I just did a retweet at Twitter about SMS being used in Copenhagen to open doors to public toilets. This is an idea apparently already in use in Finland along Highway 1. I read about both at Textually.
Earlier today I posted a retweet on Twitter via Jan Chipchase on SMS use in India, where farmers can use SMS remote controlling to turn on and off their irrigation system on the farm. The solution by Tata the mobile telecoms network can save long walks.
So I was thinking of a few other instances of remote access by SMS and where I have seen them. There is of course the tea-kettle in England that you can turn on and off by SMS.
In Finland we've had saunabath heater systems for a decade already that you can turn on your saunabath via SMS,.Similar systems exist to turn on your home air conditioning via SMS.
What of the music in a restaurant or bar? There are SMS controlled 'juke boxes' that let you select what song plays next. Paris has many, the original idea came from Israel.
Your airline check-in, obviously, no need to stand in line, do your check-in already in the taxi cab while on the way to the airport, via SMS, as invented by Finnair in 2001.
Then those night-time city street lights.. A lot of energy is wasted keeping lights on where the streets are not used much. In Germany they have started to keep lights off on little-used streets at night, where the local residents can send an SMS and have the lights turned on, on a timer, with enough time to get home with light.
Don't feel like signing a paper document for a legally binding contract? No problem, Spain already accepts SMS signatures as legally binding
And want to 'mail in' your vote in an election, remotely, using SMS? Estonia will become the first country to allow that nationwide in 2010.
There seems to be no end to what we can do with SMS. I only talked about you sending commands out to services and gadgets. I didn't even mention anyone else sending alerts and info to you, such as your library, your dentist, your hairdresser, your car garage, etc. SMS can be used so that your plants can send you alerts when they need to be watered, and SMS can be used to translate what your dog is saying, when the dog barks.
I have not even touched on any payments by SMS from parking to vending machines to public transportation to gosh, moving large amounts of money internationally, to even receiving your full paycheck on a mobile banking account, that is run by SMS,
Yes, SMS is the world's most widely used data application, which had 3 billion active users at the start of this year, that is three times the number of total personal computers connected to the internet, and twice the number of TV sets in use. SMS has passed 100 billion dollars in annual service revenues globally - which means SMS alone is bigger than the global music business, the worldwide videogaming industry and the planet's motion picture revenues, all put together. That is how big SMS is already, and growing 20% in traffic, 10% in users and 10% in revenues. A monster industry. And yes, we can do remote-control of almost anything, via SMS. Even open doors to public toilets.