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Author's profile photo Matthias Steiner

Random Thoughts: Convenience on Demand


Ever since I took over the technical lead for an XXL Composite last August I’ve been required to focus on a single project exclusively and I have been required to put all my other interest aside for a while. While that makes perfect sense from a project’s point of view (and I feel more than just challenged to accomplish my mission) I still feel that iching in my fingers when I am sketching out another blog post on my way back from work (= in the rush hour traffic yam.) So, and while the rest of the SCN community is taking a break from all the #sapphirenow excitement and the great news that have been spread last couple of days (e.g. sybase, gateway, BYD, etc. ) I decided to take the opportunity to come up with a ‘lighter’ blog post – some easy reading – with low calories 😉

As I said above, I’ve been concentrating on my sole project/mission these days and hence I was really excited when I heard that our Chief Development Architect was planning a trip to SAP Research in Dresden. I had been in close contact with SAP Research while writing a specification for a very intersting Composite application early in  2009 and I have been really amazed by some of the stuff they develope in their lab. Of course, I jumped on the chance to finally witness it with my own eyes and enjoy a pleasant climate change at the same time.

The Future is Now

The night before the trip I was chatting with my office room mate and declared “The Future is Now” as my personal motto for this excursion/business opportunity… and rightfully so. Now,  I know that the community over here @ SCN probably has a stronger affinity to technology and gadgets than the average person on the street and as such the “WOOOW” effect of today’s blog post may be somewhat reduced in magnitude. Either way… experiencing it first-hand is a completely different story as I’m about to point out. So, this is how it all started… 

Travelling in Style

I ordered my flight and the hotel a couple of days back (via transaction TP01) and so I headed to work w/o any sort of ticket, planning on printing it out in the office. While I was booting up my system (why does it have to take that long – BUMMER) I was checking my private mail on my iPhone. I spotted an email from Lufthansa – my carrier for the flight – labeled ‘online check-in’. I opened it up and saw today’s flight details and a link to check-in via mobile phone (see Screenshot 1.)

“OK, let’s try that out.”, I thought. Clicked on the link saying ‘mobile’ and Safari popped up showing a nicely rendered web page on my iPhone (Screenshot 2.)

After pressing the ‘Check-in’ button I was forwarded to the next page where I was able to pick my seat. (Screenshot 3)

I confirmed my choice and got the next page asking for my mobile number in order to reeive my etix (e-Ticket) as shown in Screenshot 4.

A final summary page (Screenshot 5) was displayed and submitted by me and then I already received an incoming message (Screenshot 6) containg a link to my mobile boarding card.


So, that’s that… no need to stay in a single line! And even if one is travelling with luggage there are designated counters only for people with boarding tickets already.)

When I got to the airport I passed security showing (off) the boarding pass on my iPhone and during boarding I was just holding it over the scanner. (Then I turned flight-mode on and enjoyed the flight listening to my favorite music…)

“Can it possibly be any easier than this?”


Sure, that’s nothing new and some of you may have been travelling in style like that for some time now. Yet, only now it’s becoming mainstream. One does not have to be a geek (or a nerd), nor a techie or the like anymore. Anyone can do it…

Sure, smartphones with such capabilities are still too pricey to be considered a commodity affordable to everyone, however we all know too well how fast paced such things develop and manifest themselves. So, as application developers we face the opportunity of suddenly being apple to reach out to a much bigger audience with an always shrinking entry barrier. 

Sure, nobody does really need that nor depend on such apps. We’ve been travelling w/o apps just fine all our lifes. Yet, does it make our lifes easier and more convenient? Sure they do! Do we want to miss the convenience once experienced? Naw 😉

I really believe that the simplicity and the ease of accessing information anywhere, anytime, on-demand and location based – it is just the next logical step of connecting the world. Being among those who saw the net growing, evolving, changing the world,  it is still fascinating (and sometimes even scaring) for me to see it reaching the next level. Interesting times we live in – indeed….

About SAP Research Dresden

SAP Research DresdenFuture Factory

As much as I would love to talk a little bit about the outcome of our trip to Dresden. It’s neither the right time nor the right place for it (yet). The trip was a blast and seeing the Future Factory was inspiring – to say the least. Again, right now the things we develop in the research labs may be cutting edge, yet it will turn into mainstream sooner or later… until then, I guess I have to stick to an ol’ German saying:
“Der Gentleman schweigt und geniesst!” => A gentleman never talks about his amours! 😉

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