observed in the back of a cab
Everyware’s got some solid arguments for how and why ubiquitous systems will proliferate and gain adherence. Adam’s reasoning aside, most of the promotion I hear for ubicomp/location aware systems revolves around convenience and security. For widespread applications, it’s usually convenience that’s the deciding factor.
The “tap n go” feature of smart debit/charge cards offers up a solid benefit to consumers; who wants to wait 25 seconds to run their card at the minimart?
After a taxi ride the other day, however, I’ve started to take a different perspective on RFID-enhanced bank cards, and why they might catch on for more reasons than pure convenience. My driver, Roy, informed me that he wouldn’t be taking plastic, regardless of where we were headed. Not a problem, I affirmed, but did he mind if I asked why?
Turns out that safety is his primary concern – running a card from a taxi is roughly a 90 second process to complete the transmission. Roy doesn’t like double parking for that long, for fear of getting rear ended (again). That plus the fact that four credit card charges in an hour shift starts to eat into the amount of time he actually spends driving (and making cash).
I won’t get into his story about the woman who charged a $6 ride and asked for $40 cash back.
It would seem in this instance that a receptor plate on the back of Roy’s headrest for receipt of “tap n go” transactions might be even safer than a cash payment (who knew making change was so dangerous?). Roy can continue to insist he won’t take old school magnetic-strip cards, but RFID? “No problem, boss.” The reduction of time associated with the transaction actually increases the number of venues in which the technology is applicable.
Where speed and safety are potentially in everyone’s best interest, an Everyware-enabled system might just be the ticket.
Speaking of Adam, I and the rest of Adaptive Path are very proud to announce that we’ll be hosting him when he speaks in San Francisco on June 20th, from 6 to 8 pm. He’ll be talking about his new book, and you are cordially invited to attend. I’ll link to the upcoming item as soon as Peter puts it up there.
[update 5/12/06 2:30 PM PST] Here’s the link to the upcoming instance.