I have been following the evolution of payment technology for more years that I care to remember. Indeed, I was involved in, early EftPos development.
I have watched smart cards grow from their infancy as memory cards offering a few bytes of data through puberty where they were a technology looking for an application, through to the blossoming maturity of EMV that we all use daily.
At the same time, I have seen my mobile/cell phone go through a similar evolution from being, as it says, a phone that is mobile, to something more akin to my personal private portal to a brave new world offering me the chance to throw away my trusted old Walkman, my digital camera, my diary, my ‘little black book’ and even my home computer that I use for cruising on the inter-web!
So it came as no surprise when those two technologies merged to offer payment card functionality on my phone. That makes sense, I thought and promptly became a firm supporter of NFC and contactless payment technology.
Now however, it seems that the latest trend is another integration. Instead of carrying our cards/phones etc about our person, we will be able to wear it on our person! Am I becoming a bit paranoid or is this getting a bit Star Trekky? Beam me up, Scotty!
Seriously though – I suppose it is a natural evolution. With more and more areas of our lives being made easier (controlled?) by technology and the growing influence of the Internet of Things, it is kind of a natural progression – to have our phone, wallet/purse, wrist watch, fit-bit etc all integrated into one small convenient wearable device. Why not integrate the car keys and our house keys as well?
Too far? Yes I suppose it is. What happens if we lose that device? What happens if it gets stolen? What happens if the cyber-crooks find a way to hack into my wrist-portal?
As fast as we come up with new applications and technologies, those citizens in our societies who are less law abiding are coming up with even more inventive ways to break in and steal our identities and our precious, hard earned money!
So, before I rush out and buy a payments-enabled pullover using my new FitbitCashBrowserChronometer, I will need convincing that this is not just using technology for the sake of it, but that the whole eco-system is in place and that my money or my ID isn’t just like the latest fashion – here today and gone tomorrow.