The Age of the Electric Digital Wallet
I remember back in the eighties, when we used to say: "By the year 2000..." and then we would put something there that never really came to pass. I remember this story my second grade teacher told me about this train that looks like bubble that could take you from New York to California in just fifteen minutes. Considering that was twenty years form back then, it seemed like that was ample time for such an invention to come to pass.
So, here we are, a few years out of 2000, and wondering why our flying cars, moving sidewalks, and other Jetsons-like technology never came to fruition. However, we do have some advantages that George, Jane, Judy and Elroy never thought of. For example, no one ever saw the proliferation of cell phones and other wireless technologies as a possibility. And I've rarely read any pre-nineties futuristic novel that mentioned the Internet.
Clearly, there is some technology that is inevitable, and some that you never see coming. But what about technology that seems obvious, but isn't being developed at all? For example, electric wallets. I'm not talking about some sort of retro-futuristic device that would automatically hand you your money with a tiny mechanical hand, I'm saying that wallets have yet to be updated for the digital age.
You may say that a wallet does not need a technological upgrade. After all, a wallet's primary purpose is to hold money, and our paper money hasn't changed with our technology. However, most of us use credit cards or debit cards anyway. Considering that there are ways to pay with a little keychain of an appendage, would it be that difficult somehow put whatever info we need into a cellphone? I actually believe that this technology actually exists now in the age of e-commerce.
Of course, most of us use our wallet to hold our driver's license. In fact, out of all our card-sized documents, this one gets put on the most prominent display. However, if we really think about it, all a driver's license is a laminated sheet of paper that says we have a driving record. This information is probably on some DMV paper and computer file. Considering the rise of smartphones that can surf the net and send email, isn't it possible to view (but not alter) someone's driving information? I'm sure this technology would change fake IDs as we know it, but I'm certain we'd come up with some checks-and-balances system somehow!
Of course, let us not forget about photos. Some of our most precious loved ones are within the flaps of our wallets, but honestly, I have more pictures on my cell phone of my children and wife then in the wallet. In fact, Brookstone, an innovation company has just recently designed a women's leather wallet with a removable digital photo viewer. It can store about 55 color images on a tiny box with a 1.4 inch screen. You can download from your computer from your USB, and I am assuming that it is also USB rechargeable. Brookstone advertises that the product is rechargeable, so that means no money lost on batteries.
So, with money, driver's license, and photos can all be stored by the cell. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that traditional wallets are on their way out. However, this didn't have to be. Why didn't we put cell phone technology into the wallet? After all, most wallets open up like a clamshell phone anyway. I can easily imagine talking into my wallet, and just think how hard it would be for a thief to steal your wallet when you are talking to it.
I mean, most of us have to remember to take the essentials when we leave home, like the keys, wallet and cell phone. I think we could easily have mixed the wallet and cell phone together. That way, we only have one thing to drag around instead of two.
The electronic wallet: ever present evidence that technology never evolves the way it should.