It’s a game we’re all too familiar with. Jumping from the couch to the table and back without touching the floor, since it is made of lava. It seems however, that the game has made its way into the adult world. A slightly different version with different intentions, but it involves not touching things just the same.
I’m talking about wireless. Wireless everything. The more wireless we can make it, the better. And we started this (meso)trend long ago. We moved from wired phones to wireless phones. We de-wired the internet. We are slowly getting rid of electrical wires. By connecting all our appliances to a hub in your house. A hub connected to the internet, which you then can access through an app on you smartphone.
And the latest and greatest we came up with. Wireless payments. Not that there were really any wires involved to begin with. But we got rid of them anyway. We already made a big step when we went from solely paper-money to plastic money. We made bank-accounts hold our money virtually, safe and out of sight. And when needed, just swipe a card and enter a pin.
But even that was too much effort for our increasingly busier and demanding lifestyles. Could it be done faster, more efficient? Yes it can! With the invention of NFC and RFID chipsets we can make objects communicate with each other. Just by being in each other’s proximity. Now making a payment it as easy as tapping your bankcard against the pin device and you’re done. For an even more streamlined experience any payment under € 25 doesn’t even require your pin.
And even the next phase in this trend is already here. More and more banks and smartphone software developers are working together on the next step. Paying by tapping your phone instead of your card. It may take some time before it will be used en masse but we’re getting there.
But for now, wireless payment is here to stay. From your local bakery to the major supermarkets. From the paying your subway ride to paying for a drink on a plane. From bankcards and credit cards to special tags and smartphones. It is one less thing we have to worry about.
Or do we? What about security, and privacy. Stories about how someone can just walk by you and steal money from you. With an scanning device in his/her bag coming just close enough to yours. And what about all the data on your phone. Is that still safe? Let me put it this way. Are we, in our rush to turn everything into lava, to make everything wireless, turning our whole world into lava? Will there be anything left to touch?
Biarne Vink // 2016
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