Remote controls for TVs, personal video recorders (PVRs) and even air conditioners sometimes drive us up the wall. Their batteries stop working at the most inconvenient time possible or someone breaks or loses them.
However, if you have certain phones, there is an easy answer. Many Android smart phones and tablets contain what is known as an “IR Blaster” which means they can produce an infra red beam as does your remote control. For these phones, it just takes a simple, free app from the Play Store and your phone becomes a controller. For Apple phones and some others, an add on IR Blaster is required as these phones do not contain one.
I have tested this with a Samsung S5 smart phone, the Smart Remote app which came with it and an old (2006 , I think) LG TV and Beyonwiz PVR. The TV is a bit finicky, and would never work with the Byonwiz’s claimed universal remote though it did with an entry level Logitech universal remote. The user interface on the app is simple, and would possibly be easier to use for someone with eyesight issues than a physical remote. Sometimes it is slow to respond or takes more than one press of a button to work but generally it is pretty good and I have been able to switch to using it exclusively for the TV and lend the Logitech to a relative who needed it urgently.
For a list of phones which contain an IR Blaster see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_blaster
Note however, the standard model Samsung Galaxy S5 is not on this list, but must contain one as it works for me!
Today begins a series on less known but useful phone apps for business . If you want to be able to control lights or displays at your business remotely, read on.
What is it?
The app doesn’t do much on its own, requiring a compatible device. My testing was done with a WeMo switch, which is similar in size and appearance to the timers that we all remember from holidays as kids. It’s much easier to use though and if you have forgotten to set the time or aren’t happy with it, you can alter it while on holidays. It can be used for any device that plugs into a standard indoor power point. The one I tested is not weatherproof so unfortunately not suitable for swimming pool filtered and such things.
Who is it for?
Anyone who is going away or who wants to control security lighting after hours, for example. It’s easy to use and we tested it with IPhone and an Android phone. It can often be purchased on special from major consumer electronics stores for around $60.
What has technology got to do with networking? Most people would say not much, unless you are talking about creating a computer network. But I’ve been to some great networking events lately where technology enhanced the experience.
I’m a member of a local business group which uses the Bizzabo phone app at its events. No more lost business cards as Bizzabo allows you to connect with, keep the contact details of, and message other attendees. Bizzabo for event attendees is a free download for Android and Apple so if you to an event that uses it, give it a try..See http://www.bizzabo.com