to your UDO control
    It would have to be cost effective
    It would have to be dead simple to use.
I think this would be a very practical use of Internet/Web technology which could be adopted by large numbers of users and would be a logical extension of the directions that the iPhone and Touch are heading in.

What are your thoughts on UDO, and where would you like to see this implemented?