3 things you can do traveling without your wallet

My wallet

Wallet with ID and credit cards

This past week I had a trip planned from Baltimore, MD to Boston, MA. When I parked the car at the Baltimore airport parking garage and got out, I realized that I didn’t have my wallet. Here I was at an airport without any form of identification or credit cards and I had a flight to catch in an hour. There was no time to go back home and get my wallet. I was amazed at the things I could do without my wallet and have listed three below.

1)      Board a domestic flight

I nervously looked up online to see if I could travel without an ID and found a TSA blog that suggested that I could.  Gathering some confidence, I went up to the TSA agent, handed my boarding pass and admitted that I didn’t have an ID. The officer asked if I had any old receipts that had my name on it. Since I had just cleaned out my bag the previous night and thrown out old receipts, I didn’t find any.  She then proceeded to ask me a couple of fairly basic questions to verify my identity, my bags were checked thoroughly and, to my surprise, I was soon on my way to the gate to board my flight.

2)      Dining with the ‘Square’ app

I had Square installed on my Iphone and that gave me options to eat at some great local restaurants. Square not only helped me find local restaurants close to work, but also enabled me to pay using the app. Square has my picture uploaded and the restaurant used that to authenticate my identify before charging me. With Square, I didn’t feel the need to walk around with credit cards all the time, which gave me a sense of security.

3)      Checking into a hotel

Being a member of the Marriott hotel’s rewards program made check-in a breeze. They had all the necessary information such as my reservation details and my credit card information on file. I had originally planned to use Marriott’s new “Travel Brilliantly” campaign that enables you to check in using your mobile phone and avail your room keys at the hotel’s mobile check-in kiosk without an ID.  Again, to my surprise, I was able to check-in without any ID at the hotel reception and did not have to use the “Travel Brilliantly” campaign.

I could not, however, rent a car. Budget Rental accepted some forms of identification, but I had none of those and they would not allow me to rent a car using just a picture of my driver’s license.

Given this recent travel experience, I wondered if my mobile device has become the most important travel “document” that I own. The mobile device is now enabling travelers to go places without carrying their wallet. A driver’s license is needed, but all other documents can quickly become redundant if you have a phone. To think travelling around the US without your wallet just 5-7 years ago seemed impossible to me. This has to be tempered with privacy concerns and the laws have to evolve to prevent abuse. With wearable devices like google glass just around the corner, the next 3-5 years promise to be exciting time in terms of where electronic gadgets can take us.

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Technology impact on young kids

My 4 year old son loves my iPad. He loves to watch movies, play games and watch YouTube videos and he can do this independently without my wife or me helping him. As a technology manager, I feel great looking at the next generation being so technologically savvy at a young age. They not only embraced technology, they fell in love with it. As a parent, I am worried as I watch my son sometimes interacts more with technology than with us parents.

The info-graphic below indicates a teacher’s perspective on the influence of technology on young students. Majority of the teachers employ some form of technology in class to connect with students. It becomes very apparent very quickly that teachers are competing with technology to get the student’s attention span. Students are very distracted in class once they have a tablet or a smart device in hand.

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We are teaching today’s kids based on traditional knowledge of how students need to be taught. Today’s young kids are developing new skills based on the environment around them. They are getting exposed to lots of information and are learning to process this vast amount of data and effectively multitask between different activities. It’s a skill that was not as important when I was growing up as its now. Human beings are constantly evolving based on the ecosystem they are in. The school has to recognize that and introduce programs that can effectively use technology to hone those skills.

As technology managers, the ability to recognize the dynamics of the ecosystem and adapt will determine the success of the business. A new age of customers will grow up with a new set of capabilities that we don’t have any historical data to prepare for. Tapping into their knowledge base will shape our decisions on how we hire, develop and launch new products.

I have to learn to use technology as a medium to be a parent to my son. I read from lots of books growing up and that was influenced by the ecosystem I lived in. I have to learn new ways to complement books with technology to prepare my kids for the new world.  Technology is evolving at a rapid pace – from computer, to smart phones to tablets to wearable devices and is enabling new ways of communication with each other. Resisting technology advances can be futile and as frustrating as it can be sometimes as a parent, its an aspect we have to learn to manage in the lives of our children.