Attack of the Smartphones

Smartphones are becoming more and more prevalent today. The devices have transcended the business world and moved into the major consumer market. This can be mainly attributed to the advent of the iPhone, but that is not the subject of discussion here.

Smartphones are permeating different areas of our lives and two of those areas are Air Travel and Hotel Accommodation. A few months ago United Airlines joined the bandwagon of offering mobile boarding passes for passengers. Now you don’t have worry about losing that piece of paper before you get to the flight, just worry about losing your phone. Passengers receive an email containing an encrypted two dimensional barcode. This barcode contains details of the flight, seat assignment and gate number. All the passenger has to do is load up the email and flash it at the reader in the required locations in the airport.

Taking a lead from this innovation is the hotel industry. The InterContinental Hotels Group announced yesterday that the Holiday Inn hotels, which it owns, will also have room keys functioning in the same manner. Initially the service will be tested out in the Chicago and Houston locations. To use the service, guests have to first register with the hotel and then download an app to their phones. To open the door to their room, they simple have to open up the confirmation email they receive and the point it at the scanner.

The ideas seem to be progressing in the right direction. However, it would be more practical if a standard could be arrived at by all smartphone makers so that more industries can take advantage of this convenient piece of technology.