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Mobile Payments Already Huge in Some Markets

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

In fact, mobile payment systems are already enormously popular in some parts of the world, but you might be surprised at where. Leading the mobile payment revolution: Kenya.

I wrote last year about the M-Pesa mobile banking and payment system, launched by network operator Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom in Tanzania. According to Lindsey Gilpin of TechRepublic, M-Pesa now serves 17 million Kenyans, and 25 percent of the country’s gross national product flows through the system. Worldwide, Gartner estimated mobile payments to surpass $235 billion in transaction value and 245 million users last year, led by emerging markets in Africa and India.

So mobile payments are maturing fast, just not in the North America. According to a 2013 report from the U.S. Federal Reserve, just 12 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed had made a mobile payment during the previous year. Sara Angles wrote about this surprising technology lag in BusinessNewsDaily last October. Citing a global study by SAP, she noted that “the United States reported the lowest consumer demand for mobile commerce, with just 53 percent of those surveyed expressing a desire to make a purchase via mobile.”

Just 15 percent of North American consumers said they were ready to buy more with mobile devices, compared to more than 80 percent in Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa.

So what’s the story? Why is the United States lagging so far behind? Read More »

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Connect This With That: What Is Next?

I wonder – what will connect tomorrow? What is going to connect next?

Thinking about the countless ways that different people, process, data and things will connect over upcoming years on the Internet of Everything can be almost overwhelming. As I mentioned in my last blog post, not a moment goes by in the day when I am not thinking of how different objects can work together to improve our world. Some of those connections are realistic; others are more visionary, difficult to grasp outside the context of IoE.

Cisco is already telling the story of these connections. You can explore the potentialities of the future for yourself through Connect This With That, an interactive experience that demonstrates the “how” behind the connections of today and tomorrow. On IoE, it’s possible for any two seemingly unconnected items to work together, creating a new reality for our world’s inhabitants. Imagine, as you pull in for a football game, the stadium automatically sends information to your car about where the best parking is located. As you enter the game, your wallet then talks to the admissions booth, so no tickets are required. What else is possible? For example, what are the technologies and products, current and future, that make it possible for an air quality index to talk to a school desk? Can a health organization connect with your bike, measuring average exercise patterns?

CTWT Screenshot

Read More »

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The Future of Payments and Commerce: Digital Payment Strategies in the Age of Omnichannel Banking

Banks, for the most part, have realized the importance of mobile as a channel. Across the globe, empowered executives are being appointed to head up digital channel programs. Their primary mission: define and implement the mobile banking channel and seamlessly integrate it with the other major digital channels—online banking.

For the most part, they have focused their strategies on ”forklifting” online banking features to mobile without worrying much about mobile payments. However, the new reality of channel migration is a bit more complicated: the merger of virtual and digital channels in this new age of ”omnichannel banking” is bringing digital channels into bank branches, customer homes, and places of business, and transforming the world of payments and commerce.

So, how is the omnichannel reality affecting the world of payments, and why should banks care (aside from the fact that payments-related revenues can account for up to 25 percent of total retail banking revenues)?

Most of us are familiar with mobile apps that allow us, when in a retail store, to scan a product bar code, access online reviews, and potentially buy the product from Amazon.com (or a nearby retailer) at a discounted price. This capability is the new reality (and challenge) of omnichannel in the retail world. Such changes, however, will not end here: imagine receiving offers, digital coupons, credit card loyalty points, and more on your cell phone so that you can seamlessly apply them to your purchases when paying with your mobile device upon checkout (at the physical store or online).

The promise of connecting mobile payments and commerce through new capabilities embedded in the mobile wallet is real, and several mobile-wallet providers have emerged, including a number of non-financial-services players (telcos, tech companies, retailers, and others). Read More »

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Importance of Mobility to Consumers and Recommendation for Retailers

Recently I took a weekend trip to Sea Ranch, California, a coastal town 2.5 hours drive north of San Francisco.  What was interesting (besides the great view and interesting architecture) was for three days there I had no cellular coverage on my mobile phone, but I was able to get access to the internet using Wi Fi in various locations.  Being the classic connected and mobile consumer, my trip would have been much less enjoyable without some form of wireless connectivity :-)

Cisco IBSG Retail Director Edward Westenberg recently published a paper on the impact of consumer mobility and what retailers should do to respond to the trend.

Peggy Casey, Cisco retail industry manager sat down with Edward to discuss his latest research and four areas of mobility that retailers should address:

Read More »

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Does the challenge of PCI compliance compare with summiting Mt. Everest?

Having attended the annual North American PCI Community Meeting for many years and being involved with PCI compliance since 2008, I’ve heard firsthand the challenges merchants face in their quest for PCI compliance (see Blog: Compliance Headaches Continue).  However, thinking back to the PCI Community Meeting last week in Orlando, I was intrigued by how this year’s keynote speaker fit into the program.  How could an extreme adventurer, such as Jamie Clarke, rather than a hacker or data breach expert provide the necessary perspective on compliance?  As I attended sessions and networked with over a thousand of my peers from 17 countries, it dawned on me:  The collective PCI state of mind is reflective of the maturity of the journey and a fresh optimism emerges as we near the top of the mountain after a very long and arduous journey.

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s meeting.

  • PCI SSC General Manager Bob Russo presented the annual PCI State of the Industry. The PCI standards continue to mature and merchants are increasing the focus to protect cardholder data.  The overall tone was more about ‘tweak’ than change.
  • The opportunity for training from the PCI Council continues to increase with several new programs including a Qualified Integrators and Resellers (QIR) program and a Payment Card Industry Professional (PCIP) certification.
  • The Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are going strong, which again speaks to the maturity of the standard.  We are seeing ongoing clarity, rather than new initiatives.  The SIGs leverage valuable business and technical experiences from PCI Participating Organizations (POs).  Over 460 POs were in attendance.  Our key candidates for the 2013 SIGs are Cardholder Data Discovery and Guidance on Logging.  However, there are 7 candidates up for voting.
  • Spider Labs presented an overview of mobile device security and reviewed several mobile attack scenarios. The PCI Council has released new guidance on secure mobile payment acceptance.
  • Updates to the Council’s Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) program are available.
  • Feedback on the PCI standards was discussed in preparation for the next releases in 2013.

Read More »

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