Cecilia Benattar (Photo courtesy Simon Benattar)Women who have smashed through the glass ceiling in New York real estate may have Cecilia Benattar to thank. By her mid-30s, Benattar had earned her stripes by playing a key role in the development of Midtown’s iconic General Motors Building. And she pulled off the feat back in the 1960s, when women in offices were often employed as secretaries.“She would never take no for an answer,” said Simon Benattar, 56, one of Benattar’s four children. “She would walk through walls, and nothing could stop her.” Benattar’s path to success in New York City real estate was a bit roundabout, and her style a bit unconventional. Stories at the time described her toughness and quirkiness. The England native had a knack for negotiation, a superstitiousness about the number 13 and an obsession with the symbolic properties of the color green. Fueling her dealings was a no-nonsense style. Indeed, business lunches were a “waste of valuable time,” she told Life magazine in a 1965 profile that dubbed her the “toughest woman in real estate.”“My strategy and words are like a man’s, but I can show warmth and disappointment, which in a man would be thought weak,” Benattar told Life. “But I never cried to get anything in business, and I never intend to.”A rapid ascentBorn Cecilia Rickless in 1931 in Manchester, England, she grew up in a working-class family, Simon said. Her father was a botanist who scraped together a living from selling plant-based medicines at markets. As a student, Benatar struggled with math, she later told interviewers, and needed a calculator for problems others could do in their heads. But that didn’t hamper her interest in business — one of her early hobbies was pretending to invest in the stock market. She earned a scholarship to the London School of Economics and graduated at the top of her class in 1954, Simon said. And in 1955, she married Jack Benattar, an architect.Around that time, she met Max Rayne, the newly installed head of investment firm London Merchant Securities. Benattar was working for a shelving company, and despite having no real estate experience, she pitched Rayne a deal and asked for a job, according to Vicky Ward’s “The Liar’s Ball,” a 2014 book about the GM Building. Rayne agreed, and, in 1957, Benattar and her family moved to Toronto, where she took over as the chief executive officer of London Merchant’s U.S. division. It was in Toronto that Rayne and Benattar, along with New York developer William Zeckendorf, hatched the plan to construct a new headquarters for General Motors on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street. It was up to Benattar to convince the manufacturing giant not only to relocate its Eastern headquarters from 1775 Broadway, but also to become a joint partner on the $90 million endeavor.At one point, according to family lore, Benattar filled a room with strangers when meeting with the General Motors board of directors, to make it seem like she had a larger, and more powerful, operation than was the case. But Benattar still had ways to go before making the GM Building a reality. The McKim, Mead & White-designed Savoy-Plaza Hotel had to be demolished to make way for the white-marble office tower — a move that was met with outrage by locals. And before knocking down the storied hotel, the English-accented, 5-foot-2 executive had to evict hundreds of residential tenants and personally fire all of the hotel’s staff, according to Life. Upon the building’s completion in 1968, rents typically started at about $7 a square foot for non-GM tenants, according to Ward, or about double the typical office rents in Midtown at the time. And Benattar would not give an inch in negotiations, according to Geoffrey Wharton, a former lawyer at the firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges, which was an early tenant in the building and one that’s still based there today. In “The Liar’s Ball,” Wharton recounted that Benattar said: “I allowed you the discretion of the color of the ink. Beyond that, I wasn’t interested in your comments.”Unusually, Benattar hired ex-convicts for the building’s security officers, as she firmly believed in offering people a second chance, Simon said.Benattar’s office, whose centerpiece was a rosewood desk, sat on the building’s 33rd floor overlooking Central Park, Simon said. That floor is now part of Weil, Gotshal’s sprawling multi-floor footprint, as The Real Deal reported.In 1971, General Motors bought out London Merchant’s half of the building in a deal that valued the property at $120 million, according to news reports. The building has since changed hands a number of times, and landlords have included Corporate Property Investors, Conseco and Donald Trump, Harry Macklowe and a group led by Boston Properties, which owns it today.Winding downIf Benattar was shrewd in the boardroom, she could also be quirky. Superstitious about the number 13, she refused to close any deals on the 13th day of any month, she told Life. And she was obsessed with the symbolic properties of the color green, adding that she didn’t feel comfortable unless her homes were decorated in that hue.Those homes included a six-bedroom Modernist retreat on the waterfront in Rye, New York, designed by Edward Durell Stone (the same architect who worked on the GM Building). Sold by the Benattar family in the 1980s, the house most recently traded for $2.15 million, in 2015, according to public records. The family also kept an apartment at 100 West 57th Street, in the Carnegie House co-op. Cecilia Benattar with her son, SimonBenattar seemed to deftly juggle her work with domestic life. When her