English
06/12/2013

“Your SIM card will be your identity in 2020”

In the future, where we are will increasingly be equated with the location of our mobile phone, says future researcher Tim Jones. Acceptance for the mobile tracking of people is growing. By 2020, alternative payment methods like M-Pesa will become increasingly important.

"In the future, wherever a person`s mobile phone is – be it in a train or in the bedroom – will be equated with the user`s current location," explained Tim Jones in a keynote speech at the Austrian M2M & Mobile Payment Forum in Vienna. Jones is the founder of the Future Agenda, which deals with how the world will be in 2020. "Your SIM card will be equivalent to your identity." Jones also said that people are increasingly accepting the tracking of their behavior through their mobile phone.
"Attitudes about privacy will change"


"Ten years ago, no one would have believed that something like location-based services and apps would establish themselves. Now, they are everywhere, and will continue to grow," Jones said. "However, this could lead to a `privacy Chernobyl` in five to ten years." At least according to sources in the US government, Jones said.


"We believe that attitudes about privacy will change significantly. Some things will go well, and others won`t. A lot will depend on who can access the data, and on who you trust. Everyone should consider the issue before it suddenly becomes a problem."

Flexible product pricing
Jones estimates that there will be about 50 billion SIM cards in the year 2020. And all data will be digitalized by 2020. At the present, Goolge has digitalized 30 to 40 percent of all data in the world, for example, Jones said. And in 2020, the volume of data that we have will double every month.


Because of the availability of personal data, there will no longer be one price for everyone, but flexible pricing depending on a person`s individual profile. "The prices will be generated dynamically and will depend on who you are, how wealthy you are, and what you bought last," Jones said. "At least that is what the merchants who are promoting mobile payment want."


Alternative payment methods like M-Pesa growing
In addition, alternative payment systems like M-Pesa in Kenya are becoming increasingly popular and are growing rapidly. M-Pesa was developed by the Kenyan mobile communications provider Safaricom in cooperation with Vodafone and was officially introduced in 2007. The system allows cashless payments without requiring a bank account. Prepaid minutes can also be used as an alternative currency when they are needed.
"Seventy percent of the money in Kenya changes hands in this manner," Jones said. In addition to Kenya, M-Pesa is also used in Tanzania and South Africa. "In Africa, more money is circulating through M-Pesa than aid money from the entire world," Jones explained. The cashless payment system has also been running in India for a few months now.


"You have to keep an eye on such payment methods, because they can have a tremendous influence. And they also make it impossible to verify how much taxes are paid. That is why governments are afraid of them," said Jones. An eye must also be kept on alternative currencies like Bitcoin, and also Amazon credits. In 2020, at least 5 percent of all payment transactions will be conducted by means of alternative methods, Jones said.


"Cash will never die"
However, Jones says that cash will never die, in agreement

at the congress. "Because of the black market, which is more highly developed in some parts of the world than in others, we will never transition fully to electronic money. Even if the government were to abolish cash by law. In such an event, bartering would again become more prevalent. People would again start trading things with each other. This trend is already noticeable in rural areas. People trust each other more than their government."


Intelligent trucks without drivers
The future researcher also predicts that no one will die in car crashes any more in 2020. "But that will only work when everyone participates and the cars have access to 100 percent of the data. That will be a huge challenge," Jones said. He said that we will not have self-driving cars like in the movies, but that driverless trucks will become common.
"There will be lanes on intelligent highways that are reserved for trucks. Ten trucks will be electronically connected, and only the first will be steered by a driver," Jones explained. In the private sector, real-time checks will let people select the best form of transport at any given moment.


3D printing will not become a mass phenomenon
Jones does not see 3D printing becoming a mass phenomenon. "Of course a lot of people are excited about it right now. But 3D printing will not go mainstream, but will remain a niche product for certain markets and applications. One of the reasons is the question of the copyright on the printed objects," Jones said.
But the future researcher does allow that some of his predictions may prove to be wrong, because no one has yet been able to predict everything accurately.