The arrival of a new decade offers an opportunity to “zoom out” and reflect on the longer-term changes that have affected, and will continue to affect, the way we live, work, and interact.
The world in which Interac operates has been transforming especially quickly, so we asked three of our innovation experts – Debbie Gamble, Oscar Roque, and Neil Butters – to speak on film about some of the changes they think have been most impactful in the past ten years, and the changes they think are likely to have the biggest impact in the next ten.
2009-2019: Key developments
The great evolution of the past decade, unsurprisingly, has been the digitization of almost everything – payments included. The shift away from physical payments by cash or cheque towards more convenient, low-friction methods like digital money transfer and mobile payments has spurred several important changes. First, it has made security and privacy a critical requirement for both vendors and consumers, as personal financial information and transaction data need to be kept safe. Second, digitization has created the opportunity to focus on the customer’s full experience of browsing, comparing, buying, and using products and services. The stunning success of experience-centred platforms like Facebook and Pinterest is an obvious proof of this. Third, this same shift has meant that transactions and payments are on their way to becoming almost invisible – an essential part of the customer’s journey, but one that is so reliable, easy, and (often) automatic that it barely needs to be thought about.
The “infrastructure” of digitization has also been both a driver and a participant in the past decade’s changes. Personal identification is still largely based on physical documentation, but the rapidly-mounting need for it to become both digital and highly secure has already prompted a wave of innovation and increasingly-powerful solutions. At the network level, meanwhile, the orders-of-magnitude change in the speed of delivery and in the amount of information accessible has meant a complete rethink in how we create and package services and in how companies and consumers do business together. Data has become central to both our actions and our possibilities.
2020-2029: Where we’re going
The changes ahead will be just as transformative for our economy and society. For example, the arrival of ubiquitous networks and the access to enormous amounts of incredibly granular data means that we’ll be able to expand our traditional notion of money-based transactions and transfers to a much more comprehensive framework of exchanging value. Money, after all, is now one instance of data – and since loyalty points, gamification credits, credentials, and even things like carbon offsets are all instances of data too, the value that such units store will soon be able to be exchanged (and converted into different units) across the same platforms and networks as money can.
With so much of value soon to be stored and exchanged on data-driven infrastructures, digital ID is almost certain to come into its own in this decade. Many governments are likely to start issuing foundational pieces of identity in digital form, and this will enable citizens and residents to access a wide range of public and private services more efficiently and conveniently than ever before, and with an even greater level of trust in the safety of their information.
In fact, trust will play an essential role in the developments of the next ten years. With the great value now being generated from data – personal, transactional, experiential – it is crucial that trust be front and centre in all the solutions created for consumers and businesses. As powerful new technologies like artificial intelligence come into general use, we will all need a high level of confidence in who we’re allowing into our lives, who we’re allowing to use our data, and how we’re securing the identities we use to interact with companies and our governments.
Of course, trust as a principle has always been central to Interac and to the platform we’ve built for Canadians – and it will continue to be as we push forward into the exciting and fast-changing Twenties. Now it’s time to “zoom in” again, and get to work.