children were young, she always ate dinner with her family, according to profiles written about her, before heading out to work again. In addition to Simon, her only son, she had three daughters with Jack: Naomi, Jessica and Judith. She later married attorney Michael Schwartz and acquired a stepson, David. (Today, Simon invests in properties in Harlem and Brooklyn by way of Sugar Hill Investment Partners, where his stepbrother, David Schwartz, is a managing partner.)Although the GM Building was ultimately a success, there were setbacks in Benattar’s New York career. She attempted to mimic her block-clearing approach in the late 1960s, when she tried to empty out apartment buildings controlled by London Merchant at West 55th Street and Sixth Avenue to make way for a 38-story, 800,000-square-foot office spire.But in 1971, the city denied a zoning change to Benattar because the office market was so soft, officials had said, and housing was a better use of the property. For her part, Ward suggests that Benattar didn’t get the permit she needed because she didn’t donate $100,000 to a campaign being run by Mayor John Lindsay. Subsequently, Benattar proposed an apartment building for the Midtown site. But lawsuits from about 80 tenants who didn’t want to move stymied the plans. London Merchant paid some tenants more than $30,000 (more than $130,000 today) apiece to vacate, according to the New York Times. The project lost too much money and was ultimately abandoned. “We bought at a time when we were considerably more optimistic about the future of New York than we are now,” Benattar told the Times in 1975. In the same interview, she railed against high real estate taxes and rent regulation. By that point, her office, which had 20 employees in 1971, had just six, the newspaper reported.Today, 101 West 55th Street (at Sixth Avenue) is called Claridge’s and is a red-brick luxury rental with 160 one- to three-bedroom units, where rents start at $3,000 a month.Second fiddleBenattar, who divorced Jack in the early 1970s before marrying Schwartz, decamped for Toronto again.There, she worked to assemble the high-profile downtown site for the Sun Life Centre office complex. Similar to her GM building endeavor, she had to clear out an old hotel, the Lord Simcoe Hotel, and purchase air rights. The office complex opened in 1984.In the early 1980s, Benattar began intermittently working with longtime friend Paul Reichmann, whose development firm Olympia and York firm built Manhattan’s World Financial Center (now called Brookfield Place). Reichmann brought Benattar on as a consultant when he built London’s high-rise Canary Wharf financial district.Eventually, Cecilia founded a firm called NIOT Investment Holdings — an acronym for “Now It’s Our Turn,” Simon, who would later join his mother at the firm, said Cecilia had grown tired of playing second fiddle at large corporations. The duo served as consultants, developed condos and invested in real estate until the early 1990s, when Simon bought out his mother’s share, he said. In New York, in addition to working with Sugar Hill, NIOT functions as a mortgage lender today. Around that time, Benattar began spending more time in Florida. Years later, en route from Florida to California, she suffered a heart attack on a plane, prompting it to make an emergency landing in Dallas, Simon said. She died there, on Dec. 10, 2003, at age 72, and is buried at Pardes Shalom Cemetery, in Maple, a Toronto suburb.Oddly, no newspapers ran an obituary at the time, though that in many ways typified how Benattar lived her life, Simon said.“She was very, very low-key, my mother,” Simon said, adding that just 25 people attended her funeral. “She never wanted recognition for all her accomplishments.” Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink
Atlas Professionals has won a two-year contract to provide a range of technical personnel to the Dutch branch of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.The new recruitment agreement will make Atlas provider of personnel for Siemens Gamesa’s new and existing offshore wind farms in the Netherlands — including Borssele 1&2, which consists of 94 turbines and is expected to have a yearly electricity production for approximately 1 million households per year.The personnel Atlas will provide for Siemens Gamesa’s wind farms in the Netherlands include Site Managers, Service Planners, HSE Advisors, Wind Technicians, Stock Keepers, and Stock Operatives. Atlas will run the operation from its offices in Hoofddorp and Vlissingen and will recruit for both national and local professionals.“SGRE is looking forward to the cooperation with Atlas to lead the recruitment for service personnel for both our onshore and offshore wind farms in The Netherlands. Atlas’ concept for the recruitment is professional, flexible and demonstrates their expertise. We believe that Atlas is passionate about the wind industry and this is also what we are looking for in our new employees,” said Carin Koole HR of Siemens Gamesa in the Netherlands.There is rapid growth in the development of wind power in the Netherlands, with the Dutch government expecting offshore wind plants to produce 40 percent of the country’s current electricity consumption by 2030, Atlas Professionals said.Joost Pellis, Strategic Manager Renewables, Atlas Professionals, said: “This contract award is a perfect start to intensify our relationship with Siemens Gamesa in The Netherlands. We will use our knowledge and experience gained over the years to ensure we supply the most competent and experienced professionals to Siemens Gamesa’s Dutch wind projects to help the company reach its goals.”
