Today I walk around with me three things on my person: a wallet, a smartphone, and a set of keys. Why can't these three things all be the same device? In addition, I pay to carry a mobile hotspot around as a separate device sometimes. Why can't I use my phone as a mobile hotspot regularly with real unlimited data? The former problem is an innovation problem. The latter is a service problem.
A Virtual Keyring
Sure, by now, you have heard of Lockitron, August, or similar technologies built around the home keyhole. Last time I checked, I have more keys on my keyring than just my apartment key.
I also have a car key and a postbox key. For the car, companies like Viper have come up with an app that can lock and unlock your car over a cellular network. This does not seem like the future I want. How hard would it be to emulate a key fob radio physically in a phone? Could phones have software-defined radios?
Secondly, with the postbox key, granted, I live in an apartment so most homeowners probably don't have a postbox key. I could also do without physical mail if I signed up for a service like Outbox, but that comes with its own set of problems.
A keyring should be an app on my phone, that's all I am saying.
A Mobile Wallet
Next, for the wallet, I carry membership cards, gift cards, debit/credit cards, ID cards, and sometimes cash. Credit cards are already being eaten away by the likes of ISIS and Square. Insurance cards and membership cards I probably could store as photos assuming the vendor allows me to type in the ID number. Some member cards, like Starbucks, are already pure digital apps.
The biggest obstacle that I'm not aware of being solved any time soon is the digitalization of ID cards. Effectively, the government would have to rely on a certain level of security and ubiquity to allow for digital IDs. While it might introduce new problems, the problem of fake IDs as it exists now could be eradicated.
Mobile Internet Service
So, now I have my wallet and keyring in my phone, what's next? Well, how about Internet service? Do you have a landline or wireless service? I currently carry wireless service through Clear. Clear operates over Sprint's networks. So, why can't I have my phone operate as an unlimited data mobile hotspot on Sprint if I can already do that by carrying around an extra hotspot? It doesn't make sense to me.
These are all small, solvable modern problems. A decade from now I look forward to this technology becoming obsolete. We'll see where we're headed next then.