This is a presentation I'm giving today (well Friday) at a conference in Geneva. It relates to the evolution of smartphone-based payment systems.

Look at the phone you use today and think about the one you were using just three years ago. They've changed a lot. Arguably kick-started by the iPhone we're witnessing a rapid evolution.

The digital transformation doesn't end with the device, in communication, entertainment, broadcasting, music sales and television; business of all kinds, from desktop publishing to reporting systems -- all these sectors are being impacted by the digital change -- even a sector like cash and treasury management will not be left exempt.

Look at the business you do today, I don't care whether you're involved in asset or foreign exchange management, corporate finance, credit management, institutional sales -- whatever business you're involved in you are ultimately offering services to a customer, whether that customer is internal or external. Look at how the way you do business has changed.

[This story is from Computerworld's Apple Holic blog. Follow on Twitter or subscribe via RSS to make sure you don't miss a beat.]

Look at the phones your customers use today.

They've changed.

They continue changing.

These things are becoming as powerful as any PC, but equipped with GPS, movement sensors and, in future, RFID chips which enable these devices to securely share data with other devices, you're not just looking at machines for connecting people, in future they're going to transform transaction flow.

Real world examples hint at what's to come:

  • PayPal and Swift now let you deposit cheque payments into your bank account using your iPhone. Just take a picture of the cheque, hit a button, and you're done.
  • Visa in New York is currently trialling a smartphone-based payment system for commuters
  • Square in the US is already bringing to market its own solution which lets small businesses -- even street entertainers - give and accept personal payments.
  • Industry trade show Mobilize last week saw smartphone payment pioneer BOKU talk about its own solutions which let you pay for goods using your smartphone as a virtual credit card.
  • This is a growing trend. A recent report by ScanBuy informed us that there were more mobile bar code scans in the US in July 2010 than took place in the 12 months before.

Apple has filed many patents relating to payment systems based on RFID technologies. Google's Android system follows the same trend. There is no doubt that your smartphone will become your wallet. This is simply a realisation of existing industry momentum.

This means it won't just be you, it will also be your customers who will use smartphones as wallets; your staff, your friends and your family.

  • What will this do to your payment and reporting systems?
  • Are you prepared -- and are you demanding -- the creation of solutions for instant real time reporting, oversight and stringent financial control?
  • Immediate systems for financial exchange?
  • Immediate transaction security systems?

Like every industry facing the evolution of disruptive technology, it is worth noting the success of the iPhone-led smartphone explosion so far is based on applications.

Think then of what you need in your branch of the industry. What's the app which could transform your specialized sector business? If you can dream it, then you can develop it. Lead the evolution, don't fall behind the pack, in your business you need to build the app for that.