Centre Jonathan Davies will miss the tournament after rupturing a knee ligament playing for Clermont Auvergne.The Welsh Rugby Union says Davies will now undergo surgery and is likely to be sidelined for six to seven months.
On Monday, eight people were rescued in two separate incidents off the coast of Key West.In the first incident, a 20-foot (6-meter) cabin cruiser capsized near Key Colony Beach.A Coast Guard crew rescued four people from the water with no injuries reported.In the second incident, a 17-foot (5-meter) pleasure craft began to sink about 9 miles off of Marathon.Coast Guard crew rescued four people from that boat.Coast Guard officials say in both cases the boaters had the right safety equipment to call for help.
More than 2,300 homes are without power in West Donegal tonight following a major fault.The fault has occurred in the Derrybeg area in the past hour.The ESB say they are working to restoring power to the area as soon as possible. Breaking: Thousands without power as West Donegal hit by major fault was last modified: August 22nd, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:derrybegdonegalelectricityESBfaultPower
Ray Maota Nearly 300 youngsters attended Hillbrow Kids Week on their first week of December holidays. Buhle Mgubasi, who stays at a building located a stone’s throw from the Lutheran Church, has been attending Hillbrow Kids Week for the past 11 years. (Images: Ray Maota) MEDIA CONTACTS • Khumo Mohube Hillbrow Kids Week: Co-ordinator + 27 71 133 0815 RELATED ARTICLES • Speaking out against abuse • Awards are a sign for Dladla • Schools lead way in recycling • Nurturing the childrenYoungsters in the Johannesburg inner city suburb of Hillbrow have a safe haven where they can play and be nurtured in a religious environment during school holidays.The first week of each public school holidays is a time when children from the bustling suburb converge on Friedenskirche Lutheran Church to play educational and fun games during Hillbrow Kids Week.The initiative is the brainchild of the Outreach Foundation and was recently held at the church from 10 – 15 December. The theme for the week was “I am who I am”, a way to instil the value of individualism in the youngsters. About 60 volunteers were on hand to make the programme a success.Located between Twist and Edith Cavell streets, The Friedenskirche Lutheran Church, or the “Church of Peace”, has been around since 1912 and was declared a national monument in 1986. Kids Week in a nutshellKhumo Mohube, the main coordinator of Kids Week, said the programme was started in 1999 with only 10 youngsters. However, the number has grown to about 280 – 300.“Hillbrow Kids Week was started to keep kids off the harsh streets of Hillbrow and with this being a religious programme, instilling values is a core theme.”Mohube added that the youngsters play educational and fun games, while also trying their skills in handcraft, fashion and choral singing. “It has become a culture for people living here to bring their kids and it’s spreading through word of mouth,” said Mohube.The week has always been free for youngsters but this year – due to lack of funding – the organisers decided to charge R20 (US$2) for the whole week.“We will probably be canning it [the charge] next year as only 10 kids out of nearly 300 paid. We also have a policy of not turning back kids so I think the price will be canned,” said Mohube.Mohube added that they are planning to open an after-school programme, if and when they get funding. Mohube’s passionA Hillbrow resident, Mohube got involved with Hillbrow Kids Week whilst attending services at the Lutheran Church.“I have love for this type of community work that’s why I wanted to become a social worker or a psychologist,” said Mohube.Mohube wishes to continue with his studies, but hasn’t been able to fulfil his ambitions because of lack of funds. The work he does at the church does not pay much and he said only his passion for the work he does with children keeps him going.“For me to be involved in initiatives such as Hillbrow Kids Week which tells these youngsters that there are options in life, patience is a virtue, and that they can make it despite living in an environment such as Hillbrow, is very fulfilling,” said Mohube. Growing up at Kids WeekBuhle Mgubasi, who stays at a building located a stone’s throw from the Lutheran Church, has been attending Hillbrow Kids Week for the past 11 years. She said she started attending Kids Week since she was only six years old.“I basically grew up here and for me to be able to now be a leader and make sure the kids coming here enjoy themselves as much as I did, is a privilege,” said Mgubasi.Mgubasi, who will be doing matric next year, said she would like to be in the hospitality industry and own a camp site that will host events such as Kids Week. She said the Kids Week activities have positive effect on the lives of youngsters.