The decentralised electronic wallet is coming, agreed the participants in a panel discussion about 'Digital Wallets' at the ITB Berlin Convention.
Especially in a highly fragmented travel market they offer a high degree of security and make life easier for travellers and service providers as well as border control personnel.
With its increased security, hygiene and health checks, the pandemic certainly showed the benefits of storing all the necessary documents in one place on a smartphone, said Florian Daniel from Deutsche Hospitality, the brand name for the Steigenberger Hotel group. Until now wallets have mainly contained credit cards.
Nick Price, CEO NetSys Technology, stated that the era of an almost endless number of plastic cards is coming to an end. For example, they cannot be so easily updated compared with data on a smartphone. Jamie Smith of Evernym, a subsidiary of the internet security firm Avast, pointed out that it is users themselves who can decide what data they choose to hand over.
When checking people at any point of access it is irrelevant what the customer’s name is or their religion, but only whether they are authorised to enter: “Yes or no”. Far too much unnecessary data is sent through networks. Because the data is decentralised, i.e. only stored on that specific device and not on large servers, hacking is virtually impossible.
Although the members of the panel agreed that progress towards the digital wallet is inexorable, there are different opinions about how long it will take before their wide scale introduction. Interoperability between the various underlying platforms is still not really perfect, let alone the official approval systems.
If the personal ID card is to be included in Germany this would require changes to the registration law, with estimates ranging from 18 months to the year 2030.