CARTES: For Mobile Wallets, Survival Means Adaptation (May 15, 2014)
Darwin’s theory of evolution held that, in the struggle for survival, the fittest species won out over rivals because they were better at adapting to changes in their environment. That concept can be applied to today’s mobile wallet ecosystem, where the “winners” will be those platforms that are flexible enough to accommodate the breakneck pace of technological advancement. That was the contention of Stu Cox, NFC product manager for secure payment product supplier Giesecke & Devrient, during a presentation Wednesday at the CARTES Secure Connexions America conference in Las Vegas.
Today’s smartphone-based mobile wallets come in many forms, ranging from retailer-specific payment and loyalty platforms like the pioneering Starbucks wallet app, to MNO joint venture Isis, to third-party wallets like Google Wallet, which incorporate payments and other value-added services. “If you want to have a successful wallet, you need to be able to adapt to what’s changing,” Cox said, using the example of HCE to illustrate the point. “For years we’ve been saying that [secure element-based] NFC was the next big thing. But within months of HCE being announced in a solution coming to market, that is now the No. 1 thing. So if you had a wallet that had been developed solely for secure element usage, now you have to go back and redesign.”
Beyond the payments aspect, other important developments on the horizon for wallets include mobile identity elements and low-energy Bluetooth technologies. Successful wallets will be able to incorporate those and other advances to best serve the mounting list of functions users demand from their wallets, noted Cox. “You have to build yourself a platform that allows for adding any number of things, because technology changes—and you have to be ready for it.”
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