“When I went to Kids Week as a youngster it was exciting and now as a leader I have to make sure that they have the same experience if not better,” she said.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced approval for local sponsors to purchase agricultural easements on 62 family farms representing 7,919 acres in 31 counties.Local sponsoring organizations, which include land trusts, counties and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, receive funding from the Clean Ohio Fund to manage the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). The easement ensures farms remain permanently in agricultural production. The program supports the state’s largest industry, food and agriculture.To be eligible for the program, farms must be larger than 40 acres or next to a preserved farm, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have support from local government and not be in close proximity to development. Landowners may use the proceeds of the easement in any way they wish, but most reinvest it in their farm operation.Communities wishing to participate next year can apply to be Certified Local Sponsors between September 14 and October 14, 2016. Certified Local Sponsors assist landowners interested in selling easements with the application process, easement closing and monitoring, and are ODA’s valued partners in carrying out the Ohio Farmland Preservation program.Funding for the state’s farmland preservation efforts is derived from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, approved by voters in 2008, and used to purchase agricultural easements from willing sellers through a competitive process. From 2002 to 2015, 294 family farms in 55 counties have collectively preserved 52,419 acres in agricultural production. Permanent easements preserved under related programs bring the total acres currently preserved in Ohio to 63,049.For more information go to: www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/FarmLand/FarmLand.aspx.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Presented by Ritchie BrothersDay 2 results on the 2016 Midwest Pro Farmer Crop TourImagine Christmas morning every day for a week in August. That sums up the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour for me. Once a novice at hopping in and out of a pickup truck every 20 miles to disappear into endless corn fields and wade through rows and rows of soybeans, I know am considered a veteran when it comes to finding out just how friendly, or downright cruel, Mother Nature has been to farmers and their yearly effort to make a living in the Corn Belt.For the second straight year, it looks as through the trend we will see this week on tour are the crops getting better with every mile we head west, not boding well for growers in my home state of Ohio as their yield numbers decline as prices do the same.I hope my journey gives you some insights as to what things will look like as harvest approaches. Keep following along throughout the week to see what I am seeing as the eastern leg of the tour checks out Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.Here are the final results for the entire eastern leg of this year’s Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour for Ohio.Corn –148.96 bushels to the acre. Soybeans – 1055.05 pods in 3X3 foot square. Hamilton County, IndianaThis corn at our last stop was in full dent and easily the most mature corn of the day. The stalk integrity was still in tact. Some light mold was noticed as the ears outgrew the husk here. Our yield number is a solid 185 bushels to the acre.Soybeans were tall but pods were scarce. These beans were beginning to turn as well. Our 3 x 3 foot square pod count is 1408 here.Hamilton County, IndianaHamilton County, IndianaHamilton County, IndianaHamilton County, IndianaMadison County, IndianaWe met the farmer of these fields and he was eager to find out what he might have here. Needless to say he is glad he stuck around as we got our highest yield estimate yet of 206.Soybeans we tall and viney. I am told they will be even harder to get through as we go further west. Our pod count here is 1291.Madison County, IndianaGrant County, IndianaGot into a tall corn field here and ears were about head high. The field was really green, but did have some diseases on the lower leaves. Once we peeled back the husk these ears looked a lot better than most of ears we’ve pulled today. Our yield estimate here is 182.The beans were also pretty impressive with a very high pod count and a very high stand. These were the most mature beans we have seen today. Our pod count is 1408.Grant County, IndianaGrant County, IndianaGrant County, IndianaBlackford