The Smart House: We Need a Universal Remote

Smart house gadgets are springing up all over the place. But, as more and more devices look to use your smartphone as a remote control (lights, locks, toys, you name it), the age old problem of too many remotes starts happening again - only, this time it's with smartphone apps. What we need now is a Universal Remote smartphone app to manage all of these smart devices and coordinate the entire home automation system - otherwise, your smart house is just a bunch of smart gadgets. Instead of opening one app to lock the door, another to turn on the lights, and a third to turn on the air conditioning, all of these APIs should be united.

A smart house full of smart gadgets. Not picture: all of the remotes needed.

Not only is the more convenient....but it enables an entirely new level of smart home control. Right now, opening a separate smartphone app is just as bad as picking up a new remote. But, if you combine all of them into one control interface, you can create "scenes": when you arrive at your smart house, simultaneously lock the door, turn on the lights and adjust the temperature. Now that's a home automation system.

These devices can continue to offer their own remote programs. But having a single, cross-platform mobile app that bridges the gap not only between different types of hardware (lights, locks, etc), but between different brands of the same hardware (the LIFX and Phillips Hue, for example) will vastly accelerate the adoption of smart house technologies.

Only then will the true power of devices like the Lockitron smart lock, Pebble watch and LIFX smart lighting come to fruition. Without a cross-device remote, you'll only get a decent experience if you subscribe to a single brand's "Smart House" home automation system. But, when you turn your phone into a real universal remote control, you'll really start to reap the rewards of smart home technology.

The best part is, building a standard smart home system would need to be implemented by a third party. If Philips tried to create a unified home automation system, other companies wouldn't be interested, since they'd be handing over their keys to a competitor. You and your startup, as a neutral third party, would be perfectly positioned to represent the consumers' need for a unified home automation system without scaring away other manufacturers.

So, who's up for the challenge? If you implement this smartphone app idea, I'll be the first to buy it!