#IDIoT, Part 97: Wearables again

In the July 2000 edition of Harper’s Magazine, Dennis Cass wrote about Silicon Valley:

Let’s go Silicon Valley! Wherein the author stalks the flighty, green-backed webhead in his natural habitat

From Let’s go | Harper’s Magazine

He wrote about “the kinds of things you’ve heard bores like Nicholas Negroponte drone on about in Wired magazine, like shoes that can send e–mail to other shoes”. I wrote this down at the time, because I remember thinking it was an interesting perspective from a non-technologist looking at what technologists were doing. And it was a funny example. Shoes that can send e-mail to other shoes!

Yesterday, through the miracle of Twitter, I noticed that this dystopia is almost upon us.

Smart Shoes You Can Control With Your Smartphone.

From Smart Shoes You Can Control With Your Smartphone

It’s only taken a couple of decades to get this point, but it’s something to celebrate. Even our shoes will be getting hacked from now on.

From haute couture to HCE

My keen interest in fashion is widely known and my role as a facilitator and intermediary between the worlds of payments and fashion is widely respected. I stand as bridge between style and secure elements, between haute couture and HCE.


On which topic, I’m sure you’ve all seen this from Associated Press, concerning adding a Barclaycard “bPay” contactless payment chip to a sleeve to make a wearable payment device:

Contactless payment technology has been applied to fashion to create the “world’s first” contactless jacket… The jacket – which is going on-sale online and in the brand’s Carnaby Street store – has space in the cuff for a contactless payment chip,

Well, once again I am confirmed in role as trendsetter. I had my first contactless wearable shirt a decade ago (and it still fits me today, so there) and, as I mentioned when I wrote of this topic for Visa Europe, I was even thinking about buying a contactless suit down under last year, but didn’t.

I remember thinking at the time that I wished that the pocket was in my suit rather than in my shirt.

[From Contactless innovation in wearables (nothing new!) | Consult Hyperion]

Only a decade later and my wish has come true. Of course, not only can you put those bPay chips into your jacket cuff, you can put them anywhere else you like. I heard that someone put one in the end of a magic wand that they tap on the reader at TfL gates, presumably while simultaneously shouting out “flipendo” to the bemusement of baffled foreign tourists. I am desperately tempted to offer a prize for a video of the most interesting way to open a TfL gate using a wearable bPay chip, but I’m afraid corporate standards on taste and decency (not to mention relevant local laws) prevent me from doing so.

Will I spend £150 on a jacket just so that I can take the chip out of a Barclaycard band or keyfob and put it in the jacket’s cuff? Probably not (but if they want to send me one I will of course give an entirely unbiased and fair review of said garment on this very blog) but I may be unusual. According the figures, the wearables market is set for serious growth.

According to statistics from IDTechEx, the wearable electronic business will grow to more than $70billion by 2024.

[From Why fashion is set to change the future of payments – » Business Reporter]

Right now wearables means watches, but as any of you who saw the presentation by the very talented artist Heidi Hinder at Tomorrow’s Transactions 2014 will recall, there are people out there working on far more interesting and imaginative solutions!

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