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In a world where a whole family can sit around a lounge and not talk to each other, because every one of them has their face stuck in a tablet or smart phone screen, there are many distractions. Whether they’re watching the latest YouTube video to go viral, or they’re downloading the latest must have app, nothing will draw them into a meaningful conversation with the person sitting next to them, unless they’re being asked how they’d like their cup of tea made. We used to enjoy seeing people’s visions of the future on Tomorrow’s World, and we’d marvel at hand-held televisions and watches that you could talk into. Well, now the future is here and it is great. Technology is making life interesting and exciting. Smart phones and tablets are king, so here are some smart phone innovations that simply have to be shared.

The Edinburgh Evening News reported that, in just four weeks, 30,000 people had downloaded their new virtual ticket app. The future of bus tickets has been changed forever. No longer will you see scrunched up tickets all over the bus floor. Now you’ll just have to be content with the chewing gum and sweet wrappers. The Chief Executive of Lothian Busses is delighted at the uptake and is confident that the app will only grow in popularity. Public transport is supposed to be grotty and antiquated but Lothian Busses have blown that theory out of the water. Need a bus ticket? There’s an app for that.

Remember all those spy films where the bad guy needs to gain access to a locked area or computer? If the bad guy needed a finger print then he’d chop off a good guy’s finger and if he needed a retinal scan then he’d keep the unfortunate victim around just long enough to get one. We all loved the idea of a retina scan as a security feature and now you can have one on your phone. EyeVerify offer mobile biometric security in their EyeVerify Eyeprint App Lock. It works by scanning the blood vessels in your eye with the front facing camera. That is some seriously cool technology. Just make sure that you’re not badly hung over when you try it out.

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Britons will soon be able to pay cheques into the bank by simply sending a picture of it to the teller. Americans already have the service but British banks had a policy in place that meant that you had to physically show them the cheque in order for them to accept it. That’s fair, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer has told them that they need to speed up the cheque service. New E-Cheques could be processed in around half the time of traditional cheques, so the next time that somebody pays you by the Royal Bank of Dunlop, you can half the time it takes to start chasing them for your money.

Remember the days when car insurance companies just guessed what your policy should cost you? Well a new series of insurance apps could bring down the cost of your insurance by a great deal. There was a short boom in telematics technology but insurers will now look to use your mobile phone instead of installing expensive equipment in your car. Usage based insurance, or UBI, seems to be the way forward and it is about time too. We all want things to be fair, and if we drive like a lunatic then we should expect to be charged through the nose to do so. The only flaw in using a mobile phone in order to track a car’s usage is that some motorists will opt to leave their phone at home when they pop to the shops for some bread and milk. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, the company that is forging ahead with the new smart phone apps, is yet to adequately address this salient issue.

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As we get more involved with our technologies, we will continue to drive the demand for new and innovative features that complement our lives. Some people will believe that new technology makes their lives easier and some will believe that it makes their lives harder. The truth is that we will find ourselves somewhere in between. The trick will be to find which pieces serve us and which we can comfortably leave behind. Whatever happens, the future is bright.