Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

100 Mobile Product Ideas...#21...
...Electronic receipts...

Whenever I shop, I would like to get an electronic copy of my sales receipt. This would give me:

1. A record of what I'm buying, useful for accounts, archiving etc.
2. A means to plug into the Semantic Web and do all kinds of interesting things...

The second point interests me most, but let's just think about getting the receipt. Retailers would have to be willing to provide the information, but how should it be transferred to my domain?

There are a number of possibilities for transfer, but using a mobile is one possibility. If mobile payment - or, should I say, when mobile payment becomes a reality, the transfer of data between the retailer and the user becomes easier. With near-field communication techniques, like Paypass, a single "air swipe" with the mobile is enough to make the payment and download the receipt.

An added benefit of point-of-sale transfer is authentication. The retailer can use the user's presence and "signature" as a means to authenticate the transfer of the receipt. It is easy to understand why authentication is important. I wouldn't want anyone else knowing what I was buying, at least not without giving them permission (lots of interesting possibilities there...).

Once I have the information, then I can do with it as I please. For those who like keep meticulous accounts, transfer into an accounting package is easy. There is also the added benefit of keeping track of expenses.

Analysis is another possibility. Thinking about it, I imagine that it would be very interesting to see a graph of what I was spending my money on. It is interesting to reflect on how that might alter spending habits...

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