Why hasn’t mobile payment taken off
in the United States?

Making payments through mobile apps has succeeded in many countries. Why are many customers in the US reluctant to buy or pay with their phones?

By Jian Wang  (wangjian76@gmail.com)

(Wang, vice editor-in-chief of the New Media Division of China National Radio, is a visiting scholar at the Center for the Digital Future.)

On February 20, Google announced the launch of its new mobile payment app — Google Pay. The new service replaces Android Pay and Google Wallet, and is capable of managing payment across platforms — online, in store, or to other people.

There have been other efforts, such as Paypal’s Venmo, Square’s Cash app, Amazon Pay, and Walmart Pay. None have changed payment habits in the United States.

What are the reasons for the lukewarm performance of mobile payment in the United States? With a huge population of affluent consumers and probably the best telecommunication and financial infrastructures in the world, shouldn’t the United States be in the leading position?  (more)

At a glance: why do some banking customers not use ATMs?

From the Center’s study of the future of banking
Graphic by Olivia Shipp
(See all of the Center’s infographics here)

The challenge of OOOIO: opting out of information overload

Chief strategy officer Brad Berens digs into social media addiction, why it’s hard to break free, and where there are hopeful signs.

I keep a list of nagging questions like, “why can’t Google organize all my different video services (HBO, Starz, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, etc.) so I can browse through all of my viewing options at the same time?”

The obvious answer is that Google wants users to watch movies on YouTube and subscribe to its YouTube Red or YouTube TV services, so the company’s explicit mission — “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” — blinks in the face of possible revenue.

A more urgent question from my list concerns social media: why can’t I block Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram…) for a set amount of time at the service level, rather than have to log out of each service across all my devices and hope that I have the willpower not to log back in?  (more)

Web Insight: is baseball a dying sport?

Some sports pundits have suggested that baseball is declining or even dying as our National Pastime, arguing that the game is too slow, too expensive; or it requires space not available in urban areas.

But the Center’s study of sports fan behavior and the media suggests that baseball is still popular among many Americans, surpassed only by NFL football in the overall percentage of people who say they watch or follow the sport. Looking at Americans who follow at least one sport in season, the Center’s survey found that 51% of respondents said that they follow or watch baseball.

How does interest in baseball vary based on demographics? (more)

See all of the Center’s Web Insights here.

De-cluttering: the real digital revolution

Center director Jeffrey Cole explores why the digitalization of so many physical items in our lives results not only in less clutter but increased access.

Our job at the Center for the Digital Future is to track the expected and, more importantly, unexpected change that comes from digital technology. After 18 years of tracking digital impact, the unexpected change continues to arrive from the most interesting and surprising places.

Digital technology has turned out to be the best “de-clutterer” in history. In this column, I want to track how digital has freed up an enormous amount of physical room in our lives.  (more)

Uber accident won't stop driverless cars for long

On March 18, a self-driving car owned by Uber killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. Center director Jeffrey Cole explains why this tragedy is only a temporary setback for driverless cars.

In a previous column, I talked about how driverless cars will be the most important development over the next thirty years. Despite my vision for how driverless cars will change the world, it was obvious the road to complete autonomy would be a long one with many bumps.

On March 18, driverless cars hit a major crisis when a pedestrian was killed in Arizona by one of Uber’s driverless cars.  Uber immediately and appropriately suspended its driverless car program. Not surprisingly, many critics — who felt Uber started testing too soon — quickly made the case that driverless cars will never work: if they are to be tested, then it should be a much slower process and in places where they cannot harm people.

Beyond the lessons that we will learn from the Tempe accident, there are some immediate things we should consider about driverless cars and this incident.  (more)

The future ain’t what it used to be

U.S. entertainment: where are we and where might we go?  Bruce Ramer, a principal in the law firm of Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, and member of the Center’s Board of Governors, explores the rapidly-evolving issues that are shaping the world of entertainment.

“Nobody knows anything.” Nowhere is this aphorism more true than in the business for which it was invented, the entertainment business, where innovations in technology continue to create new platforms, with a ripple effect that leads to new forms of content and new consumer preferences and demands.

That process has only accelerated as technology changed from tubes and celluloid to chips and bits, and from movie palaces and boxy TVs to cellphones and the Internet.  (more)

At a glance: what are the best features of self driving cars?

From the Center’s study of the future of transportation
Graphic by Michelle Veriah
(See all of the Center’s infographics here)

Center releases report on the future of money and banking

Nearly 60 percent of American banking customers would consider moving their money to accounts offered by familiar companies, such as online retailers, search engines, or big-box stores, even though they have no experience with financial services, according to a new study on the future of money and banking by the Center.

“We strongly believe banking is the next industry to be completely disrupted by digital change,” said Jeffrey Cole, director of the center. “Our research shows customers are far ahead of the banks in looking to the web and apps as their preferred banking methods.

Download the Future of Money and Banking Report here.

Center report explores the future of transportation

The Center has unveiled a first-of-its-kind study on the future of transportation — a project that explores the spectrum of American behavior and views about their cars, public transit, reasons to give up driving, new competitors in the automobile industry, distracted driving, and the arrival of self-driving cars.

“Most research covers the transportation revolution from an industry perspective, but our new study focuses on the actual behavior and attitudes of the U.S. population,” said Brad Berens, chief strategy officer for the center and project lead for the study.

The 42-page Future of Transportation Study explores more than 100 issues involving behavior and views about cars, their alternatives, and emerging needs for technology.

Download the Future of Transportation Report here.

Center for the Digital Future releases 15th annual report on the impact of digital technology in the U.S.

The 152-page “Surveying the Digital Future” includes findings on more than 160 issues, among them: the importance of the internet in political campaigns, government regulation and the internet, online buying and effects on retail shopping, personal freedom online, privacy and personal security, and negative attention (bullying and sexual harassment).

More about the report here.

Download the report here.

Center director Jeffrey Cole discusses media trends

Center director Jeffrey Cole explores transformation of the media for the keynote address at the 2018 annual leadership meeting of the Interactive Advertising  Bureau.

View the video.