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Will we be wearing payments? I think we probably will, but I’ll be the only one with a watch.

At the Tomorrow’s Transactions Forum 2014, the talented jewellery designer and craftsperson Heidi Hinder told the audience about her “Money No Object” project at the Bristol Watershed and talked about turning wearable objects into transactional devices. She was terrific, so if you weren’t there to see her I urge you to go and check out that video ASAP or listen to a podcast with Heidi that I recorded last year when her work came to our attention. I wanted to find out more from her because I’m very interested in the topic of wearables — I remember working on a project on this about a decade ago for one our financial services clients and being fascinated then with the idea of transactional jewellery — and very uninterested in the technology industry’s primary vision about wearables, the smart watch. More about transaction-enabled timepieces later. I was thinking about Heidi’s presentation today because someone sent me a link on a related topic:

UK-based Kiroco has won the Best Innovation of The Year award at London’s Wearable Technology Conference and Expo for a range of interactive jewellery that allows a recipient to tap an NFC phone to see text, video and photo messages uploaded by the sender.

[From Kiroco launches NFC jewellery, scoops award • NFC World]

This strikes me as being a cute idea, and the idea of turning interactions into transactions will, I suspect, be of interest to a number of our clients. Here’s another idea on the similar vein (pun very much intended) from Japan.

This silver band, worn on the index finger, uses a Bluetooth wireless signal to connect with the user’s smartphone, which then sends the payment electronically.

[From BBC News – Tokyo technology start-ups offer devices and gadgets]

Time travellers from the Tomorrow’s Transactions Forum of 2012 will, of course, remember an even better version of this idea that was presented as part of the annual Future of Money Design Award that we host each year at the event.

Wearing the ring will create a constant link to your online finances and an almost instant awareness of any financial transactions through a bite like experience, produced by tiny spikes inside the ring.

[From Ever Present Awareness – Future of Money]

As you may recall, the artist’s idea was to reintroduce physicality into electronic transactions, a particularly brilliant concept that our delegates found fascinating.

To go back to the general point about wearables, though, I have say that I personally find the spiky ring idea more plausible than the smart watch in the mass market, despite the fact that I already own a smart watch with an EMV contactless chip inside it and have cheerfully been using it for a couple of years! In fact I used it to buy a coffee when I was working on a draft of this post, which I think is rather cool. But then, I am old, and still wear a watch from time to time. Young persons don’t.

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