Can’t get more mobile than this!

Image representing Corduro as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Texas based Corduro, a Google backed company, has launched a new product that allows payments sans device, card or cash! At first blush it looks like a SQUARE competitor but it seems to be targeting healthcare and larger corporations looking for scalable payment solutions. The Corduro model integrates Social Media, Online and Mobile payments, as well as POS for their all-encompassing payment solution allowing their customers to “pay by any device”.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

PayMobile users can instantly pay individuals, merchants, and organizations just by being present and Enterprises can accept those payments without disruption to existing loyalty, payment, back-office or business systems and processes. A Corduro user can securely pay a Corduro retailer without physically carrying a phone, credit card, check, or cash. “We are going to demonstrate our omni-channel platform for accepting payment via any internet-connected or mobile device,” said Corduro CEO Robert Ziegler.

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New mobile payment technology hits the market

Alipay Sound Payment - Beijing SubwayAlthough this is technically not a new technology, it is one of the fist major uses of it as a phone – to – vendor payment system. Alipay implements ultrasonic wave communication to allow commutes in Beijing, China to buy tickets using their cellphone. First launched in 2011, startup Naratte’s Zoosh tech enables mobile payments over ultrasonic sound waves. The key differentiator in this technology is that most of today’s cellphones have the required capability, that is the ability to play MP3. With a minor addition on the collector or checkout side, this is one of the cheaper technologies to implement with a much wider population of capable phones.  This technology works as both payor and payee, so you can effectively use it like a “digital wallet” for phone – to – phone payments.  I would be interested to know more about how they secure this system, because even though they have a unique sound for each transaction, and a 5 minute validity, I am not sure that this necessarily protects them from “man in the middle” or “record and playback” attacks.  Along with the other technologies under exploration in the ‘late to catchup’ North American arena, such as NFC, QR Codes, Cloud Based Solutions, SMS, and various combinations of these, this ‘sounds’ like an interesting technology for the mobile payment space.

Canadian Banks bank on NFC

Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto, Canada
Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Francisco Diez)

With RBC launching its Mobile Payment app, there are now 2 horses in the race for Mobile Payment domination. RBC has partnered with Interac to launch Interac flash, which means that this offering is not Telco bound. Theoretically this offering should work for any phone that has an NFC chip, regardless of Telco, allowing consumers to conduct a debit payment from their mobile phone.

Additionally, this offering is not tied to RBC alone; it will be available to other Banks and FIs who want to sign up for this enhanced Interac service. In contrast, the CIBC offering (earlier this year) also using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, is Telco bound to Rogers, and allows consumers to back their payment with a major credit card either VISA or MasterCard. CIBC and Rogers launched BB10 and Android versions of their app last week.

Interac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With both major bank offerings using the NFC technology for Payments, and a few of the other payment apps using QR code technology, such as Starbucks, and Western Union, it would seem to solidify the notion that the “wait to standardize” on a mobile payment technology is finally over, and the verdict is that a more “flexible” approach is required.
Mobile payment proliferation in Africa, Europe and Asia ahead of North America has chiefly been due to our waiting for a technology standard. Meanwhile the rest of the world has passed us by with a myriad of solutions, so hopefully we can learn from them for a change, and settle on the ones that work. The technology behind the mobile payments platform needs to be flexible enough to allow business owners to pick one that fits their specific needs, but not to the point when interoperability between the different technologies becomes a concern for consumers.

One of the key differences in the technology standard in North America and Europe, as compared to the third world, is that the populace in North America and Europe predominantly have bank accounts where as in the third world the users predominantly don’t. Therefore the technology standard in North America and Europe will more likely be driven via the banking system, which is why both bank offerings in Canada, the Royal Bank and Interac deal, and the CIBC and Rogers deal, are exciting.  We are already used to Interac brokering our other card based debit payments, and this deal is still open to other banks, FIs, Store Cards, etc who want to get in on the Mobile Payments bandwagon.  There is still room for potential disruptors such as Apple using their iTunes account, or Paypal with Paypal Here, to come in and take the glory.  The excitement is yet to begin!

