by Sally Applin
The headline in the London news a few weeks ago was “Tube bosses angered by City Boy craze of attaching Oyster Card chips to their watches.” It went on to say that “The new fad allows commuters to swipe their wristwatches on ticket barrier and top-up machines–without having to fumble in pockets to find their travel cards.”
I think this is a marvelous example of “innovation in context.” These City Boys aren’t doing anything illegal–they’ve bought their cards and paid the fare. What they have done, is shortened the bottleneck in their process of commuting. Instead of being angry–Tube bosses should be thrilled. They have the opportunity to create a faster commute for people.
In fact, the Tube bosses themselves did a pilot study last year with 500 “Oyster Card” wristwatch prototypes. The flaw there, is in making someone buy something issued by them. The brilliance in what the City Boys have done, is they retain their own style, but soup up their commute.
Japan seems to be way ahead of the West again with this technology. People have been able to flash their cell phones for train fare for a long time now. It works well. The phones in Japan do way more than they do in the West with regards to commerce, travel and communication–why is the West so…slow?
I applaud the City Boys. They have figured out a way to make their commute faster, without losing their personal style.
If I were the Tube office, I’d collect them all and bring them in for a fully catered focus group.
Trend: its all Goin’ Mobile. With high fuel prices, mobility is the new status. Look for all things to be as mobile and tiny. We’re channeling our nomadic roots and catering for them with as much innovation as possible.
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