Hardship while trying to be truly digital…

Back in 1975 there was a prediction in Business Week about the paperless office and since then usage of paper in offices doubled between 1980-2000… However it is now on a decline due to the rise of more efficient storage and retrieving systems, computer, tablets, smart phones and a general awareness on the issues of cutting down forests to produce paper.

Enough with the history lesson… I have tried for many years to be as paperless as possible but due to all sort of hindrances by sources like government, offices&managers etc it has been quite a disappointment and I was on the verge of giving up but… well those who know me also are aware that I do not easily give up… ;D also called an ass… and yes I do NOT own a printer…

I try to use mobile tickets where possible and one trip, while working in Denmark a couple of years ago, I took the ferry between Sealand and Jutland and they sent me a pdf-ticket… I am pretty sure they wanted me to print it but I kept it in the phone and just gave them the smart phone to scan the bar code… At first they looked slightly bewildered but gave it a try… worked like a charm and at that point I decided to not print anything that is not necessarily needed to be print…  Just last week I attended a seminar by a hot digital company in the PR-sector and they sent pdf-tickets to be printed… which I already had teased them for and by default I just displayed the ticket in the iPad and they imaginary marked it with a pen because the bar code on the ticket was only for show since they had no bar code-reader…  :D *LOL*

Cases where the digital arena is moving forward quite quickly now after been slow are banking where it is almost possible to use a pre-downloaded token for doing all banking tasks in the mobile och computer… except for the fact that my operator Tele2 here in Sweden do not support the official standard token that most banks use… #FAIL to that comes that my bank Swedbank claims to be digital but… they do not have an app tailored to fit an iPad or Android Tablet so using it for paying bills are virtually impossible…

I can give an innumerable amount of cases where the intent is good but the delivery is failing due to the fact that no one is looking at the user and the environment the user are operating in. No one are really thinking it through when deploying a new digital initiative…

I have a couple of great cases on this from the government and private companies in Sweden that would make everything soot much easier…

1. There is an agency called Försäkringskassan that manage most of the public aid system including the compensation that you get if your kid is sick and you have to stay home. You can either call in or log-in to your personal account and report the start date of sickness, how many days etc, make the claim of the money BUT… then they send you a letter that need to be signed by you and the kindergarten/school to verify that the kid has in fact been ill and at home… And there the whole process crash and burn because you create a layer of manual handling that gives that you might see your money in about 6 weeks if you are lucky… So instead why not have a log-in to sign off for those who have to do verify it… The amount of time and resources spent on this process halts all development and creates problems in all instance’s with burned out staff and pissed off citizens that do not get their money…

2. To get a passport in Sweden you need to have a piece of paper call proof of person translated and similar to a birth certificate. All that data exist in the databases and you need to have it sent to your address to be able to go with a your driver’s license or your old passport or with a person that can verify that you are you… why just not look it up in the database directly and put a fingerprint as a verifier or a similar method… no more paper and 3-5 working days extra in the process if you are unlucky…

3. E-business, I can order clothes from China or the US and do every part of the transaction including payment on-line and digitally and everything is kept track of but when the delivery people arrives very nicely at my doorstep with the package I have to sign a paper that I have received it… #Fail

So what do I see as necessary to further the process of being as digital as possible…

  • A national register for digital signatures that are to be used for all public and governmental signage. ONE standard!
  • The above mentioned standard would also include signature at banks etc and give you access to your medical history.
  • A pad/slate or laptop for all children at school for learning and possibility to digitize homework when they learned to write…
  • Force one common platform for ticket system for all public transportation all over Sweden with one swipe-card and one sms-ticketing method

With these initiatives it would be so very much easier to do all public business and go on as a digital citizen without having to receive papers on everything incl you bills.

So please hear my plea and give me the possibility live without any unnecessary paperwork…

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