One of the most interesting things about trolling the tech blogosphere is coming across new technologies that look to change the way we live our lives. It seems almost daily we are hearing about gadgets and ideas that will revolutionize the way we interact. From IKEA’s smart TV, to the James Bondesque Pebble smartwatch, to that little Project Glass thing from some company called Google, the market is ripe with innovation, and the world of ecommerce is no different.
A story that caught our attention today out of the UK, where the financial services company Barclay’s announced the introduction of its newest feature, a pay tag that attaches to mobile devices and allows near field communications (NFC) payments. Although technically the pay tag can attach to anything, the folks at Barclay’s designed and recommend it for use with smartphones, citing the notion that ,”the item we’re most lost without is our mobile phone”.
We’ve seen companies again and again take strides to make mobile payments simpler and more efficient, however more often than not these initiatives are of the digital variety. Companies like Facebook and Google have addressed the flaws in mobile billing and mobile payments publically, and while there may not yet be a perfect solution, the wheels are in motion.
What is so interesting about Barclay’s initiative however, is that it does not neglect the fact that mobile users are actually mobile themselves. An improved mobile web allows for connectivity free of spatial restrictions, so in theory the mobile web should actually promote more physical interaction and increased user mobility. Though Barclay’s initiative does not specifically utilize the mobile web (as the pay tag functions identically as a standard credit card) it will end up being the perfect complement. Now after mobile users search for a restaurant or shop via their smartphones, they can visit it and pay with the same device.
Of course, the pay tag method seems practically antiquated already. It feels almost inevitable that smartphone producers will eventually embed chips that allow the same type of physical payments, but for now the pay tag seems like a step in the right direction.
Smartphones and mobile devices have unified the web community, and innovations like adding NFC technology to these devices will only further unify the consumer commerce experience.
So, unfortunately for all those luxury leather retailers out there, the end of the need for carrying a wallet may be near. If we may make a quick suggestion, it may be time to do yourselves a favor and start making phone covers.