County, IndianaWhen we first pulled up to this field it looked a whole lot worse than it actually ended up being. Stalks in the first 5 rows were short and almost all yellow, but the paces past the end rows turned out to be healthy. Population will not help this yield number of 157.Soybeans were 15 inch rows and were still blooming. Population really suffered here and our pod count was 604 in a 3 foot square.Blackford County, IndianaBlackford County, IndianaWells County, IndianaAlthough it looked as though there was some N left, but the only way kernel size and test weight will be put on is with some more rain. One of our ears measuring 3 inches is a testament to the lack of rain during pollination. Our yield guess here is 186.Everything that could munch on soybeans were doing just that here. Stinkbugs, bean leaf beetle and grasshoppers were noted. The pods didn’t take long to count here. Our 3 foot square total was 634.Our second stop in this county really shows some differences with the corn only clocking in at 128 bushels and the bean pods added up to 1728 in a 3 x 3 square.Wells County, IndianaWells County, IndianaWells County, IndianaAllen County, IndianaAs we cross into Indiana, this was, by far, the highest population corn we have seen today and the highest yield too. Despite our random small ear, our big ears pulled their weight. Our yield check here is 195 bushels per acre. Good start for the Hoosier State.On the other side of the road was another story with a very low pop count. The field was about as even as it could be and plants were healthy. Our 3 x 3 pod count was 897.Allen County, IndianaAllen County, IndianaAllen County, IndianaAllen County, IndianaPaulding County, OhioOne word here…dry. You can still see the knife marks in the soil of the corn field and you didn’t have to peel back to husk. You could feel the ear full, or lack there off, in you hand. Our yield number here is 144.Soybeans were the weediest we have seen. We are sure that applications were made here but with no moisture there isn’t much hope for success. We counted 1177 pods in a 3 foot square.Paulding County, OhioPaulding County, OhioPaulding County, OhioPaulding County, OhioVan Wert County, Ohio (Stop 2)This corn pollinated alright but it is tipped back considerably. These stalks have tried to hold on, but it was overmatched by the hot dry weather. Our yield guess is 157.This 18 inch row bean field had great root development and for a smaller height was podded nicely. Our pod count for a 3 x 3 square is1206.Van Wert County, OhioVan Wert County, OhioVan Wert County, OhioFor this field pollination wasn’t the issue, but it looks like the crop simply ran out of water to fill the ear. This is the driest soils we have seen so far today. Our yield calc here is 147.Soybeans was also hard to pull due to dry conditions and pod counts per plant were low here. Our calculations show 950 pods in a 3 foot square.Van Wert County, OhioVan Wert County, OhioAllen County, OhioThe evidence of drought was in this corn field will cracks in the dirt and disease on the lower leaves. Like our last field, this corn has some development time left. One 20 around ear will help this yield figure, which was still an unimpressive 156, but the late rains will help here too.Soybeans were very clean and thick. They were podded nicely from an inch up and still had some blooms. Our pod count in a 3 x 3 foot square was1622.Allen County, OhioAllen County, OhioAllen County, OhioAllen County, OhioAuglaize County, OhioWe have heard over the past 2 weeks that these recent rains won’t do much for the corn crop, but this corn still has a ways to go and is looking pretty good. Population was low due to skips, but no signs of poor pollination or early tip back. Our yield estimate is 179.The soybeans had just had an application recently but that might have been for nothing as these beans were very poorly podded and thin to walk through. The 3 x 3 pod count here is 772.Auglaize County, OhioAuglaize County, OhioAuglaize County, OhioAuglaize County, Ohio Logan County, Ohio (Stop 2)A little further up the road we made a stop in northern Logan County. These fields were also very well saturated and the corn was very healthy with plenty of green left on the stalk. Leaves showed no disease and the ears here had a little bit more to them than our first 2 stops. Yield estimate here is 166.Soybeans were tall, but so was the marestail. Pod counts were high and there were no more blooms left in this field. Our pod count here is 1125 in a 3 x 3 square.Logan County Stop 2Logan County Stop 2Logan County Stop 2Logan County Stop 2Logan County, OhioBoth corn and soybean fields had quite a bit of standing water from the recent heavy rains over the weekend. You can see that water ha been laying here early in the growing