Walmart Mobile

Walmart Mobile Chief Gibu ThomasWal-Mart enters the fray with a Mobile App – I am assuming that once NFC is more prevalent, it will serve to make the check out process even easier. The possibilities coming off this for Big Box and department store apps are endless, taking advantage of the capabilities of to do things like location-based advertizing, competitive comparisons, up-sell, wish-list, shopping list, etc. Canadian Tire, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, and Rona should all be paying attention – this is the sort of convenience that will draw more traffic to your stores. Wal-Mart’s Mobile Chief, Gibu Thomas, is quoted saying “Two weeks after Wal-Mart launched “in-store mode” with its app, roughly 60 percent of its shoppers opted to use it. Moreover, about 12 percent of Wal-Mart’s sales that come through its app are coming from customers who are inside a store and using “in-store mode.” Wired’s Marcus Wohlsen postulates that Wal-Mart is doing this to target Amazon. This is an interesting view-point, as this move seems to bridge both worlds with the convenience of shopping online, and competitive pricing, yet still retaining the tactile sense of being able to see, feel and try on the items before purchase, followed by the instant gratification of not having to pay shipping and wait for delivery.

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Walmart(s WMT) is taking the idea of self-checkout to another, more mobile level. The retailer is bringing the “Scan & Go” feature of its Walmart iOS app to 200 stores in the U.S., according to a Reuters report Wednesday. The feature has been in use in some stores already, but at only about 70 near Walmart’s Arkansas headquarters and in Atlanta.

Scan & Go is only available on the iPhone,(s AAPL) though Walmart says an Android(s GOOG) version is “coming soon.”

Shoppers that have the Walmart app can select “in-store mode” and then scan each item’s barcode as they pick up items throughout the store. Users who have also created shopping lists or budgets within the app will see items scanned “checked off” on their lists. Once finished, they need only go to a self-checkout terminal, scan a barcode on the screen — which reads the items they have in…

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Mobile Manufacturers making the “One-Size-Fits-All” decision

In the last 6 months, the top3 smartphone manufacturers have announced moves down the NFC path toward a mobile payments solution.

BB Z10 and BB Q10Blackberry already released a Mobile payment solution with CIBC and Rogers using NFC for SecureTap, and announced another using a Secure Element Manager solution for NFC which is VISA approved. Blackberry have tinstalled he NFC chips on both their new models, the Z10 released earlier this year, and the Q10 due tentatively in May. No word as yet as to when applications will be released for BB10, but rumor has it that all the big banks have one in their pipeline.Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung announced that the Galaxy S4 will come with a Visa PayWave – Visa payments applet for contactless payments. Samsungs Galaxy S4 will also have Mobeam technology too which will allow mCouponing, mLoyalty, mGiftcards, and mTicketing.

Apple iPhone 5SApple’s new iPhone 5s will have NFC and biometric security solutions developed by Authentec and Chipbond. Rumors have it that the IPhone 5S is slotted for release in July / August 2013. Logically it makes sense  that Apple will integrate the NFC and fingerprint security into the Passbook app, which only has discount coupons, tickets and some low assurance store cards.


SOA and BPM are not necessarily mutually exclusive in a corporate environment, each has its place.  SOA needs stateless short-lived transactions. BPM is great for automating stateful workflow, orchestration, aggregation or data enrichment.  That is not to say you can’t use one for the other or v.v, however you will not be as happy with the results.  You can also use them in a combination, such as exposing a BPM application as a service where front end data is input to the BPM app for workflow processing / aggregation / data enrichment.



Mobile WalletThe biggest question today with Mobile Payments solutions out there is which is going to win out – the “One Size fits all” dilemma.  While we are busy deciding what standard to adopt and making sure we “do it right” in North America, the rest of the world is passing us by and adopting a more flexible all-encompassing approach.  Right now the questions are whether we should rely on Near Field Communication (NFC) or QRCode or even a Cloud based Solution, and everyone is playing the “beta vs vhs”, or for the younger reader, bluray vs hd-dvd game, not wanting to be the ones left holding the proverbial bag. This is why places like Kenya, and other`third world` countries are passing us by, they have a myriad of applications for all the above solutions, and each are doing well in their own rights.  In the following article, James Wester talks about “The end of one-size-fits-all“, predicting that this will result in the progressive demise of CNP (Card Not Present) Fraud.  While this is could be true, one has to think where, and what other until now unforseen vulnerabilities will be introduced by this new technology.

OZ Grocery Store rolls out NFC

The prolific success of NFC and mobile payments has been the Micro payments segment where it is ok to accept a lower level of assurance because the perceived risk is small – a micro payment. The same approach must be used to get NFC adoption in N.A too, people will trust it for the micro payments, trust will build and the proliferation into the North American market will begin.