Digital wallets will replace paper money in 30 yrs: Pitroda

Last Updated 12 September 2010, 19:13 IST

“Paper money will disappear as transactions become digitised in another three decades,” said the inventor of Casio Digital Diary, which was a rage in the 1980s, speaking about his latest innovation, the “digital wallet,” that uses the concept of “mobile money”.

“If you can make your home and office paperless, why not banks, trade and your wallet? All transactions will be online in the future,” Pitroda said in an interview on his invention, now explained in the book: “The March of Mobile Money: The Future of Lifestyle Management.”

“Every mobile telephony service provider will embrace it. With declining average revenue per user, digital wallet could lure more subscribers who would pay more for the services offered,” he said. “It is completely foolproof.”

Pitroda’s book covers the evolution of the mobile phone in India, which is fast becoming a lifestyle emblem in the country, its emerging links with banking and the concept of money, to make eventual, but certain, room for what he calls the “mobile wallet.”
“The mobile revolution is like a big train coming. India will have a billion connected people in 10 years and everything, including health, education and social service, will have to be done through mobile telephony,” he said.

India has over 650 million mobile phone connections just behind China’s 795 million. “The mobile service provider or networks will become the management platforms. Nobody is thinking about it — but you cannot conduct your life the way you are doing it now. The cell phone has made India younger, mobile and connected.”

First, he says, the mobile telephony blitz will deal with uploading of content in areas such as education and health, with handset storing health data, doctor’s address, phone numbers, drug schedules, laboratory test reports and even a list of regular chemists.
The mobile phone will also be a boon for the education sector, and in a decade’s time, students will be able to solve math, trigonometry and answer their examination on their cell phones. The concept is currently under trial across four states in the US, he said.
Pitroda then presented a live demonstration of the services provided by his personal digital wallet —  a sleek black BlackBerry with a rather large display screen — to explain the premise on which the technology of “digital wallet” operated.

His mobile phone has four icons in the money menu — for wallet, bank, my-commerce and my-city, which lists information about Delhi, where he is now. The wallet contains an electronic imprint of his plastic cards and bonuses collected on it.

He said if he were to go out for lunch and decided to split the bill with the host, all that was needed was to send two messages — one from his phone to the host and another to his bank to transfer the money to the host’s account.

(Published 12 September 2010, 19:13 IST)

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