I was taking a flight back home over the weekend and was surprised to see a commercial during the in-flight entertainment for a Delta phone app. My surprise continued when I logged onto their internet during the middle of the flight, the subject of a previous blog, and someone on Facebook suggested I use a flight tracker to monitor my trip. Why? I knew where I was; on the plane. Why did I need to know more than that?

Meanwhile, in another part of the country, my partner was gearing up for a cross-country drive and suggested I sign in to Gmail and learn how to utilize Google Latitude. It’s unlikely that it would be able to keep up with him in real time, but I started to see the peace of mind it could bring knowing I could track his progress without calling him or waiting for him to call me. And when I walked in the Trademark Productions office door this morning, there was a story that caught my attention about monitoring one’s aging parents or grandparents in their own home. Now there’s an e-commerce site I’d like to write content for.

Going back to the apps for a moment, unlike the majority of folks out there, I tend to use my phone for two reasons and two reasons only; making calls and texting. I don’t use apps. I don’t have internet access on it. I don’t want them, either. Yet, I do have to admit that it’s very convenient when other people have them. I do like the idea of knowing where my partner is if I need to make sure he’s going in the right direction and isn’t sneaking off to some store he fibs about, especially if it’s anything like my sneaking off to Best Buy after Thanksgiving (our CEO, Dwight Zahringer, has a fun little story about how he shops for Black Friday). It does make me wonder, though, how long it’ll be before it becomes a paid service.

Now, in regards to paid services, the article I mentioned about monitoring one’s parents or even grandparents really hits close to home. I have a relative who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and I looked into getting him a watch that we could use to track his movements in case he wandered off. It’s expensive, though, and I couldn’t justify the cost of the monthly service fee for what was offered. The monitoring system for a household, which consists of a series of sensors, is expensive, too. However, if your relative still enjoys some amount of independent living, the sensors are cheaper than a nursing home.

Those who live close by or a distance away can be notified via phone (a cell phone, home phone or work phone number) when their relative opens the refrigerator, is out of bed for more than 10 minutes in the middle of the night, if a door leading to the outside is opened and much, much more. It can get pretty outlandish sounding with what the sensors can monitor, but each person’s needs are different, so they cover all bases or as many of them as they can.

The costs will most likely vary by provider and area, so a solid website would be a necessity, not to mention simple, yet extensive SEO so that people can easily find you. My own peace of mind being able to track my partner while he drives cross-country AND be able to monitor my relative from the luxury of my computer is a pretty intriguing notion. To be able to shop for those services on an e-commerce site to boot may just be the way of the future, too.

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