Wearable Tech World Feature Article
December 13, 2013

Wearable Technology Likely to Play a Key Role in Electronic Payments Space

The expansion of electronic wallet technology and biometric platforms may seem to have slowed down somewhat lately, but, according to several technology leaders — namely NXT-ID, Rambus, Twitter, Cisco Systems and Nuance Communications — this is just the calm before the storm.

Indeed, the picture these companies paint is a compelling one. For example, NXT-ID’s Wocket promises to bring the wallet into the 21st century by simply making mobile payments easily accessible. The company also cites support of new digital currencies, like Bitcoin, as crucial, despite its price volatility and the fact that it’s effectively banned in some countries. Cisco’s recent deal to provide cloud networking solutions for guests at hotels owned by Archipelago International, one of Indonesia’s top hospitality management companies, also plays a role by making wireless Internet more available in key areas of commerce. Nuance Communications, meanwhile, recently reached “significant speech recognition accuracy and workflow enhancements” with its PowerScribe 360 platform.

In other words, the technology to support, facilitate and secure electronic payments is better and more accessible than ever. But what role does wearable technology play in this? According to technology licensing company Rambus, it plays a big one.

As wearable technology becomes more widely available — whether in the form of a smart watch, glasses or some other form factor — it’s clear that mobile payments will move beyond the smartphone. After all, the purpose of consumer-focused wearable technology, at least, is largely to add further convenience that smartphones can’t already provide. Swiping one’s wrist to make a payment, for example, is much more convenient than pulling out a phone.

Meanwhile, a lot of wearable technology is based on already-common platforms, namely Android, making development fairly hassle free. Then there’s ABI Research’s prediction that annual wearable device shipments will exceed 485 million by 2018. In other words, at this point, it seems as though wearable devices will be as much a part of the mobile payments equation as smartphones will be going forward.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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