Once again the concept just flashed in my head – ‘often innovation is not about what you use but about how you use’. While reading an MSNBC post [read here] about Filipinos using their cell phones for receiving foreign remittances seemed like revisiting a past idea (not too past though). The question that came to my mind right away – Will cellphones become our next generation interactive wallet? Actually… it surely can be and doesn’t have to wait till the next generation!
In the US we restrict our cellphones to communication (chat and text), media access (recently with iPhone and other PDA devices), and some degree of web access. Numerous companies strive to bring innovations or rather tweaks in the UI, website, or communication speed (Wi-Fi, Wi-Max) to make websites load into that small device with a smaller screen. Nevertheless, ergonomics and human psychology of persisting habits go at odds to each other and we just keep on churning over a blind end. However, in EU and Asia things are treated differently when it comes to the use of cellphones. Usability has gone few steps above texting for entertainment or social purposes. c-Banking (cell banking?) is a new format now. People are remitting money over the cell from EU to Africa and Asia. The increasing accessibility to a cell phone at warp speed even to the remotest parts of continents are allowing applications to penetrate markets that could have never been reached. The social innovation aspect of it is now another face of profit-based corporate innovation.
For a villager or an immigrant worker, you don’t need to load a webpage in front of him/her. Just give a 4 digit SMS number to dial and simple instructions to load cash, ping cash, and confirm receipt. But there is a whole menagerie of applications that are already evolving or awaiting to launch in the mobile phone domain. Some of them are:
- Cell phone debit card to buy movie tickets by accessing a toll free number
- Waving cell phones in front of a cash register while checking out groceries or other merchandise
- Using cell phones to validate your presence – carrying graphic Drivers License
- And more….. are ideas that I will keep for my startup – 🙂
So you can see, we are soon approaching the days of c-wallet. Just keep on building the interfaces!!
Another good post [here].