Tuesday, March 3, 2009

mobile check-in

As a road warrior I am always interested in anything that will improve my experience in the airport. I recently saw where Delta Airlines and the TSA have teamed up to trial a paperless boarding pass at the Memphis airport.  The traveller can download an electronic boarding pass that is displayed on the device. The TSA has a 2D bar code scanner that verifies the boarding pass and Delta uses its current gate scanner. So as a time saver, the time at security and at the gate is not reduced, however I save the time in line at a kiosk to pick up a boarding pass. 
Getting the TSA and Delta personnel familiar with the mobile device is a good step to what I hope will be the next big change... Near Field Communication. Instead of using an optical scan the NFC enabled device can be waived over the reader and convey equivalent information as the 2D Bar code. So why is that an improvement? 
1. In an NFC enabled device the eBoarding Pass is kept as encrypted content on a separate chip that is more secure then the device general memory. Hackers can attack a mobile device in several ways and could steal or corrupt the information. The NFC devices resist unauthorized access.
2. NFC will be used primarily for electronic replacement of credit/debit cards. Using the tap and go ISO 14443 based interaction will become second nature to users of the device.

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