Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Getting Creative with “Wireless”

We are living in the future. Granted it’s not the future Hollywood laid out for us with hover boards or flying cars. While those inventions may still a few years out, we can revel in the fact that we at have wireless technology. It might not sound that great or have the same ring as “hover board”, but it’s pretty fascinating.

I am left feeling a little underwhelmed by the term “wireless” considering everything has wires in one way or another. We have been promised a wire free world yet here I am with my husband setting up our “wireless internet" and “wireless satellite TV” in our newly purchased condo when I realized, there has GOT to be a better way. In our rush to get our entertainment system set up in time to watch the finale of Game of Thrones (priorities), I threw out any design sense I have. We now have cable cords and surround sound wires tacked to the walls from every angle. As a designer it irks me that we have come so far with wireless technology, yet we are still tangled in wires.

Wireless technology isn’t a new phenomenon. Nikola Tesla presented theories of wireless power transmission in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He was able to remotely power lights in the ground at his Colorado Springs experiment station. Since then, there have been advancements and more widespread adoption of the technology, but it seems to lack design sensibilities. No matter how wireless something is, there is always a wire hidden somewhere.

Cable companies like AT&T and DirectTV have been providing decent solutions for the past couple of years. DirectTV has a new ad campaign out about freeing your entertainment system from wires – you are no longer tethered to cable outlets. The ads feature the struggles between a marionette wife and a human husband. Hilarity and creepiness ensue. The ads bring to light a very important issue that needs to be addressed in more areas than cable setup.

Surround sound is probably my biggest annoyance in terms of design and wireless technology. If you are not willing to shell out the money for a new wireless sound system, or suffer reduced sound quality with a simple sound bar solution, then you likely need a solution that revolves around disguising your wires. The best option I have come across in redoing my tacky tacking is a something called a raceway, which is a plastic tube clip your wires into. You then adhere it to the wall either near your trim or it can painted to blend into the wall. It’s not high tech but the designer in me breathes a sigh of organized relief.

I realize it's really easy to complain about the aesthetic design issues that plague me but the concept of wireless technology is completely awesome. The advancements that have taken place in a short span of time are nothing short of remarkable. Innovations like wireless data transfer, cloud computing, streaming video and wearable technology will continue to improve in the future. If all I have to worry about is how to hide a few measly wires, then that’s not too shabby.

My hope is that one day we are unleashed from wires completely. In the meantime, I will continue scanning Pinterest for creative ideas to help undo the knots.