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Mobile Payments and the Mobile Money Ecosystem

by Kevin Benedict

November 9, 2010

More from last week's CIO Council.  Chris Albinson from Panorama Capital shared his predictions that mobile payments and location-based services are going to be the two hottest areas of enterprise mobility in 2011. 
Others at the event shared that they expect smartphones will soon be available with a specific NFC (near field communications) chip that will enable your phone to be used for mobile money.  The chip will be uniquely tied to you and your bank account in a secure way.
I also heard rumors that Apple may soon launch a mobile money capability through iTunes.  Just rumors now, but I can easily image Steve Jobs transforming banking through iTunes and everything "i".

Security is one of the biggest concerns with mobile banking and mobile money.  Ramesh Kesanupalli, CTO with Validity Inc., shared the latest developments in the area of biometric fingerprint sensors.  He expects these sensors will be common to mobile devices and smartphones in the near future.  Instead of entering a code on the screen of your mobile device, you would just swipe your finger across the sensor and as soon as it "validates" your fingerprint it opens the device or the specific banking application.
Years ago I had an iPAQ PDA with a biometric scanner that failed to work reliably.  Ramesh says technology and has now caught up and biometric fingerprint sensors are very fast and accurate today.
In addition to the security concerns, the other requirement is industry convergence.  There are many players in the mobile banking and mobile money market segment that must all work together.  This is a big challenge.  Here are just a few of the players:
  • Point of sales (POS) equipment manufacturers
  • Banks
  • Credit card companies
  • Mobile device manufacturers
  • Mobile software vendors
  • Retailers
  • Etc.

It will be fun to see if Chris' predictions are right.

Dan Homrich and Ed Krufka at Smartsoft Mobile Solutions work in the mobile retailing solutions space and are involved in these issues daily.  I will ask them to keep us informed as events around mobile payments, mobile banking and mobile retailing develop.

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