season too. The corn was short here and this crop was not as far along as our previous stop. Our corn yield guess 141.Soybean were very bushy and it took some time to count these pods. Population was sporadic, but no sign of disease or pest here. Our 3 foot square pod count is 1432.Logan County, Ohio4Logan County, OhioLogan County, OhioLogan County, OhioUnion County, OhioOur route takes us up State Route 33 westbound and our first stop is in Union County. As we will see throughout the day, the hot, dry weather really put it to the corn crop in Ohio. What looks like a great field from the road, is not what you find 50 yards in. Our yield estimate here is 137 bushels to the acre.The soybeans were short here and I was able to show our foreign riders some bean leaf beetles feeding in this field. With short beans, some would expect a decent pod count. Our number of pods in a 3 x 3 square is 1017.Union County, OhioUnion County, OhioUnion County, OhioUnion County, Ohio
The best recent example of Bluetooth Smart in action is the way the new Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch connects with the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. Apple also uses a Bluetooth Smart function in iOS 7 with a new feature called iBeacon. This feature creates a bubble area around an app “a beacon” that is similar to a geo-fence. When you and your bubble come into contact with another bubble (say, a grocery or a retail store) an action will occur. For instance, if I am at my local coffee shop and it has an iBeacon, it will connect to iPhone and allow me to do something like make a payment or send me a coupon. iBeacon could be set up in an apartment to connect other gadgets to the iPhone via Bluetooth Smart the minute you walk in the door.Wi-Fi Direct is similar to Bluetooth Low Energy, but in many ways is more robust. Wi-Fi Direct is a way to create a connection between two devices without going through Wi-Fi router in a fairly simple manner. The best example of Wi-Fi Direct is how easy it has become to connect your home printer with your computer. Instead of the lengthy and complicated process that used to take place when connecting two devices, now it is simple as hitting a single button on the computer and one on the printer and saying “connect.” Wi-Fi Direct can be used for streaming music or video from one device to another, sharing documents, media or pictures or letting one device control another (such a your PC to your printer). See Also How Android 4.3 Jelly Bean Points Towards A Future Of Google Wearable DevicesApple will use Wi-Fi Direct in iOS 7 for a feature called AirDrop that will allow you to share pictures and documents from one iPhone to another. The feature has been available in Mac computers since Apple released the Mac OS X “Lion” update. What do Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct have in common? They allow interaction between devices on a one-to-one basis. Imagine walking into your house and everything inside automatically connecting to your smartphone. From an app, you could turn on the lights in the kitchen, turn on the TV (and tell it what to watch), pre-heat the oven for dinner and download your work files from your home computer. Imagine that your new iPhone 5S or Android smartphone could control all aspects of your life. Change channels on your TV, start your car, change the temperature in your house, pay for your coffee, the watch on your wrist … everything. Think of a smartphone as universal remote for your entire life.It’s a reality that is not so far away.Three aspects of iOS and Android, the operating systems that run the majority of smartphones, are leading us to a future where those phones will have the ability to control everything around us: the explosion of the app ecosystem, the evolution of Bluetooth and the adoption of a standard called Wi-Fi Direct.Couple these aspects with the continued growth and maturation of what is called the “Internet of Things,” and you have laid the groundwork for a smartphone that can directly control, track or measure everything with which you come in contact.AirDrop in iOS 7Take the just-announced iPhone 5S, for example. It will support both Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi Direct, and has capabilities built in to perform new functions such as AirDrop local sharing. Behind it stands Apple’s thriving ecosystem, which will continue to churn out new apps that take advantage of those functions. All that makes the iPhone 5S not just Apple’s latest and greatest device, but one of the first devices available that has the potential to be a true universal remote.Apps & Cloud Provide Interface & OpportunityYou’ve probably seen commercials where a person uses a smartphone to start their car or set a home alarm. These are examples