Saturday, 17 July 2010

Future devices means paperless?

The paperless society was mooted decades ago when computers first became widespread but of course they often printed more stuff out resulting in more paper being used. No I don't think paper is about to be wiped out but a new trend with mobile devices is beginning. Devices such as smartphones are no longer simply being used for communication purposes. The additional apps that are being developed include some which allow the device to represent the user as a kind of identification proxy. One example is the supermarket chain Tesco with their clubcard app which simply displays the barcode associated with their loyalty card for people. Thus the iPhone can take the place of the card at the checkout and identify you as a known customer.

The airlines are also taking this on-board, almost literally by developing an app which takes the place of the boarding pass that they or increasingly you the passenger would print out. The relevant barcode can then be scanned at the gate or check-in desk/self-service terminal. This application will save a little paper but will also develop further with the introduction of near field comms (NFC) / RF-ID functionality built into phones and other devices. This will open up a whole lot of more uses for the device. Perhaps media discussions of iPhone 5 will be more about these things than antenna attenuation and performance!

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