The Leader's Circle

Swipe. Text. Download.

By: Kitty Ambers, CPIA, CIC, CISR, NetVU


My, how our world has changed. I am at a stage in life where I am amazed daily at the impact technology has on our day-to-day living. I was reminded of this when I accompanied my youngest son on a visit to a college he was considering. "Several new enhancements are being added to the campus because of requests by students,” explained our student tour guide.

First, the new student activities center will use palm scanning for entrance, instead of requiring students to swipe their Student ID. Wow. I thought that type of thing was available only in a Mission Impossible movie!

Next, the laundry facilities are equipped with text messaging alerts to notify students when to move their clothes from the washer to the dryer or get them from the dryer. Amazing! Students today realize time is valuable, so there is no time so idly sit around and wait for clothes to wash and dry. To think, I remember sitting in the basement with my great grandmother literally watching the washing machine!

Finally, I have known this had to be coming, this school has full-fledged use of digital textbooks through CafeScribe and other vendors. This lower-cost alternative allows students to download textbooks to an iPad or Kindle, and takes advantage of all the features these readers possess — not to mention it is a much "lighter” option than toting around textbooks.

These technologies provide solutions to the needs of our future workforce—today. 

  • What expectations do these technologies create for our current college students post-graduation?
  • What would happen if they chose to enter the insurance agency business?
  • Would they face frustration dealing with multiple carrier passwords in their management systems when they’re used to swiping a palm for access?
  • Would they sit around watching their email inbox for answers, just as we used to watch the washing machine?
  • Would they need to retrieve manuals from someone’s office bookshelf or carry around paper client files, or would everything be available via the agency’s Intranet or other cloud-based source that is accessible anytime, from anywhere?

The questions all point to a much larger one: As business owners and employers, what are we doing to understand new technologies and deploy these ideas and others to attract youth to our industry? Could we do more? 

At NetVU, we continue to explore opportunities and integrate member benefits that will drive technology adoption among our members.  The goal is to make our members as efficient, productive and profitable as possible.  As you think of ways we can help your firm, please email me – kitty@netvu.org