Given my job of watching, advising and progressing digital transformation, a technology savvy wife, and three digital native to the core children aged 10-13 it is no surprise that the impacts, both foreseen and unforeseen, of digital are a regular discussion point at the dinner table in our house, (a device free dinner table, I might add).

Tonight the discussion centered on the impact of the digitization of driver licenses, and other related identification forms. New South Wales, and Australia for that matter, has been way to slow at a commercial and government level for digital, but it is changing in an accelerated fashion due to increasingly strong leadership particularly from new Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

On Nov. 24th, 2015, after months of speculation and discussion the NSW government announced that digital licensing for fishing and responsible service of alcohol will commence in 2016, with driver licenses to follow in 2018.

Clearly the technology is so close, yet so far away from reality.

The deep and complicated levels of security, intergovernmental legislation and cooperation that will be required to ensure the program works in a secure fashion are still far from consideration, let alone being settled. Will all Australian states accept digital licensing? Will it be accepted as a valid form of identification overseas, for example when renting a car or checking into a hotel?

One of the great discussion points that arose today from the Sydney Morning Herald was the possibility that drivers could be fined for not having their mobile charged. – whilst Service NSW informed the SMH that drivers would not be charged for failure to produce a driver license with a flat mobile, it is clear that if the digital license is the default then a flat or lost phone will be a critical potential issue. Driving without a mobile could well be an offence in some jurisdictions let alone make any transaction virtually impossible as physical money dies a slow death.

It is also worth noting the issue of digital equity at this point. There can be no mandate to go digital to reflect that whilst the majority of Australian residents are able to enjoy premium personal technology, not everyone is. For government the digital solution cannot be the only solution.

Hopefully this type of transformational, but predictable outcome of digital integration can convince Apple in particular to improve the battery life of the iPhone by 2018.

Each day there is examples of the benefits of digital transformation for local and global communities. These are typically of significant benefit, but just as a flat mobile will challenge the ability to present identification to authorities, the downsides of digital need to be explored through trial deployments and clear thinking of the unknown outcomes as well as the known outcomes.

If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, Founder capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted easily in the digital and real world.

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