October 4, 2013
- I was talking to my sister the other day and she said she wishes she had a flat panel TV on the wall of her home that is dedicated to displaying the family calendar. Oddly enough, as sibling coincidences go, I have been lusting after that very thing. Here’s a view from my desk chair. (I started work at 3 am today so the room looks a bit dark.)
In the picture you see a wall that I have kept undecorated while I fantasize that someday my calendar and to-do list will appear on some sort of display there. I was imagining a ceiling mounted projector system, but with current technology that has some tradeoffs such as noise, heat, and a bad image in daylight. I’m waiting for technology to offer a cleaner solution.
You might ask why I don’t use the TV in my office as the calendar. That would almost work, except I use the TV as a TV while I draw, and switching back and forth would be just enough of a pain in the ass that I might as well use my computer monitor.
Anyway, this made me wish that Apple and Samsung would create a “Calendar TV” for the kitchen. Let me spec it out a bit here.
Imagine a flat panel TV (like a big iPad) that has touch screen capability and a primary purpose of displaying your family calendar and your family to-do list, including shopping list. Every family member has a smartphone app that syncs their own calendars to the family calendar. The Calendar TV would hang face-high so you could also easily type directly onto the touch screen. If you open the fridge and see you need milk, just enter it into the Calendar TV and it goes to the family’s common shopping list.
That’s the basic function of the product. Future versions might include some of this:
1. Calendar senses whose smartphone is in the room and only displays the information that person cares about. If two or more people are in the room it defaults to the full family calendar.
2. Stream TV shows.
3. Stream video security picture that pops up instead of the calendar when there is motion near the front door, or wherever cameras are focused.
4. Stream baby monitor pictures.
5. Stream family photos.
6. Track family members by GPS and display on a map, so you know when Dad is coming home. (Parents would be able to turn that function off for their own phones if needed.)
8. Streaming music. (Wireless speakers as an option.)
9. Bar code scanner so you can wave the empty milk carton in front of the TV and it gets added to the shopping list.
The Calendar TV’s default function would be the family calendar, and it should never be more than one button away for the user. You want sub-second switching to the calendar from any other function. That’s what makes this product a Calendar TV and not a general Smart TV. If you’re streaming a TV show and want to see the calendar, one command pauses the show and switches.
Your phone app would be able to control all of the switching among functions, volume, etc. Or you could do the same switching on the TV’s touch screen.
There’s a psychological component to this product. If I tell you it is a Calendar TV, you might say you want one for your kitchen, perhaps mounted on the fridge door. Any features beyond the calendar are just icing. But if I say I have a so-called “smart TV” for you, and it does a thousand cool things, you probably say you haven’t felt the need for any of it. This might be one of those less-is-more situations. Forget about the battle for the living room TV and focus on the kitchen. The kitchen is the brain of the house.
Would you buy a Calendar TV for $500?