No more wallets! What's next?
I remember when I received my first wallet. It's something of a rite of passage for a child, and is especially exciting if your parents were kind enough to put a five dollar bill in it before giving it to you. Ever since that day, my wallet has worn through numerous pairs of pants, been lost and then found, and dropped in a lake. I've grown attached to my wallet – even if sometimes I wish I didn't have to reach for it – which is why I was saddened when I heard that PayPal predicts by 2016 we won't need wallets at all.
Sure, it is pretty clear that mobile phones are affecting some big changes in the way we live. Although, I still found this prediction a bit surprising. If something as engrained as wallets is set to disappear from our habits, I wonder what other habits might change. The truth is that it is hard to predict where mobile phones are going to take us. According to a recent World Bank study, we're at the start of the growth curve for mobile technology and trends like mobile BI are just starting to catch on. It's like standing at the bottom of a tall cliff and looking up to the top. You can see the size and scope of the cliff, but it's impossible to catch all the subtle details the higher up you look.
With respect to PayPal, their prediction is definitely a bit of wishful thinking or hopes to start a self-fulfilling prophecy, but they still bring up an interesting point. Mobile phones are set to change habits and behaviours that we've grown accustomed to, yet those changes aren't a complete departure from those habits. After all, e-money is still legal tender, earned in the traditional way and used to purchase items that we've been buying since the invention of money.
I enjoy a bit of speculation from time to time, so I will pose this question to you: what types of changes do you think mobile phones will have on the business world?
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