Dear Santa: My Technology Wish List
by Samuel Greengard
Here's my tech wish list for 2012:
1. A functional digital wallet. Google and Paypal have introduced e-pay products but we need a digital wallet that really works--on vending machines, parking meters, subways and at retailers. It would also be great to incorporate loyalty programs.
2. Check scanning apps. USAA and Chase offer the ability to scan checks and deposit them over the Internet--without visiting an ATM or bank branch. Unfortunately, many banks and credit unions are lagging. It's a green solution that takes banking into the 21st century.
3. Increased use of multi-touch gestures. Apple has advanced computer navigation immeasurably with its Magic Trackpad. We need more gestures and the ability to further customize them on all systems and platforms.
4. Electronic receipts. There's been some progress since I included this item on last year's list--Lowe's, Wal-Mart, Office Depot and several others have embraced the concept. Unfortunately, most retailers are still churning out paper that winds up lost or trashed and isn't there when you need it.
5. Better targeted marketing. It's baffling how so many companies--including grocery store chains and clothing retailers--send e-mail ads and catalogs that are so off base. Put the big data to use!
6. Modernize airplanes and FAA policies. Why do so many airlines, particularly U.S. carriers, lack electrical outlets and WiFi on flights? Oh, and why can pilots suddenly use iPads in the cockpit but passengers can't operate electronics--including lowly iPods--during landing and takeoff?
7. Better smartphone-automobile connectivity. Some cars can exchange some data with smartphones. But automakers need to amp up features so it's possible, for example, to click an address on a phone and have it instantly appear in the automobile's navigation system.
8. Improved user interfaces. Apple's iOS has probably done more to improve computer usability than any invention in the last decade. But there's still a long way to go. Software developers continue to design programs for the 20th century rather than the 21st century.
9. Tags everywhere. They're flexible, they're powerful and they're incredibly easy to use. Software developers need to incorporate tags into programs for improved document and file management. Redmond, are you listening?
10. Eliminate subscription fees for major purchases. It's incredibly annoying to shell out a few hundreds dollars or more for an Internet enabled thermostat or door lock and then pay a monthly subscription fee to use it. Personally, I'll pass or find another product.