Monday, July 20, 2009

Wearable computers and mobile banking

I enjoy seeing and reading about the research being conducted by Pattie Maes and her group from the MIT Media Lab. The Sixth Sense project shows what is possible with wearable computers. This means that computers and "computer-driven" devices like projectors and cameras are hooked up on your body to more directly interact with your actions and behavior. In a recent article on Read Write Web, Richard MacManus warns: "Look out mobile phones, because in a decade's time wearable systems may be the primary means of accessing the Web!". Which made me think: what is it about phones that makes them different to computers to access the web? and the obvious answer is identity - your phone number (or your MSISDN), which is the fundamental reason why phones are so good as a payment device.

So if in a decade we are going to "wear" our computers, where will we put the identity module and how will proximity (NFC) payments work? Would that mean an implant? Would it mean that the most important module that we put on in the morning is our identity chip? And would it be good enough to just slip it in our pocket? Maybe the majority of us would prefer to wear it like a watch? One think is for certain, the entity that issue this identity module will be very powerful in the new world.

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