Friday, February 23, 2018

Microstory 785: Valet

In 2007, Magnate began its line of appliances, which quickly became its most successful department. People would always need ways to store and prepare their food, as well as easily perform everyday household duties. Then in 2012, Magnate expanded to entertainment electronics, including cameras, phones, and music players. As time went on, it was becoming clear that smartphone apps were going to remain the most important tools people use to maintain their lifestyles. There were apps for scheduling, apps for communication, apps for games, and apps for tracking fitness activities. Wanting to bridge their other departments into a more cohesive system, in 2017, Magnate started getting into materianet, which is sometimes known as the tangiblenet, but Magnate coined the former. They wanted to connect every machine or device an individual owned, so they could all communicate with each other, and share data. Theoretically, with this technology, your home will wake up when your car drives close enough to it by adjusting the environmental temperature, opening the garage, turning on the hall lights, switching the television to your favorite news program, and disabling internal security precautions. Before you even leave work, it can remind you to pick up a carton of milk, because it’s been communicated this need by your refrigerator. Similarly, connected cities should be able to measure the traffic on a given road, keeping street lights dimmed when not in use, and brightening them only when a car or pedestrian draws near. This was going to be a huge endeavor, and not everything Magnate has tried has worked out perfectly. But one thing they realized was that they really needed a single system that all devices would use. There needed to be a set of standards, and the company set out to create these, feeling themselves to be in the best position to do so. On the front end of all this is a meta-application called Valet. Valet was programmed do everything physically possible for you. Valet knows your schedule, because it has access to your online calendar. Armed with this information, it can automatically instruct your thermostat to a setting ideal to saving energy, say when you’re off on vacation. Is a friend dropping by to check on the place while you’re gone? You can temporarily grant her certain house rights, which alters the temperature to her personal ideal, and it knows this, because everyone has their own account. You can lock her out of certain rooms, if she’s not allowed access, and can lock your car and/or garage down, so she can’t take your new Starburst out for a spin. All of this is controlled by a single application on your phone. Sounds nice, right? Though a great number of people came together to make this a reality, one special individual, with the ability to see the future, spearheaded the project. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Manus Burke’s personal assistant, Lynne Wallace.

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