Mobile payments are on the rise these days, particularly in wearables (as evidenced by Fitbit's Coin acquisition). One UK firm wants to change the face of mobile payments by bringing some "shock" to the process -- in a controversial way.
British firm Intelligent Environments has created an Internet of Things (IoT) platform that links your bank account to the Pavlok wristband. Now, for those who may not know about the Pavlok wristband, it is a smart wristband that helps improve your wake up time (to stir you out of a deep sleep so that you don't miss work or the day's activities) and "shocks" you into exercise. Many Pavlok wristband users have noted that their awake times and awakening have improved and their exercise times have been more frequent and disciplined as a direct result of the wristband.
The new IoT platform, though, wants to "shock" people to prevent them from spending over their budget. If you pick up that New York cheesecake or ice cream sunday and it puts you over the agreed budget, you will be the fortunate (or, in this case, unfortunate) recipient of a 255-volt shock.
Intelligence Systems says that this new mobile payments integration with the Pavlok wristband is designed to prevent consumers from overspending by giving them choice, but some disagree with not only the Pavlok wristband but also its link to financial accounts. Cybersecurity expert Dr. Alan Woodward says that "I don't think that we need to be treated like Pavlov's dogs in order to deal with our bank accounts responsibly." In other words, Pavlov, for whom the "Pavlok" is named, was one who tried to show similarities between dogs and human beings over things that cause both to "salivate" (food, for example, or biological passions). In the same way that a dog is shocked to tame it, this new "budget shock" would be used to force consumers not to overspend.
Whether or not Intelligent Systems will get this IoT platform off the ground is anyone's guess, but it definitely brings a new frontier to mobile payments (though a scary one).