of how apps can control things in your life. Yet these examples are not direct one-to-one connections where the smartphone connects directly to the gadget (alarm system or vehicle’s computer) in question. Rather these types of apps use cloud computing to provide functionality.See also: How iOS 7’s AirDrop Could Transform The Way We ShareTo control objects that aren’t in their general vicinity, apps must go through an intermediary. This intermediary can be a server in the cloud or a home’s Wi-Fi router. A smartphone user can then use an app to tell the object (the car or home security system) what they want it to do. The request is routed through the router or the cloud. The target object retrieves that information from the cloud and makes the appropriate action. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#Bluetooth#Internet of Things#iPhone 5S#Wearable Computing#Wi-Fi It is hard to overstate how much the maturation of cloud computing has enabled mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. By connecting to the cloud, smartphones and tablets don’t have to perform processor-intensive calculations directly, and instead can leave the heavy lifting to a much more powerful server somewhere else.The same goes for the other side of the equation. Vehicles, home thermostats and security systems don’t have to perform complex calculations directly; all they have to do is act on directives passed down from the cloud. See also: How Wi-Fi Direct Works As A Gateway To The Internet Of ThingsThe app is the vehicle that creates the opportunity to build this type of functionality. Think of it as a wormhole through which you can reach your hand and perform an action somewhere else. The more people with smartphones in their hands, the more wormholes—apps—will make smartphones the remotes that control our lives.Over the past few years, the cloud has been the center of how smart devices and the Internet of Things interact. Yet with advances in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct, the cloud won’t have to carry the main burden.The Direct Connection: Bluetooth Smart & Wi-Fi DirectSmartphones are getting smarter, and two different wireless standards are helping spur that evolution. Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as Bluetooth Smart) is part of the Bluetooth Core Specification 4.0. It allows for devices to connect over a distance of about 160 feet and transfer data and wireless connections to each other. It does this (as you may have guessed by the name) in a power efficient manner so as to save the battery of both devices. Bluetooth Smart is a one-to-one connection between devices that does not require an intermediary yet still allows rich data (music, notifications, cellular connectivity like 3G/4G and others) to be shared. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts dan rowinski That would be pretty cool, right? It is technically possible right now, though there are some obstacles that would have to be overcome for your smartphone to become the universal remote for your life.Adoption & Ecosystems: Getting Everybody On The Same PageGetting all of these devices to play nice with each other may be the biggest obstacle. Different companies have different agendas, different platforms and the same basic need: your money. Hence, those companies will create solutions that will force you to stay within their ecosystem and product lines.AirDrop can only work with other Apple products. Google’s Chromecast TV dongle (that lets you use a tablet or smartphone as a remote for your TV to watch YouTube or Netflix) uses standard Wi-Fi and doesn’t play nice with other wireless streaming standards like Miracast or Wi-Fi Direct. Samsung’s “S Beam” and other sharing capabilities are intended to be used only with other Samsung devices like TVs, laptops or tablets. See also: Apple’s New iOS 7: What You Need To Know NowThen there is the standard dilemma of consumer adoption. Mobile technology often moves faster than consumers do, making it hard to keep pace. Most consumers will get a new smartphone about once every two years. Multiply that by three or more for other consumer items, like a new car, home security system or television, and you can see the problem. To set up your new iPhone 5S as a universal remote, you are going to need to be on the bleeding edge of just about every kind of new technology. That doesn’t mean that your new iPhone or top of the line Android smartphone won’t be able to perform many of these functions on an individual basis. You can use your iPhone 5S to stream media to an Apple TV and share files with friends. Or to control a smart thermostat like Nest. Solutions may be scattered today, but the journey to make your smartphone the remote that controls everything around you is well on its way.