Practically everything is wireless these days. When contemplating this lately, I was mentally categorizing all of the devices and technologies according to their popularity and usefulness. Here, in reverse order, are my picks for the top five most useful wireless technologies.
This was an obvious choice, of course. These days, the smartphone’s addictive nature has many seemingly living and dying with their phones. It does everything we want and need. We can use it to talk, text, email, search the Internet, navigate with GPS, listen to music, watch videos, take pictures, pay, and tell time via a connected smart watch. The smartphone may just be the single greatest electronic device ever invented. I even use my device’s level, compass, and calculator features. What doesn’t the smartphone do? And what new feature would you add if you could? Or is there already an app for that? I should have made this number one, but there are other good wireless technologies to consider.
4. Bluetooth Whatever
There are probably more Bluetooth chips in other products than any other wireless technology, with billions sold by now. It is everywhere. Some examples are wireless headsets; wireless speakers; hands-free phones in vehicles, beacons, location devices, remote controls, and medical and fitness monitors; and links between smartphones and watches. It is often found in industrial applications, too. It’s also a major candidate for the blizzard of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to come. No doubt I forgot something important. Overall, it’s a low-speed technology that has found many niches.
If you want to create a minor panic, turn off or deny access to Wi-Fi. It, too, is everywhere today; our offices, homes, cars, public places, and even on airplanes. It’s how our PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones connect to the Internet. In terms of importance, Wi-Fi follows electric power and cellular access. Nearly the first thing visitors to my home ask is “What is your Wi-Fi password?” Not being able to access Facebook, Twitter, or other social-media sites is a terrible tragedy. Wi-Fi is also used in industry and a key player in the IoT space.
2. Garage-Door Opener
Yes, the lowly garage-door opener ranks high on my list of great wireless devices. I love my garage- door opener. When it failed recently, I got to see how angry my wife could get and how irritated I became. It’s like being without air conditioning on a hot day in Texas. Boy, are we spoiled or what? Needless to say, the garage-door opener got fixed really fast. My number 2 ranking shows the respect I have for this ultra-simple wireless device.
1. Remote Control
Yes, my top pick for ultimate best wireless device is the ubiquitous TV remote control. It’s so common that we take it for granted. Yet, most of us use it many times every day. Who wants to get up off the couch or easy chair to change the channel or adjust the volume? And how can we not channel surf? The dominant technology is still infrared (IR), but that’s slowly giving way to RF remote control. Still, IR will be with us for years to come because it’s cheap, simple, and works well. Hooray for remotes of all kinds.
Those are my top five choices. What are your nominees?