I admit it. I am an iPhone junkie. The iPhone makes mobile surfing a breeze and the interface is so intuitive, even a 3 year old can use it. Seriously, I saw my son hit the home button, slide his finger across the screen to unlock, hit the photos button, then start thumbing through the photos. Of course, he is my son so I already knew he was a natural geek!
So, when EWM called me to come visit them in Miami and do some consulting, I knew my iPhone would make the trip with me. Before going to the airport, I jumped on the airline website, printed my ticket, and mumbled to myself about how antiquated a printed ticket seems to be these days! You see, anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely hate paper! So, just for kicks, I made a PDF of my ticket and emailed it to my iPhone.
Bar Codes and iPhones
When I arrived at the airport, I walked to the kiosk and proceeded to check my bags. Instead of pulling out the printed ticket, I simply waved my iPhone under the barcode reader and up popped my itinerary! “Holy Cow,” I thought to myself. “This actually worked!” Now for full disclosure, this wasn’t an original idea. I once read a blog post about people who scanned their grocery store discount cards and stored them as photos in their iPhone. So when checking out, they simply pull up the photo of the discount card instead of the actual card. But, even then, I was still amazed that the barcode reader actually accepted my iPhone!
With my bag checked, I proceeded to the gate. Continuing with my attempt to have a “paperless” flight, I showed the TSA guy my iPhone displaying my boarding pass and my license. Let’s just say that he wasn’t amused. He told me that unless I wanted him to initial my phone, I had to show him a paper ticket (still not sure what the whole point of them initialing your boarding pass is all about). Reluctantly, I showed my backup printed ticket and proceeded to the gate.
The Virtual Boarding Pass
So far, I was batting .500 with my quest for paperless travel. When my “boarding group” was called to board, I once again pulled out my iPhone and made my way to the gate. I was greeted with a “Boarding pass please!” and handed over my iPhone. The gate attendant looked at me with a confused look on her face. I replied to her with a “Just try it.” Reluctantly she did. She swiped the iPhone a few times convinced that it would never work. About that time, I heard a friendly “blurp” echo from the machine. She handed me back my phone and said, “Have a nice flight!” So, with the exception of the uber-friendly TSA agent, I was able to make it to Miami without a single piece of paper!
I now sit typing this post on my return flight home. Just like on my trip down, my return flight yielded the same results. Again, only the TSA agent wanted to see actual paper.
I can’t wait to see how this will continue to expand – especially now that iPhone 2.0 is close at hand. For example, can you imagine an application that uses GPS to track your travel plans? When you arrive at the airport, the iPhone automatically fetches your itinerary. As you walk up to the hotel, the iPhone pulls up your confirmation number.
But What About Real Estate?
These same principles can be applied to the real estate industry. Drive up to a house for sale, and the iphone pulls up stats on the home, comps of sold properties in the neighborhood and a scratch pad for you to jot down notes about the property. The possibilities are endless and the paper is non-existent!