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From sci-fi to reality

By Wirecard Editorial Team

Welcome to a brand-new decade: ‘the 2020s’! Here at Wirecard, we are ready to hit the ground running with new ideas and innovations that make a positive impact on our world.

January the 2nd is known as ‘Science Fiction Day,’ the birthday of sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, a figure who is firmly enshrined into the folklore of geeks, tech-heads and innovators everywhere. As we forge ahead into a new decade, it’s interesting to look back over the past 10 years: a decade of rampant, exponential innovation. In fact, in the year 2010, some of today’s technologies would have seemed just like science fiction.

Think about some of the biggest breakthroughs over the past decade…

  • SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered supplies to the international space station and then returned safely to earth - the first ever rocket that could be reused. This is the first step in dramatically cutting the costs of space flight, as we begin to dream about the possibility of living on other planets.
  • Closer to home, Google’s Nest thermostat automatically learned to regulate the temperature in your home, ushering a new era of ‘connected homes.’ Today, we can control many elements of our home – from cameras, to security systems smoke detectors, sprinkler systems and pretty much any other device that you can imagine!
  • Of course, to go with our smarter houses, we need smarter cars. Just a decade ago, the idea of self-driving cars was fanciful… but today many major manufacturers have started rolling out vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities. The 2020s should see self-driving cars going mainstream.
  • Towards the end of the decade, we heard about the revolutionary ‘CRISPR’ gene-editing technology, which changes the sequence of DNA in cells to prevent certain mutations that may cause diseases. This technology could have tremendous applications in healthcare, and may even change the nature of human beings altogether.
  • We also saw the advent of superfast mobile networks, hundreds of times quicker than anything that came before. Known as 5G, this technology bolted out of the blue over the past couple of years. In fact, there are already several live 5G networks available around the world.
In the year 2010, some of today’s technologies would have seemed just like science fiction

The innovation didn’t stop there. Those of us in the financial services and payments space have been hard at work in creating more seamless and secure ways for customers to pay for their favorite goods and services. From tapping our smartphones at contactless readers, to payment-enabled wearables and voice-activated payments, we’re just getting going…

Today, individuals and businesses need to transact in real-time, from every corner of the world – sharing information, products and solutions with one another within rapidly-evolving digital ecosystems. From micro-purchases in smartphone apps, to hugely complex sustainable energy systems, payments are at the center of our digital world.

Can you imagine, for instance, going shopping and simply picking out the items that you want, and then casually walking out of the store? Wirecard’s new prototype store captures the power of artificial intelligence, sensors and other smart devices to make this vision possible.

As we head towards an era where cars are electric, self-driving and intelligent, we see incredible opportunities for new mobility models. Wirecard’s association with leading industry players shows how payments and identity management can be embedded into these new ecosystems.

In the realm of biometrics, Wirecard’s facial and palm scanning prototypes foreshadow an exciting future of payments at places like mass commuter systems, events, retail and other locations where high volumes of customers need instant access and payment capabilities.

As we dive into a new decade, let’s also look at a few key trends that are followed by tech enthusiasts worldwide and which also have ramifications for the payment industry and customer journey.

  • Screenless interfaces… Despite all our advances, we still interact with the digital world through clumsy digital screens (mobile phones, laptops, VR headsets, GPS navigators in our cars, etc). The next decade will see technologists finding more natural interfaces that help to fuse the physical and digital worlds. Light field displays, holographic LED displays, and other ways to project three-dimensional digital imagery will come to the fore – and may even herald the end of our screens forever.
  • Artificial intelligence… The coming decade may well see the next steps towards ‘artificial superintelligence,’ as our AI creations evolve from today’s typical state of having one singular core competency, towards a broad range of capabilities that show the adaptability, flexibility, and power of AI. We’ll also start to see AI systems that interact with each other, working and learning together, potentially creating swarming ‘hiveminds’ of artificial intelligence.
  • The blockchain… Many experts believe that, a decade from now, the blockchain will underpin every transaction and engagement between companies, redefining digital ecosystems and value-chains, and affecting companies in every industry.

The 2020s will feature even more revolutionary breakthroughs and new innovations currently beyond our wildest dreams. Some might even call it science fiction.

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