I’m going to be dropping a ton of James Bond references here. If you’ve never seen a James Bond film before, please do yourself a favor and spend two hours educating yourself on pure badassery. I highly recommend Goldfinger (Sean Connery) or Golden Eye (Pierce Brosnan).
What did you do this weekend? I sure hope it was productive, because you’ll have to make up for me. I “wasted” basically all of Saturday watching James Bond movies. Such classics. Sadly, I haven’t developed any super-spy abilities, or even a British accent. But as I drifted asleep that evening, a thought popped into my head.
James Bond has something that the home automation industry DESPERATELY needs.
No, I’m not talking about Bond girls (although I certainly wouldn’t protest if they started showing up with my Insteon shipments). And I’m not talking about his impressive arsenal of weapons and gadgets, even though I find myself drooling over the MI6 R&D department.
Nope – it’s none of that. James Bond has something absolutely crucial that all of us need — he has Q.
Q, or Quartermaster, is responsible for managing and developing the British Secret Service’s arsenal of high-tech gadgets, and ultimately ensuring that Bond has the right equipment for the mission.
Here’s a sample of Q in action: [click here for video]
He might not get a lot of screentime, but Q plays a major role in Agent 007′s success as a spy. Q carefully develops and curates the weapons and ultimately distills the virtually unlimited arsenal into a handful of items for Bond to actually take into the field. He explains how each item works, and explanations are typically accompanied by a demonstration.
Do you think James Bond sifts through the thousands of MI6 gadgets at his disposal before embarking on a mission? Do you think he sits and reads user manuals for hours to figure out how everything works?
In fact, Bond shows us what he thinks of user manuals in the last 30 seconds of the clip …
(If you didn’t watch the video, Bond tosses the giant encyclopedia of a manual in front of the auto-focus turrets mounted on his Aston Martin. The manual explodes into a million little shreds).
If the metaphor-crunching part of your brain has been active, you know where I’m going with this.
James Bond’s disregard for the user manual results in an explosion (Die Another Day)
The home automation industry is impressive. Collectively, many millions (if not billions) of dollars have poured into R&D to create thousands and thousands of products. There’s no problem at all with the arsenal itself.
But there’s no Quartermaster. As things are now, if you want to get involved with home automation, you have to sift through everything yourself. That means reading through countless forums, manuals, and being overwhelmed with the relentless torrent of options. Nobody will hand-pick and curate the selection for you. And forget about asking anyone to help you piece it together.
From my perspective, it’s downright stupid and short-sighted that the home automation companies out there don’t do more to show us how to use their products. After all, nobody’s going to shell out good money to buy a paperweight (unless you’re actually looking for a paperweight).
It isn’t just hurting the home automation companies themselves. If it were just that I wouldn’t be so steamed about this. It’s hurting the people who want to get started with home automation. The learning curve is so great, the barrier so high that it drives away all but the most determined geeks (and sometimes we have to wonder why we spent so much time looking into it in the first place).…