There’s an app for that! Remember when?
Do you remember when that slogan first came out? In 2009 Apple introduced the iPhone 3G with a commercial showcasing what was then 250,000 apps in the App Store. The phone could do so much more than merely handle phone calls.
It could tell you how many calories are in your lunch. Or, how much snow was at your favorite ski resort. They capped the commercial by saying, “Do you want to know where you parked the car? “There’s an app for that.”
Now there are 1.5 million apps and a strong feeling that for all of the use of the expression – from news announcers to comedians – there should be “a cap for that.”
Why is it that the expression, “There’s an app for that,” can become quite annoying? Aside from the constant repetition, there is now an overwhelming abundance of apps. How many apps can you load onto your smart device? How many apps can you productively use? The limit is not the App Store or Play Store, but my own storage facility. My brain!
The expression also warns me that what I want to accomplish is only possible if I allow some intrusive app to be added to my phone/tablet. But what if there was a universal building block that would provide the needed app, that would “allow any smart device to interact with real world objects – a vending machine, a poster, a toy, a bus stop, a rental car – and not have to download an app first”? Great! Let’s make that the new one-stop app for all of those “that”s which can come up.
There is such a building block. The Physical Web is an approach that eliminates the need to download an app first. When combined with other similar building blocks, the Physical Web will provide small steps that lead to big change in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT). And from there, other helpful applications.
Google is adding some impetus to growth in the IoT. They have proposed a contest of sorts, which they are calling Technology Research Award Pilot (TRAP is fortunately not the acronym). The award program was announced February 10, 2016, after a year of developing eight IoT building blocks. The Physical Web is one of those 8 building blocks.
Let’s draw a conclusion. 1.5 million Apps vs. 8 building blocks. Overwhelmed vs. structured. Scattered focus vs. narrowed focus. I am overwhelmed with 1.5 million apps which may or may not be helpful. I am excited to see the structured approach of selected building blocks which will increase the scope of interaction.
The idea of building blocks being put together to accomplish more is appealing. I have nothing against your favorite app. Or mine! But I see structured basics as a better platform on which to build. Imagine 8 simple building blocks making 1.5 million Apps unnecessary. Small steps really do lead to big change. When those steps are foundational and can be combined to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts, the change will be dramatic.
Is there an app for that?